Auction News: Plus ça change

Auction News: Plus ça change

Whisky Auctioneer's expert offers his thoughts on October

Auction News | 29 Oct 2021 | By Joe Wilson

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As host to a number of whisky shows and festivals, October is a month that always feels like a true celebration of the past, present and future of our spirit. We have felt this particularly keenly at Whisky Auctioneer, where we began the month with another exclusive sale from Pat’s Whisk(e)y, the largest private collection ever to come to auction, this time focussing on legendary bottlers Gordon & MacPhail. For all this sale’s depth and variety, one of its most eye-catching components was the unassuming, and, to many, abject aesthetic of its bounty of early Connoisseurs Choice releases. For the connoisseur of single malt rather than design, however, these special whiskies have become iconic, and they formed the centrepiece of our sale.

A similar theme is present at the heart of our general October auction, starting today and ending on 8 November, which features a selection of whiskies from another historically significant range. Launched two years prior to Connoisseurs Choice, the Wm Cadenhead Ltd ‘Dumpy’ bottlings are perhaps even more iconic. Their austere labels and reliquary orb-like shape imbue them with a sense of the sacrosanct, which has only become more fitting with time as reverence for these bottlings has continued to grow among collectors and drinkers alike.

Introduced in 1977, this range was Cadenhead’s first serious foray into the emerging single malt market, and the bottles are steeped in history. Among our Cadenhead offerings this month are an exceptionally rare independent bottling of Glenfiddich, lesser-seen names like Ladyburn and ‘Cardow’ (Cardhu), and a selection of 1960s vintages from long-lost distilleries like Glenlochy, Glen Albyn and Convalmore.

Such names hark back to a wholly different period in single malt history, but one that is not entirely unrecognisable in the landscape of today. Brands like Connoisseurs Choice and Cadenhead’s ‘Dumpies’ emerged from a blossoming excitement around the single malt category in the late 1970s, just as a second wave of enthusiasm ushered in by the 21st century sparked a wave of new products from nascent distilleries across the world. The increasing availability of the fruits of this second wave will not have been missed by anyone fortunate enough to have experienced the return of whisky festivals in 2021. Whisky Auctioneer has always been delighted to support these new producers, and we have exclusively launched inaugural releases for Nc’nean, Bivrost and Teeling, among others, over the years.
The Macallan Red Collection

The greatest strength of our auctions, however, is the ability to promote whisky from all eras of production, whether from distilleries no longer with us or those still going strong today. Examples of the latter are represented spectacularly in our October sale, with lots on offer including the complete set of jaw-dropping age statements from The Macallan Red Collection, between 40 and 78 years old, as well as the oldest Japanese single malt ever bottled, the Yamazaki 55 Years old. While new distilleries and those lost to history always inspire curiosity, incredible bottles like these serve as a reminder to us, particularly at this time of year, that some of the greatest stories in whisky are still written by those that have long been with us.
Yamazaki 55 Years Old

This article is sponsored by Whisky Auctioneer and is created in partnership with the team at Whisky Magazine. This sponsorship does not influence Whisky Magazine's coverage of auctions and Whisky Auctioneer do not have input on editorial decisions.

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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