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February Auction Highlights 2023

2023, Auction Highlights -

February Auction Highlights 2023

Welcome to our February 2023 Whisky-Online Auction! There’s great swathes of fantastic whisky to get through from the likes of Macallan, Brora, Port Ellen, Springbank and many more, so we’d better crack on.

Macallan Watch

As ever, there’s a full cornucopia of superb Macallan in this month’s sale. Recent release highlights include the likes of Macallan Folios 5 and 6, the 2022 edition of the classic Macallan 30-year-old Sherry Cask, plus Macallan Home Collection: The Distillery, the 2020 release of Macallan Easter Elchies Black, and several expressions from the recent Macallan Harmony series including Smooth Arabica, Fine Cacao and Intense Arabica.

Classic Macallans in this month’s sale include the 1980 and 1981 vintages of Macallan Gran Reserva, a mighty sherry-matured Macallan Cask Strength bottled for the US market at a chunky 58.4%, plus the small matter of the Macallan 1948/61 for Charles & Di, a pair of the original ESC (Exceptional Single Cask) Macallans from 1980 and 1990, the return of the legendary Macallan 1946 and a pair of 25-year-old Anniversary Malt Macallans distilled in 1958 and 1968 - but of course this is, as ever, just a brief taster - check out the full list of all this months Macallan here.

Macallan Whisky

Islay Magic

There’s so much good stuff from the magic isle this month. We’ll start with Ardbeg, whose fans will be chasing a nice early 2000s edition of Ardbeg 17-year-old, the seldom-seen Ardbeg 2000-2010 Single Cask 368 and the rare Ardbeg Diablo, a vatting of Pedro Ximenez sherry casks from Ardbeg’s 1998 vintage.

Bowmore fans are really spoiled for choice this month, with some old 1970s and ‘80s Bowmore Deluxe dumpy bottles jostling for attention alongside 1990s gems including the famous ‘Seagulls’ ceramic Bowmore 25-year-old, a screen-printed label Bowmore 17-year-old, and a pair of turn-of-the-century Bowmore 21-year-olds. 

There’s also some great 1990s vintage indie Bowmores bottled by the likes of The Whisky Castle and Dewar Rattray, but the undisputed Bowmore highlights this month are a fascinating pair of classics: a beautiful 1960s bottle of Sherriff’s Bowmore and the legendary Black Bowmore 1964 42-year-old bottled as part of the Bowmore Trilogy in 2007.

We’ve got some mighty Lagavulin this month too, with several bottles of the 2022 release of the Lagavulin 11-year-old Offerman Edition 3 alongside some rare and hard to find distillery-only bottlings from the Jazz Festival and Feis Ile and the majestic Lagavulin 1977 25-year-old from the 2002 Special Releases. There’s several excellent Syndicate Lagavulins too, including the ancient 1979 40-year-old and the very rare 1984 vintage 21-year-old and 1990 25-year-old.

Elsewhere, this month’s Laphroaig includes rare indie bottlings from Signatory Vintage, The Syndicate and The Whisky Castle, plus blue riband official bottlings including the 1977 vintage edition bottled in 1995 and, best of all, the iconic Laphroaig 40-year-old, which was distilled in 1960 and bottled back in 2001 - and remains the oldest ever official release from the distillery. Bunnahabhain fans, meanwhile, will be chasing the classic Bunnahabhain 1963 33-year-old bottled in the 1990s and the more recent, but equally splendid, Bunnahabhain 40-year-old.

Finally, there’s some top class Port Ellen in this month’s whisky sale, with several early Port Ellen Special Releases alongside some terrific single cask and small batch indie bottlings from the likes of Gordon & MacPhail and Douglas Laing, with the latter including a very tempting Old & Rare Platinum Port Ellen 1978 27-year-old bottled in 2005 from what looks to have been a rather active sherry cask.

Islay Whisky

Sherried Treasure

Speaking of sherry casks, we’ve got some epic sherried whisky in the sale this month, with a nice mix of old favourites, modern classics and some less well-known but super-promising beauties from various eras.  

We’ll start with official bottlings, and there’s some very special stuff, with the legendary Glendronach 1968 25-year-old bottled back in 1993, the Glendronach 1976 18-year-old from 1994 and a dozen or so recent Glendronach single cask releases including the very pleasingly dark Glendronach 1994-2019 25-year-old Hand Filled Single Cask 5086.

There’s also some terrific long-aged officially-bottled sherry-matured drams. Distell fans will be delighted to see Deanston 40-year-old Cask Strength from 2016, the Oloroso sherry-finished Ledaig 1972 42-year-old bottled in 2014 and the Tobermory 1973 42-year-old matured full term in a sherry butt and bottled in 2016.

Elsewhere, other official sherried drams of note in our February auction include a Wealth Solutions Glenfarclas 1953 - a 58-year-old single cask bottled back in 2012 - and a magnificent Tomatin 1972 41-year-old in a exceptionally fancy presentation set complete with branded glasses and a copper stopper. 

We’ve also got a very dark hand-filled Glen Garioch 1997 21-year-old bottled from a first fill sherry butt at a hefty 57.4%, and the historic Benromach 1998 Cask 1 bottled for the 20th Anniversary of the distillery’s reopening. As the name suggests, this 20-year-old Benromach is from the first cask distilled after Gordon & MacPhail had fired up the stills in 1998 following a five year restoration of the distillery, and fortunately as well as being a notable historical artefact it’s also a superb dram.

