Welcome to our latest Whisky Auction Update!  Each month I poke around the lower levels of one of the UK’s leading online whisky auctions and root out the best bargain whiskies under £100.

It’s time for another look at the UK’s largest online whisky auction house, Scotchwhiskyauctions.com.  SWA’s most recent sale had a whopping 5217 lots on offer, and as always the prices I’m quoting exclude commission (SWA charge 10% + VAT, so 12% total).

Looking at sub-£50 bargains, there were a few decent-looking blends – I liked this old Dew of Ben Nevis 12yo (£35) bottled for Japan around the early 1990s, and a 1980s version of the Caol Ila-containing Old Rarity De Luxe (also £35 and you can check out my review of an earlier version of this fine blend here), while at £40 some eagle-eyed punter grabbed a very interesting and good value 25yo 1991 vintage blend bottled in 2016 at 46% to celebrate Glasgow’s Soma Records’ 25th anniversary – a dram to bring a nostalgic tear to the eye of an old raver like me who lost many a night to their parties in the early ’90s.

Malts-wise in this price bracket the safe options were the always-reliable Aberlour 18yo (£50 but also only 50cl – don’t forget to always check bottle sizes or you may end up forking out over the odds for a 35cl or even a 20cl bottle!) and perennial favourites Glen Ord 12yo (£40) and 1990s Laphroaig 10yo (£45), but more adventurous buyers got good value with the 1980s Dufftown-Glenlivet 8yo (£45), the Carn Mor Westport (aka Glenmorangie) 1995 19yo (£50) or, for sherry fans, the cask strength OB Arran 1997 (also £50).

Moving up to the sub-£75 bracket and there were bargains galore. The safe bets included Glenmorangie 18yo at just £60, a litre of Glenfarclas 18yo (also £60) and the superb Bushmills 1608 400th Anniversary (£70), but the real value was in cask strength drams: the pick of the OBs were the Springbank 2002 14yo (£70) and the Benriach 1995 18yo (£75), while indie fans were really spoiled for choice with Cadenhead’s Glen Grant 1997 20yo (just £60!) or Glenlivet 1996 20yo (£75), Whiskybroker’s Tomatin 1990 28yo (£70), the Bladnoch Forum’s Bunnahabhain 1989 22yo (£75), SMWS Longmorn 14yo bottled for the Society’s 35th Anniversary (£70) and Douglas Laing’s Ardmore 1996 22yo (£70). Phew!

Finally, in the sub-£100 range, Highland Park 18yo looked decent value at just £80 and there was a very interesting spring-capped Dewar’s Ancestor blend (£80) probably from the 1960s or early 1970s but once again it was the indies that caught my eye: modest, self-effacing Dutch bottlers The Ultimate Whisky Company’s Longmorn 1990 26yo (£80), Cadenhead’s Strathisla 1989 23yo which judging by the colour must have been from a rather active bourbon cask, and for the sherry fans Douglas Laing’s refill sherry butt Laphroaig 1992 16yo (£95), or SMWS’s mouthwatering first fill PX sherry cask Glenfarclas 1997 20yo (£95).  I also have a very soft spot for ‘secret’ Islay single malt Port Askaig 17yo (£80), having been part of the team that created it in 2009 – damn good juice, even if I do say so myself 🙂

That’s it for this month, folks – Good Luck and happy hunting!

Tim