Hi folks, and welcome to July’s Whisky Auction Update! In this series I go snuffling through one of the UK’s top whisky auction houses and highlight the best buys under £100. This time we’ve found some great Arran, Caol Ila, Longmorn and even an intriguing Glenmorangie…
This month we’re looking at Whisky.Auction, and as ever the prices quoted are hammer prices exclusive of commission (Whisky.Auction charge buyers 15% +VAT, so total 18%).
Full disclosure: Whisky.Auction is owned by Sukhinder Singh, who also owns The Whisky Exchange, where I worked between 2003-13, and Scotchwhisky.com, for whom I have done very occasional freelance work. None of the aforementioned will affect the substance or content of this article.
Under £50, there were a number of classic old blends: 1970s House of Lords 8yo looked cheap at £22, as did a 43% 1970s Highland Queen (£24) and a Johnnie Walker Red Label (£26) from the same era, while this 1970s Queen Anne looked a steal at just £28 – this blend is believed to contain Glen Grant, Glenlivet and/or Longmorn.
A little pricier, but still good value, were two contrasting blends: 1960s Ambassador Deluxe (probably containing 1960s Scapa) went for £35, while the darker, Aberlour-heavy, 1970s White Heather 5yo (43.4%) reached £45.
We had to search a little harder for malts, but I liked the look of Longrow Peated NAS at just £28, stablemate Kilkerran WIP 5 Sherry Wood (£40) and a litre of 1990s Glenfarclas 12yo (£40). Cask strength fans could choose from the sherried Arran 2000 15yo Morlow, the smokey Ardmore 2008 10yo from Dornoch’s Thompson Bros., or that rarest of things, an indie Glenmorangie: the teaspooned Westport 1997/2014 (£50) by Berry Bros for La Maison du Whisky.
Teaspooned malts have a tiny amount of another malt added to the cask/vatting, so they’re technically blended malts. However, as the name suggests the amount of other malt is usually very minimal – certainly less than would derive from, say, cask finishing, a practice Glenmorangie are particularly fond of. Best not to think too hard about ex-bourbon maturation either, eh?
Moving on to the sub-£75 bracket, there was a nice old OB 1980s Glengoyne 10yo at just £60, or a rather different animal for the same price: Springbank’s unpeated Hazelburn 2004 14yo Oloroso Cask Matured at 49.3%. An auction favourite, the long-discontinued Longmorn 15yo went for a very reasonable £70, and there was also the terrific Signatory Glen Keith 1992 22yo – a bargain at £75.
Islay fans were very well-catered-for in this price range too, with last year’s Laphroaig 10yo Cask Strength and a pair of contrasting cask strength indie Caol Ila 2006s: G&M’s first-fill sherry cask Caol Ila 2006 11yo Cask Strength and Signatory’s bourbon-matured Caol Ila 2006 12yo. These excellent whiskies all went for £65 apiece.
Finally, in the £75-100 bracket blend fans had the splendid 1960s White Horse Logan’s De Luxe (£100) and the glorious 1960s Bell’s 20yo Royal Reserve (£90) but there were some intriguing malts that we don’t often see sub-£100. I liked the look of this private cask 21yo Arran: Lochranza 1996/2018 (£80), 1980s OB Old Pulteney 8yo (£85), single cask OB Glenrothes 1995/2014 (£85) and for Islay fans, Mackillop’s Caol Ila 1990 15yo (£95) – it’s clear now that the early 1990s were a golden era for Caol Ila and prices are starting to climb, but this is sure to be a great drop.
That’s it for this month, folks – Good Luck and Happy Hunting!