December Auction Highlights 2022
Welcome to our December Auction Highlights! This month’s sale has a true treasure trove of sumptuous whiskies from days gone by, including Talisker, Highland Park, Macallan and the oldest official Clynelish we’ve ever seen.
These gems will be coming under the hammer alongside some of 2022’s most sought-after new release drams, and as it’s the festive season this is a special extended auction, so you’ve got two weeks until Wednesday 4th January in which to mull your choices, make your bids and hopefully pick up something truly special to help kick the January blues.
There’s some superb Macallan this month, with classics including the Macallan 1962 80 Proof officially bottled by Gordon & MacPhail, the beautiful Macallan 1968 25-year-old Anniversary Malt, and its indie counterpart Jim McEwan’s Celtic Heartlands Macallan 1968 34-year-old from 2002.
We've also got Macallan 1978 18-year-old, Macallan Gran Reserva 1981, some rare 1980 and 1990 vintage Macallan ESC casks bottled in 2001 and 2003, and some excellent Macallan 10-year-olds and 12-year-olds from the 1980s and 1990s.
More recent collectable Macallans include the Folio 6 Archival edition, Macallan Rare Cask, Macallan Concept 1 and 2 and Macallan 60th Anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, while notable indie Macallans include a very nice Macallan 1993 18-year-old from Douglas Laing's Old & Rare Platinum series.
Best of all, though, is the amazing Macallan Pure Malt 80 Proof bottled by Campbell, Hope & King - we think this was bottled in the early 1960s but it might be a little earlier. It’s worth noting that this bottle is very similar to one of the rarest Campbell, Hope & King bottlings, a 1945 vintage edition we last saw back in 2016
Some blistering stuff from the magic isle this month. Bowmore fans are particularly well catered-for in this auction, with highlights including stone cold classics such as the Bowmore Bicentenary and the legendary, ultra-rare Bowmore 1955 ceramic half-bottle released for the opening of the distillery’s visitor centre on September 12th 1974. This bottle is almost impossible to find nowadays, as the majority of the stock was given away to staff and VIP visitors on the day. Many of the bottles were opened and consumed straight away, making it one of the rarest ever bottlings from Bowmore.
Other old school classic Bowmores in this month’s sale include a marvellous Bowmore 21-year-old from around the turn of the century, the famous Bowmore 25-year-old ‘Seagulls’ ceramic bottle and Jim McEwan’s Celtic Heartlands Bowmore 1968, released as a 35-year-old in 2003.
Elsewhere, Laphroaig fans will be chasing some great bottles from yesteryear, with highlights including a 1985 edition of Laphroaig 15-year-old (aka Big Red 15), a turn of the ‘90s 1.14L bottle of Laphroaig 10-year-old (bottled at 43% for extra goodness), the classic vintage Laphroaig 1977 bottled in 1995 and an early 2000s edition Laphroaig 10-year-old Cask Strength Red Stripe at 57.3%.
There’s some great recent Ardbeg this month too, including the Ardbeg 19-year-old Traigh Bhan Batch 3 from 2021, a bottle of Serendipity - the ever-popular inadvertent blend of Ardbeg and Glen Moray - and 2017’s Ardbeg 23-year-old TwentySomething, while Caol Ila fans have some splendid stuff to choose from including Signatory Vintage’s Millennium 1.5L magnum of Caol Ila 1989, a rare wooden box edition of the short-lived Caol Ila 15-year-old Flora & Fauna and, best of all, an early brown label Connoisseurs Choice Caol Ila 1969 16-year-old, distilled at the original Caol Ila distillery before it was knocked down and rebuilt in the 1970s.
Miscellaneous Islay drams worth looking out for this month include the Celtic Heartlands Bunnahabhain 1966, Port Ellen 1978 2nd Release and a rare sherried Port Ellen 1982 by Bladnoch Forum, plus several very promising 1990s Lagavulin 16-year-old White Horse bottles and some fantastic old editions from Bruichladdich including Black Art 2, Octomore and X4 Futures and a host of Port Charlotte small batches.
Some fabulous sherried drams for the Jerez aficionados this month! We’ve got some amazing golden age Gordon & MacPhail sherried drams including a gorgeous 1970s Smith’s Glenlivet 15-year-old, a mouthwatering dark chestnut-coloured 1980s Balblair 10-year-old at 57%, a pair of the legendary black label vintage Taliskers from 1956 and 1974, and the tantalising mystery malt MacPhail’s 1964 21-year-old.
