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Issue 127 - Battle of the Brands

Whisky Magazine Issue 127
April 2015


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Battle of the Brands

Second round to Karuizawa

Karuizawa has taken a convincing and significant step towards WMI victory over The Macallan in the epic battle of the brands. Eligible Karuizawa sales at live auction in February reached £200,000 whereas The Macallan achieved only £125,000. Taking 2015 as a whole, Karuizawa have outperformed The Macallan with more eligible bottles selling for a higher total sum. Of course, 12 month period so although the gap has narrowed, Karuizawa will need to keep this level up, month after month, if it is ever to achieve that number one ranking. The Macallan doesn't suffer from scarcity like Karuizawa, and despite this head start, I would predict that The Macallan will be the top brand sold in March.

In the WMI top ten, Port Ellen bucked the trend as other Scotch brands tumbled down the rankings. This trading activity predominantly took place at Bonhams, Hong Kong, where numerous examples by independent bottlers appeared including Douglas Laing and Silver Seal. I spied an Editor's Choice bottling of Port Ellen 1982 bottled for Whisky Magazine in 2006 at Bonhams which sold for HK$7,000. Port Ellen remains the third most traded Islay malt, now just two ranking positions behind Bowmore.

Auction Watch

The biggest live auction sales of February were all at Bonhams, Hong Kong. The Macallan 55 Years Old in Lalique and The Macallan 62 Years Old both made HK$260,000, while a Karuizawa 1963 50 Years Old took HK$200,000. Ichiro's Malt Card Series sales elevated Hanyu to a new record ranking ...

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