We’ve not even mentioned the amazing indie sherried whiskies in this month’s whisky sale yet - highlights include a mahogany Inchgower 1980 24-year-old bottled by Adelphi in 2005, a very dark Chietain’s Brora 1982 from 2002, and an even darker Tamdhu 1989 21-year-old Old & Rare Platinum bottled by Douglas Laing in 2011, but our pick of the auction in this category is the unsurpassed Cadenhead’s White Label Clynelish 1972 Cask 5643 bottled in the 1990s at an enormous 61.5% - an absolutely unforgettable dram for anyone who’s had the privilege of trying it.

Sherried Whisky

Diageo Archive

We’ve got some fascinating old United Distillers / Diageo bottlings in this month’s sale. There’s several choice Special Releases, with the Lagavulin 1977 mentioned above joined by 2010’s Brora 30-year-old, plus the brilliant Rosebank 1990 21-year-old and Talisker 30-year-old from 2011, the famous Talisker 1977 35-year-old from 2012 and the fantastic Convalmore 1977 36-year-old released in 2013.

Elsewhere, this month’s Rare Malts are enlivened by the addition of some very rare 20cl quarter bottle editions disembodied from the Rare Malts selection box they originally came in. We’ve got the Hillside 1969, Mortlach 1972, Glenlochy 1969, North Port 1971 and best of all the Clynelish 1972 22-year-old bottled at 58.95%. Full size Rare Malts this month include St. Magdalene 1979, Rosebank 1979, the USA version of Teaninich 1972 at a whopping 64.95% and the undisputed highlights of Clynelish 1972 23-year-old at 57.1% and the 58.7% version of Brora 1972 22-year-old.

Prestige bottlings from Diageo and its forerunners UD and DCL this month include the towering single cask 41-year-old Clynelish 1973 bottled for Wealth Solutions in 2015, while curios include a 1990s official bottling of North British 1980 Cask Strength single grain whisky and a rare semi-official Glen Mhor 1967-1976, one of several 1967 Glen Mhors bottled during the 1970s and 1980s for Colditz escapee Major P. R. Reid's Special Reserve.

The most exciting official Diageo bottling this month, however, has to be the Brora 1978 40-year-old released for the distillery’s 200th anniversary in 2019. Just 1819 bottles of this treasure were released in tribute to the original Clynelish foundation date, and of course it’s already a legendary dram, with a dazzling display of wax and fruit that really gives the revived distillery something to aim for now that the stills are up and running again!

Indie bottlings of Diageo distilleries are pretty abundant this month, with notable highlights from lost distilleries including a Glenesk 1981-1991 SMWS 86.3 from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, a Brora 1982 20-year-old bottled from a sherry butt by Douglas Laing for the Old Malt Cask selection, some Rosebank 1991 from both Gordon & MacPhail and Dun Bheagan, a 16-year-old First Cask Convalmore 1981, a teenage cask strength Linlithgow 1980 by Scott’s Selection and the welcome return of Dead Whisky Society’s Banff 1971 37-year-old, a strong contender for the best ever bottling from this legendary lost distillery.

Diageo Whiskies

Favourites and Curios

There’s some lovely Springbank this month, with the exceptionally rare private distillery-bottled Springbank 1965-1993 Everest Challenge rubbing shoulders with Cadenhead’s famous pale version Springbank 1973-1991 Rum Butt 18-year-old and SMWS 27.12 - an early Scotch Malt Whisky Society refill sherry cask Springbank 1979 bottled in 1991 at a sturdy 57.2%. Notable indie Springbanks this month come from Adelphi, The Maltman and Claxton’s.

Other returning favourites in our February whisky auction include a private bottling of single cask Ben Nevis 1996, Glenmorangie’s beautiful Culloden 1971 and Bicentenary bottlings of Highland Park 1977 and Strathisla 35-year-old, while curios include a Gordon & MacPhail Glen Keith 1965, from when the distillery was still practising triple distillation, a promisingly dark Connoisseurs Choice bottling of unicorn distillery Kinclaith’s 1967 vintage and Signatory Vintage’s 30th Anniversary bottling of Mosstowie 45-year-old, distilled on Lomond stills at Miltonduff in 1973 and bottled from a spectacular refill sherry butt in 2018.

In non-malt news, there’s plenty for blended whisky fans to get excited about, with Johnnie Walker Black Label bottles going back as far as the 1940s, Royal Salute Stone of Destiny 38-year-old and Whyte & Mackay 50-year-old, while Irish whiskey fans will be tussling over Midleton Dair Ghaelach, Barry Crockett Legacy and a string of Midelton Very Rare bottlings going back as far as 2001.

Staying away from Scotland, Japanese whisky highlights include Hibiki 30-year-old and a 23-year-old Nikka Yoichi 1991 single cask bottled in 2014, and we'll finish with American whiskey, whose fans are really spoiled for choice with the legendary Pappy Van Winkle 20-year-old, plus 1980s Wild Turkey 8-year-old, a slew of recent Blanton's, Antique Collection and W.L. Weller bottlings from Buffalo Trace.

That's it for this month's Auction highlights - Good Luck and Happy Bidding!

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