Top class sherried official bottlings this month include the 2017 release of Glengoyne 25-year-old, the magnificent old Cragganmore 17-year-old Managers’ Dram released in 1992, a 1990s litre bottle of fabulously dark Glendronach 15-year-old and some lovely old 1980s and 1990s Glenfarclas bottlings, including a 1980s 15-year-old bottled at 46% and several different versions of Glenfarclas 105.
There’s some terrific old Diageo/United Distillers/DCL bottles this month. Rare Malts bottlings include the iconic Brora 1972 22-year-old, St. Magdalene 1979 19-year-old and Rosebank 1979 20-year-old, and we’ve also got 2017’s standout Special Release Convalmore 1984 32-year-old and a lovely 1980s bottle of Rosebank 8-year-old.
There’s some wonderful old Johnnie Walker bottles too, with a 1930s Red Label in great nick for its age, plus 1960s Black Label, 1980s Swing, a very early 1990s Johnnie Walker Blue Label and some smart recent Blue Label special editions such as the Ghost & Rare Port Ellen and Glenury Royal bottlings and the 200th Anniversary Legendary Eight.
The real DCL stars in this auction, though, are the (very) old official bottlings of Clynelish and Talisker. The Talisker Pure Malt is from the 1960s (or possibly late 1950s), with the classic Dailuaine-Talisker label, while the Clynelish is from the 1920s (!) and is so rare we didn’t even know it existed before we found it in Scotland a week or so ago.
This Clynelish was bottled by the short-lived Clynelish Distillery Company which was the holding company for the distillery from 1912-1930, and it’s so special we did a whole separate blog about it, which you can read here for more info about this fascinating old Clynelish. We absolutely love finding old treasures like these, and no doubt there will be fierce bidding for both of these historic bottles.
Favourites & Curios
There’s some really wonderful old bottles of St. Magdalene / Linlithgow in this month’s whisky auction, with highlights including Gordon & MacPhail’s Rare Old St. Magdalene 1975-2008, Signatory Vintage’s Linlithgow 1975-2001 (what an amazing side-by-side tasting those two would make!) plus Scott’s Selection Linlithgow 1982-2000 and Douglas Laing’s Linlithgow 1974-2000.
It’s also a great month for Highland Park fans with the old ‘90s/’00s tall bottle Highland Park 18-year-old and dumpy cask strength 25-year-old accompanied by a more recent HP 30-year-old in its extravagantly chunky wooden box and the brilliant Jim McEwan’s Celtic Heartlands Highland Park 1967 35-year-old from 2003.
There’s some notable Highland Parks in this month’s small but splendid selection of miniatures as well, with other honourable mentions in this category going to Brora, Springbank, and Signatory Vintage’s sought-after Scottish Wildlife set, which of course includes one of the youngest Port Ellens ever bottled. Blended Whisky fans, meanwhile, have a generous selection of classics to choose from including 1960s bottles of Dimple, White Horse, 1950s Haig and a fantastic old 1980s Isle of Skye 18-year-old.
Elsewhere, there’s a lot of superb Irish whiskey in this month’s auction, with 2018’s first batch of Jameson 18-year-old Cask Strength joined by 2007s Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve, plus some lovely old ‘90s and ‘00s Jamesons and a string of recent vintages of Midleton Very Rare.
English whisky fans will be delighted to see all five of The Lakes’ Whiskymaker’s Reserve series in this month’s sale - including, of course, Whiskymaker’s Reserve No. 4 which scooped Best Single Malt Whisky at this year’s World Whisky Awards - while Bourbon aficionados will be chasing a pair of old bottlings of Van Winkle 10-year-old. Non-whisky fans, meanwhile, will be scrapping over a couple of bottles of Hine 1928 Grande Champagne Cognac and a gorgeous 1940s Chartreuse Liqueur.
Miscellaneous favourites and curios this month include one of Signatory’s excellent bottlings of 1975 Rare Ayrshire (Ladyburn), a lovely rare old 1980s Balvenie Classic 18-year-old in its long-necked Mateus-esque wine bottle and a handful of the outstanding Glenfiddich Private Vintage bottlings including the brilliant 1974 Queen’s Coronation bottling and the 1976 vintage editions bottled in 2002 for Concorde and the Queen Mary 2.
That's it for this month, so we'll close by sending you our best wishes for the holiday season - Good Luck and Happy Bidding!
Auction ends 4th January 2023. To view the full auction, please click here.