Auction News: Amazing Anniversaries

Auction News: Amazing Anniversaries

Joe Wilson, head curator and spirits specialist at Whisky Auctioneer highlights some very special whiskies bottled to commemorate significant milestones.

Auction News | 24 Feb 2023 | By Joe Wilson

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Anniversaries are special things as they punctuate long-term commitments with moments for reflective celebration. At their best, they champion personal relationships between people, but they can also demonstrate sustained support for groups, such as businesses or sports teams. For example, Scotland’s national football team turns 150 this year and, crucially, in terms of that one, an anniversary can provide cause for celebration where they may be otherwise less forthcoming. The most enjoyable aspect of such festivities, however, is that they often have long-standing associations with the sharing of whisky.

Just like an anniversary, time and dedication are essential components of whisky. Our February 2023 auction showcases several interesting examples of how the spirit has been seen as a token of this over the years, often by way of exemplifying the gravity and significance of those qualities. Few better demonstrate this than a bottling known as Japonisme, released in 2016 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the French retailer La Maison du Whisky. The whisky is a vatting of two casks from the legendary, lost Japanese distillery Karuizawa, both filled in 1965, and an unblended miniature of each cask is included as part of the presentation. Upon release, this was joined by two other single-cask offerings but, with just 60 bottles released, this is by far the rarest and most sought-after.

In its time, the sister distillery to Karuizawa was a grain producer called Kawasaki, and whisky from each was combined in the old Ocean Whisky blends. Having closed in 1987, bottlings of Kawasaki single grain are among the rarest Japanese whiskies, however, we are delighted to offer a single-cask release in our auction this month. Bottled in 2011, it commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China and was specially produced for Taiwan, a country that has become particularly significant both as a marketplace for and producer of whisky in recent years.

The 20-year-old Macallan released to mark the 150th anniversary of retailer John Menzies.

Anniversaries are also synonymous with Macallan, which launched the Anniversary Malt as its first premium age statement bottling in 1983, by introducing a one-time 50-year-old and annual 25-year-old release. In the same year, the distillery also produced a special 20-year-old bottling to mark the 150th anniversary of John Menzies, a former newsagent and general retailer perhaps better known to younger readers for being robbed by actor Ewan MacGregor’s character, Mark Renton, in the film Trainspotting (1996). Four decades on, examples of this bottle are seldom seen, and it is unclear how many even still exist. As such, we are delighted to have one included in this month’s sale.

Of course, anniversary bottlings can also celebrate whisky itself and many are an evocative reminder of just how much history the spirit has, particularly in Scotland. Also featured in our auction are bottlings that celebrated 125 years of Glenfiddich, 175 years of Glenfarclas and Springbank, and 200 years of Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Tobermory. Each of these whiskies represents an incredible achievement for those distilleries and, we hope, will become historic and important plot points on their journeys towards anniversaries that will dwarf these in the many years to come.

Whisky Auctioneer's February auction ends Monday 6 March from 7pm GMT.

About Whisky Auctioneer

Whisky Auctioneer is one of the global market leaders and trusted authorities on the buying and selling of whisky and spirits at auction. Founded in 2013 and located in Perth, Whisky Auctioneer utilises its expertise and knowledge combined with its auction platform, to increase interest and passion in the whisky and spirits community.

Whisky Auctioneer endeavours to make the market more accessible for buyers and sellers of any background and geography. Its monthly global auctions feature some of the most comprehensive selections of old, rare and collectible whiskies and spirits available online.

Whisky Auctioneer became the first online auction house to sell a million-pound bottle and outperformed the nearest traditional auction house by 200 per cent in value from spirits sales in 2020, showcasing the move that whisky collectors, investors and drinkers have already made online and firmly establishing their leading position within the modern secondary whisky market.

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