February Whisky Auction Highlights 2024
Welcome to our February Auction Highlights! There’s a plethora of fabulous drams coming up for grabs this month from distilleries including Macallan, Brora, Benriach, Port Ellen and many more, so let’s get cracking.
We’ve got some marvellous official bottlings for you in this month’s whisky auction, with a range of top class drams both recent and ancient coming under the hammer. We’ll start with Diageo and their predecessors United Distillers and DCL, whose highlights include the likes of 2021’s Special Release Lagavulin 26-year-old and the much earlier cask strength Lagavulin 12-year-old from 2002 - the first ever Special Release edition of this famous and much-loved bottling.
Elsewhere there’s a *lot* of classic old Talisker 10-year-olds and White Horse Lagavulin 16-year-old in the sale - including two full cases of the latter for those who can’t get enough of that old school southern Islay splendour. There’s also gems like early Distillers Editions from Talisker, Cragganmore, Lagavulin and Glenkinchie and rare early Flora & Fauna editions from Bladnoch and Aberfeldy (both of which were later discontinued as the distilleries had been sold) plus several excellent Rare Malts from Caol Ila, Mortlach, Benromach and Teaninich, among others.
Moving on from Diageo, there’s plenty of great Springbank this month including 1990s Springbank 15-year-old, the 175th Anniversary Springbank 12-year-old released in 2003 and a slew of interesting private bottlings and early editions of Longrow and Hazelburn.
Macallan are well-represented this month too, of course, with recent highlights including a bottle of the Macallan 25-year-old Sherry Cask release from 2018 and a couple of bottles of Macallan Rare Cask Batch 1 released the same year. Older Macallans this month include the classic blue ribbon Macallan 18-year-olds from vintages including 1969 and 1972, and a stunning bottle of Macallan 12-year-old 100-Proof released in 1971 - this gloriously dark chestnut-coloured Macallan was an official licensed bottling by Gordon & MacPhail and would have been distilled in the late 1950s, and that strength it’s going to be an absolute monster.
There’s a plethora of old core range official bottlings from days gone by this month, with gems like the classic 1980s dumpy bottle Glenfarclas 15-year-old, a litre of Laphroaig 10-year-old ‘Unblended’ from 1985 and turn of the century Longmorn 15-year-old, alongside multiple bottles of Arran Founders Reserve, Bowmore Legend and 1990s editions of Talisker 10-year-old, dumpy bottle Highland Park 12-year-old and Laphroaig 10-year-old.
Miscellaneous excellent special edition official bottlings in this month’s sale include gems like Glenfiddich 21-year-old Millennium Reserve from 1999, Balvenie 21-year-old Red Rose 2nd Edition, Laphroaig 18-year-old Diamond Jubilee, Ardbeg’s Serendipity and an old 1990s Glenmorangie Maltman’s Reserve in its unusual tall-necked still shaped ceramic decanter. There’s also an unusual dumpy bottle special edition Auchentoshan 21-year-old selected by the Lord Provost of Glasgow to celebrate the distillery’s links with the city, plus unsung or rarely seen classics like Dalmore 1973 30-year-old and Old Pulteney 1983 21-year-old.
Finally, away from Scotland we have a US half-pint bottle of Stitzel-Weller’s Very Old Fitzgerald distilled in 1962, Nikka Taketsuru 21-year-old and several superb Irish whiskeys including three bottles of Old Comber 30-year-old, the sought-after Midleton Very Rare 2017 (the last bottling in the old tall bottle presentation) and the second ever Midleton Very Rare bottling, released way back in 1985.
Pride of place among the Irish whiskeys this month, however, must go to the ancient Locke’s Kilbeggan 1946 - the last known cask from the original distillery, bottled in 1980 - and a stunning bottle of Dunville’s VR Fine Old Irish Whisky (note the spelling!) bottled over a century ago and bearing a beautiful back label quoting 1908 and 1914 analyses from medical journal The Lancet which proclaim it to be “Genuine Whisky, Thoroughly Matured, Particularly Smooth To The Palate”. This gorgeous old bottle of the original Dunville’s is a worthy centrepiece for any Irish collection and we’re already jealous of whoever manages to snap it up.
