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WMI - Whisky Magazine Index

WMI 1,141.7 +2.2%

WMI Online – February 2015
American auctions

Time to look ahead at the raft of auctions coming up Stateside. On February 13th/14th, Hart David Hart hold their first auction of the year at TRU Restaurant, Chicago, which promises to deliver the “Finest & Rarest Wines”. The first tranche of whiskies are anticipated from lot 129-143, consisting of collectible bourbon and rye in the main. From Black Maple Hill, they are offering a 23 Years Old and 18 Years Old rye whiskey, and a 14 and 16 Years Old straight bourbon whiskey. With shortages of aged rye continuing, these wax-sealed bottles are likely to perform as well. Next, we move on to the five bottles of Hirsch, though whether this will be sufficient to see this American classic re-claim its stake in the WMI top 25 remains to be seen.

Then, oh Boy, we get to the Pappy’s! They have a bottle of pre-2002 Pappy Van Winkle 23 Years Old, estimate $1,500-2,200, with bottles of the 20 Years Old estimated to go for $1,200-$1,700. One more recent bottling of Pappy Van Winkle 23 Years Old comes in on lot 650. Van Winkle has ranked as high as 6th in the WMI but slipped back a place last month due to strong trading for Springbank. McTear’s has a particularly strong selection of Springbank this month (February 18th), so we’ll need to wait until the dust settles to see how it all shakes out in the rankings. On day two, there are some attractive original wooden cases of Ballantine’s 25 Years Old purchased in the 1940s and the estimates look to be very competitive for what you could enjoy for the money. Look out for more Pappy’s in lot 1813-1814, before it returns in strength from lots 1831-1847 including many of the most recent releases. Unusually for an American auction, a bottle of Karuizawa appears. This is the 1999 distillation bottled for K&L Wines in California in 2013.

It will be curious to see if this Karuizawa bottle draws the attention to match the intensity of bidding currently occurring in European online auctions and Hong Kong live sales.

The action switches to New York City for the following weekend. Wally’s Auctions start their campaign on February 20th at Restaurant Daniel. Lots 931 – 939 contain the whiskey interest: they will add to the monthly WMI tally with bottles of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 20 and 23 Years Old. However, my pick of the bottles is a chance to bid on The Macallan M (estimate $4,200 - $6,000) in its Lalique decanter, part of The Macallan’s 1824 series. Although little time has elapsed since its release, each time one of these decanters has appeared, they have fetched a tidy sum and remain highly sought after. Remember, the liquid inside is the same as that contained inside the The Macallan M Constantine 6 litre decanter that earned the world record auction price last year.

The same weekend, Acker, Merrall & Condit hold their “Love is in the Air” auction in Marea, the Italian seafood restaurant on Central Park South. If you’ve reserved a table for that Saturday morning in Manhattan, then pay attention to lots 78 – 91 for some excellent Pappy’s, Willet’s, and selections from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. Look out for what may be the first U.S. auction appearance of the superb Redbreast 21 Years Old whiskey in lot 78. More Pappy’s turn up in lots 469 – 483, with lot 476 catching my eye. This eight bottle lot includes a pair of the Colonel EH Taylor Bourbon from barrels racked in the top tiers of warehouse C that survived the ravages of the tornado in 2006, a pair of Elijah Craig 20 Years Old single barrel, a pair of Jefferson’s Presidential Select 18 Years Old, and a couple of Eagle Rare 17 Years Old. What’s not to love?

Single malt Scotch whisky may barely feature this month, but America’s love affair (or should that be infatuation?) with Pappy Van Winkle continues to make this brand the top American whiskey in the index. The strength of that love may well propel the top American whiskey into a top 5 ranking before too long.

Whisky Online Auctions in Blackpool, England have been in touch to highlight that they sold the most expensive bottle of Irish Whiskey during 2014, pipping the bottle in Whisky Magazine sold by McTear’s Auctioneers by £100. Congratulations to the online auction house for their sale of the 19th century bottle of Jameson’s 1866 for £3,500 last April.

Top 25 Chart

Price Chg
1 Macallan +0.1%
2 Karuizawa +0.0%
3 Ardbeg +3.6%
4 Bowmore +10.2%
5 Glenmorangie +5.4%
6 Van Winkle +0.5%
7 Springbank +4.5%
8 Glenlivet -4.1%
9 Port Ellen +1.5%
10 Glenfiddich -14.0%
11 Highland Park +6.4%
12 Caol Ila +3.3%
13 Bruichladdich -3.4%
14 Laphroaig -7.1%
15 Lagavulin +8.4%
16 Dalmore -6.2%
17 Balvenie +0.7%
18 Glen Grant -0.7%
19 Glenfarclas +10.5%
20 Talisker +2.0%
21 Rosebank +10.4%
22 Brora +2.3%
23 Ah Hirsch -16.7%
24 Yamazaki +0.0%
25 Jura -3.3%

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