Drams Under the Hammer: August 2022

Drams Under the Hammer: August 2022

What to watch in the auction world this month

Auction News | 05 Aug 2022 | By Bradley Weir

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From two of the rarest whisky miniatures ever sold at auction, to a rare Johnnie Walker ledger dating back to the second World War, here is everything that’s been happening in the wonderful world of whisky auctions this month.

What you missed...

Rare Whisky Miniature Sales

Malt Mill


The demand for rare miniature whisky bottles has never been higher, with two very rare collectables selling for thousands each at auction.

Breaking its own record at auction this month, a 1919 Springbank 50-year-old sold for a total of £7,360, up £910 from its previous record set in August 2021. The bottle came with a certificate of authenticity, serving as definitive proof of its legitimacy.

A Malt Mill 10 Year Old also became one of the most valuable miniatures of all time, selling for a total of £6,670. Only produced between 1908 and 1962 at the grounds of Lagavulin on Islay, the Whisky.Auction team spending many hours researching and authenticating the validity of this liquid.

The purchaser of this Malt Mill discussed the miniature and whether or not it will actually get tasted: “It is exciting! I'm not sure I’ll ever drink it though. The description from Serge [Valentin of WhiskyFun.com] et al is good enough for me. Rather I'll hang onto it for a few years and feel proud to own it.”

Whisky.Auction director Isabel Graham-Yooll commented on the sale: “The prices achieved on these two very rare miniatures is exciting but perhaps not unexpected given the rarity of these whiskies. Much of the liquid we see coming to auction in miniatures is simply unavailable in full bottles, having been consumed many years before. Miniatures often outlive their full-size counterparts in ‘souvenir’ style. And sometimes, the liquid is so scarce that only miniatures ever existed.”

The Three Continents Collection concludes

Whisky & Whiskey The Three Continents Collection Part V - The Final Chapter


The finale of the biggest whisky collection Sotheby’s has sold from a single owner concluded on 29 July, dubbed The Three Continents Collection Part V – The Final Chapter.

The first four parts of the whisky auction had already doubled its low estimate, achieving a running total of $4.4m before its final sale. Leading the sale was some of Beam Suntory’s most prestigious output, including a Yamazaki 55-year-old and three 50-year-old Bowmore’s, as well as strongholds from the whiskies from The MacAllan.

Unsurprisingly, the Yamazaki sold for $475,000, which was in the upper echelons of its estimation.

Some bottles smashed their pre-auction estimations, including one of the 50-year-old Bowmore’s, which was predicted to fall between $38,000 and $50,000, but ended up nearly doubling its top estimate with a sale price of $93,750. A 50-year-old Karuizawa 50-year-old did successfully double its top estimate of $30,000, selling for a very impressive $62,500.

Full results of the auction can be viewed by following the link here (ensure you have a Sotheby’s account).

Diageo Archive home rare piece of Johnnie Walker history

A piece of Johnnie Walker history has been donated to the Diageo Archive, thanks both to the work of Whisky.Auction and the willingness of donator Andrew Welford.

A historic ledger was brought to the team, which detailed the transfer of shares in the John Walker & Sons company during the second World War.

The historical importance of these documents was recognised swiftly by the Whisky.Auction team. Graham-Yooll explained: “This is one of those artefacts that holds so much value to a company archive, but little value to an individual, and so it felt right to reunite the ledger with the company owners. We often see old documents and labels from private individuals coming up at auctions and sometimes they simply need to find the right home rather than make money.”

Diageo Archive Manager Christine McCafferty also commented: “I was so pleased that this book has been reunited with our Archive collection for John Walker & Sons, which is our pride and joy. I cannot thank Andrew enough for his kind donation and Isabel for seeing the value of having items like this kept within the business which created them. It helps us to build a full picture of our story to date, and we certainly hope to find some interesting stories buried in the pages.”

Coming Up...

Highland Rugby Football Club Auction Underway

29-year-old Balblair


Highland Rugby Football Club is auctioning a 29-year-old Balblair whisky, donated by Gordon & MacPhail and housed in a bespoke bronze plinth created exclusively for the rugby club.

Only 469 bottles exist of this single malt, created from a single Sherry butt filled in 1990. As part of Gordon & MacPhail’s famous Connoisseur’s Choice collection, the value is estimated at £800 and is expected to provide quite the bidding competition (At the time of writing, the minimum bid is now £4,000).

Bids are currently ongoing, with the unique package to be sold on 13 August at Highland RFC’s Cenetary dinner in Inverness. The money raised will be generously donates to charities Mikeysline, Alzheimer Scotland and My Name’5 Doddie, as well as Highland RFC in order for the club to continue to deliver to communities.

Vice President of the football club, Roy Dinnes, commented on the exclusive package: “This is a unique item, bespoke to Highland RFC, and we are extremely grateful to Gordon & MacPhail and Black Isle Bronze for allowing us to auction something very special in our centenary year and hopefully raise money to support charities particularly close to our hearts at the club. The auction site is live, and I would encourage whisky fans, rugby fans and collectors to take a look.”

Stephen Rankin, Director of Prestige at Gordon & MacPhail, added: “We are delighted to be part of the centenary celebrations at Highland RFC. Roy and the team do a phenomenal job promoting the game and coaching and supporting schools throughout communities in the Highlands. I hope this special bottle of Balblair helps raise funds for worthwhile charities, allowing them to continue their excellent work.”

Bids are currently ongoing via this link, however tickets for the August dinner are no longer available.

The Timeless Whisky Collection

While many auction houses have already rounded off their summer sales, announcement for post-summer auction plans have already begun.

Sotheby’s have revealed that on 23 September, there will be a Timeless Whisky Collection auction in New York. This is a single owner sale of almost 600 bottles, with an estimated $2 million expected to be made. The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection is leading the sale, offered with personalised glassware and a bespoke display platform handcrafted from Highland Scottish Burr Elm.

This will be an auction to keep a keen eye on once the Summer is over, with more information on each and every bottle to be released in the coming weeks.

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.

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