First things first: there are some spectacular assorted selections of indie-bottled miniatures in this month’s whisky auction! There’s far too many to get into here, but we have various flights of old Van Wees (The Ultimate) and Gordon & MacPhail minis including the old brown label and map label Connoisseurs Choice editions, and several assorted G&M Cask Strength bottlings. There’s some great old 1960s and 1970s vintage drams up for grabs from the likes of Clynelish, Cragganmore, Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Caol Ila, plus lots of highly desirable minis from various closed distilleries that we’ll cover in the next section.
Moving to full-size bottles but staying with Gordon & MacPhail, highlights include a rare mid-1990s Scapa 1983 Distillery Labels bottling, a rare old Glenglassaugh 1986 bottled in 2015 and the famous MacPhail’s 40-year-old mystery single malt whisky bottled sometime around the mid-Noughties - the tantalising dark chestnut colour suggests a heavy sherry influence and the whisky must have been distilled in the mid-1960s or earlier, so it’s definitely going to be spectacular stuff whether the Macallan rumours are true or not.
Miscellaneous indie bottlings of note this month include a very promising sherried Bunnahabhain 1979 bottled in 1991 by posh London wine merchants El Vino, a pair of young Longrow 1987s from Signatory Vintage and several interesting bottles from US-based indie bottlers Alexander Murray & Co., including a 1995 Glen Grant 23-year-old and a remarkable 1978 vintage 43-year-old blended whisky.
Scotland’s great lost distilleries are well represented in this month’s auction. In terms of official bottlings we have Rare Malts editions of Brora, Rosebank, Glenlochy, Dallas Dhu, North Port (Brechin) and Glenury Royal, while Gordon & MacPhail chip in with a 1991 Lochside, a 1979 Mosstowie and some enticing Port Ellens, including a G&M Cask Strength edition of Port Ellen 1979 20-year-old bottled from a small batch of sister casks at a phenomenal 60.7%.
Elsewhere, we’ve got a 19-year-old Brora 1982 bottled by Ian Macleod for their Chieftain’s range in 2001 from a small batch of sister sherry casks, while the Van Wees and G&M minis throw up some absolute superstar drams from the likes of Banff, Caperdonich, Glenugie, Convalmore, Millburn and several minis of the legendary Kinclaith.
As ever, there’s some magnificent single cask bottlings in this month’s whisky auction. There’s far too many to list here, but brief official bottling highlights must include the Tullibardine 1964 51-year-old Custodians Collection, Glenglassaugh 1986 Rare Cask, and the excellent Oban Managers’ Dram released in 1995. We also have some single cask bottlings from the tiny Ballindalloch distillery in Speyside, which began production in 2014 but only released its first official bottlings in 2023 - we have their Inaugural Release single cask 47, which was a distillery exclusive, and the First Release single cask 474.
Indie single casks are plentiful in this month’s sale, with highlights from Signatory Vintage including two bottles of Port Ellen 1978 23-year-old and a beautiful cask strength Benriach 1966 35-year-old Rare Reserve, a prestige edition complete with wooden box and tasting glass.
Elsewhere, there’s an absolute treasure trove of Duncan Taylor bottlings in this month’s sale, with highlights including 1990s vintages of Macallan, Glen Grant, Ardbeg and a frighteningly dark sherried Cragganmore, plus a Caol Ila 1983 and a pair of impressively-packaged bottlings of Bowmore 1982 and Port Ellen 1983 released in 2013 as part of the company’s prestige Tantalus series.
We also have some lovely single cask goodies from Douglas Laing, including a 33-year-old Glen Ord 1970 and a Blair Athol 1976 27-year-old, both sherry casks bottled at 50%, alongside a very interesting Macallan 1988 16-year-old finished in a first fill Grand Cru Burgundy wine cask.
Miscellaneous single casks to look out for this month include a 1972 Bunnahabhain bottled in 2012 at 39 or 40 years old by The Golden Cask, plus a private bottling of Ben Nevis’s famous 1996 vintage (there’s quite a few bottles of this one, which is obviously great news) and a handful of 1980s and 1990s vintage single casks from the lost Willowbank distillery in New Zealand, which closed in 1997.
That's it for this month's whisky auction highlights - check out the full auction here for more. Good Luck and Happy Bidding!