Auction News: When art and whisky are blended

Auction News: When art and whisky are blended

Whisky Auctioneer's expert offers his thoughts for September

Auction News | 23 Sep 2021 | By Joe Wilson

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At Whisky Auctioneer we are keen students of the history of whisky and are conscious at every turn that despite the current renaissance the spirit is experiencing, the future has not always been so rosy. Many of the brightest gems in our auctions today were released against the tide in the downturn of the 1970s and 80s, and we recognise the importance of using the successful platform they have helped us build to give back to other causes in their hour of need.

Up close with the "Sleeping Beauty" cask end

September alone has seen us support the Scottish Ballet Endowment Fund through an exclusive auction of its “Sleeping Beauty” Cask of Distinction from Royal Lochnagar, and will culminate in us spotlighting lots donated to raise funds for the Beatson Cancer Charity in our regular monthly sale. We have been blown away by the generosity of the industry, who have come together to provide an array of rarities, exclusive bottlings and whisky experiences, including VIP tours of distilleries ordinarily inaccessible to the public. We encourage all planning to bid to do so in the same charitable spirit and help us to raise as much as possible for an issue very close to many of our hearts.

The Beatson Charity Auction runs from 24 September to 4 October

One of the biggest highlights of this month’s charity auction for the Scottish Ballet was its inclusion of the original cask end that was painted in 1994 by Scottish artist, Norman Edgar. An ever-present part of the whisky’s 26-year journey to bottling, it features the image of the company’s dancer, Nicci Theis, in the titular role of The Sleeping Beauty, Princess Aurora. “Artistry” and “craft” are words ubiquitous in discussion surrounding whisky, but artworks that transcend the liquid itself are rarer, and always incredibly special to work with. We are delighted therefore to have partnered with Glenfiddich to bring to auction its collaboration with Swiss contemporary artist, Simon Berger. He is one of nineteen artists involved in the distillery’s Grande Composition project.

Berger’s work blurs the lines between creation and destruction, producing unique sculptures in glass by carefully cracking it with a hammer. He has crafted just five one-of-a-kind display cases for the new cognac-finished Glenfiddich Grande Couronne single malt, each of which features a unique portrait. While bottles of whisky and a man plying his trade by shattering glass may seem like strange bedfellows, there are poignant parallels in the traditional methods of production that Scotch whisky relies so heavily upon, and the simple image of a sculptor working with only a hammer in his hand.

Very modern creations with intrinsically conventional roots, for me these are a fascinating representation and celebration of the buoyant Scotch whisky industry of today. An industry which begins its stories in the same way it always has, but through experimentation and innovation sees them end in front of an ever-increasing and diverse audience, across cultures and across the globe. All five of Berger’s works will be available exclusively from Whisky Auctioneer’s Germany office through our September 2021 Auction.

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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