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March Whisky Auction Highlights 2024

2024, Auction Highlights -

March Whisky Auction Highlights 2024

Welcome to our March 2024 Whisky Auction Highlights blog! We’ve got some fantastic drams coming under the hammer this month from the likes of Rosebank, Port Ellen, Macallan, Daftmill and many, many more, so let’s get cracking.

Distillery Bottlings

There's so many great distillery bottlings to tell you about this month. We’ll start on Islay, where there’s lots of great single malt whiskies coming up for grabs. Recent Feis Ile (Islay Festival) bottlings include the likes of the cask strength Lagavulin 19-year-old bottled in 2019 from ‘sherry-treated American oak casks’, and Bowmore’s first fill bourbon cask matured Bowmore 15-year-old from the same year, weighing in at a lip-smacking 51.7%.

Going back a little further, we have a rare bottle of Kilchoman’s 2011 Islay Festival release, a vatting of two ex-bourbon casks of the 2006 vintage, which was only the second year of production at Kilchoman. Casks 31 and 32 were finished in a single sherry butt, which was bottled in May 2011 a few weeks after the whisky turned five years old. This bottle is one of just 530 yielded from the finishing cask and was signed by the late Kilchoman distillery manager, the much-missed Islay whisky legend John Maclellan.

Whisky Distillery Bottlings

Elsewhere on the magic isle, there’s a string of recent Ardbeg Committee Releases, including Ardbegs Hypernova, Drum, Kelpie, Dark Cove and Alligator (among others), and we also have some great earlier official Ardbegs from soon after the Glenmorangie takeover in the form of a very deeply-hued 2004 edition of Ardbeg Uigeadail and a bottle of the beautiful Ardbeg 1977 vintage from around the same time.

Other great distillery bottlings from Islay this month include Bruichladdich 1984 32-year-old Rare Cask, assembled in 2017 from the last 12 casks of the Legacy 1984 distillations, plus 1980s bottlings of Bowmore 12-year-old and Bruichladdich 10-year-old, and a Rare Malts Edition Caol Ila 1977 21-year-old bottled in 1999 at its phenomenal cask strength of 61.3%.

Staying with Diageo and its predecessors, we’ve got some more excellent Rare Malts including Glen Ord 1974 and Teaninich 1973, and Special Releases including 2008’s Brora 25-year-old and the very first Brora 30-year-old Special Release, bottled at 52.4% in 2002 and fully deserving its lofty reputation. We also have a bottle of the magnificent Brora 1978 40-year-old bottled in 2019 to celebrate the distillery’s 200th Anniversary - this was a vatting of 12 refill hogsheads and was an edition of 1819 bottles (see what they did there) at its cask strength of 49.2%.

Other great Diageo/UD/DCL official bottlings this month include the excellent Talisker Millennium, a limited edition bottled in 2000 for the Isle Eigg Heritage Trust at a remarkably hefty 60%, and best of all a magnificent old Rosebank 12-year-old bottled in the 1980s for Italian importer Zenith.

Elsewhere, official Macallans in this month’s sale include this year’s Macallan Home Collection release, entitled The River Spey, with other recent prestige bottlings including Macallan Rare Cask Black, the Macallan M Black decanter, Decade IV of the Macallan James Bond series released in 2022, a couple of bottles of the 2018 edition of Macallan Genesis, assorted Macallan Folio releases and last year’s Macallan Distil Your World - Mexico Edition.

Older official Macallans this month include some great old Macallan 18-year-old Sherry editions including the 1994, 1988, 1983 and 1968 vintages, while miscellaneous official bottlings to look out for include the likes of the rare and wonderful Glenugie 1977 32-year-old Deoch an Doras, a Glenturret 1965 Limited Edition from the late 1980s, Tamnavulin 1970 Stillman’s Dram, Glengoyne Teapot Dram Batch 007, Springbank 2001 Rundlets & Kilderkins and the recent small batch Daftmill 2010 bottled in 2021 for the Unofficial Fans’ Facebook group.

Independent Bottlings

As ever there’s some fantastic old drams from the independent bottlers in this month's whisky auction. Beginning with Gordon & MacPhail, we have the old 1990s bottling of Macphail’s 30-year-old, an undisclosed Speyside single malt often rumoured to be Macallan and bottled in a stylish flat ‘Puccini’ decanter, plus an amazing 1980s bottle of Glenlivet 1940, a Connoisseurs Choice 1982 Brora and the stunning black label Talisker 1969 100-Proof released at the end of the 1970s - an exceptionally rare dram and one of only two known bottlings of this vintage from Talisker.

SMWS whisky

This month also sees an exciting selection from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society - we’ve got some absolute belters up for grabs, including the first ever SMWS bottling of Loch Lomond’s Inchmurrin spirit: SMWS 112.1 was a 31-year-old Inchmurrin distilled in 1966 and released in 1997, as was Inchmurrin 112.3, which is in this month's sale as well!

Other brief highlights from this month’s SMWS treasure trove include Glenrothes 1966 31-year-old SMWS 30.25, Longmorn 1968 38-year-old SMWS 7.38, a trio of 1970 Glenfarclas casks and other 1970s vintages from Glenlivet, Bunnahabhain and Springbank - the vast majority of them exceptionally dark sherried drams. There’s also a very promising Caol Ila 1983 20-year-old and 1990s vintages of Macallan, Laphroaig, Springbank and Clynelish, so it’s fair to say there’s an SMWS for everyone this month!

Finally for this section, there’s a superb Signatory ‘inkpot’ bottle of Bunnahabhain 1964 25-year-old from a small batch of casks bottled at 46% in 1990 - this was a release of 900 bottles and is interesting as the distillery made peated whisky until 1962/3, so 1964 was one of the first vintages unpeated Bunnahabhain was produced.

SMWS Whisky

Closed Distilleries

Some great stuff from the closed distilleries this month, including a pair of splendid old official bottlings from Hillside / Glenesk: a lovely old 1980s official bottling of Glenesk 12-year-old and the excellent Hillside 1971 25-year-old Rare Malts edition, the latter weighing in at a scarcely credible 62%.

Staying with the victims of Diageo predecessors DCL and United Distillers, we also have the Pittyvaich 1989 25-year-old from 2015’s Special Releases, and Gordon & MacPhail bottlings of Rosebank 1990-2014, Glen Albyn 1973-1998 and Convalmore 1969-1991. 

Closed Whisky Distilleries

There’s also some great Dallas Dhu from Signatory Vintage and Duncan Taylor, a pair of mid-1970s vintages from North Port Brechin by Cadenhead’s and Signatory, a 1990 Littlemill 19-year-old from Douglas Laing’s Platinum Selection and a string of excellent Port Ellens from the likes of Bladnoch Forum, G&M, Berry Bros & Rudd and Douglas Laing.

One of the most interesting bottles in the whole sale, meanwhile, is the independently bottled Jameson 12-year-old released in the 1950s by whiskey bonders P&H Egan of Tullamore in Co. Offaly - this will be pure pot still Irish whiskey from the original Bow Street distillery in Dublin and is likely to cause a stampede among Irish whiskey fans.

Single Casks

There’s some wonderful single cask bottlings that we haven’t mentioned yet.  Officially-bottled top picks in this category this month include a single sherry butt Ben Nevis 1998 15-year-old, a single bourbon barrel Daftmill 2008 chosen for Berry Bros, Dalmore 1991 20-year-old Constellation and the magnificent Glenfarclas 1954 59-year-old, a refill sherry butt bottled in 2014.

Single Cask Whisky

Other superb official single casks include the famous Highland Park 1977 sherry cask bottled in 2003 for the Scottish Field Merchants, the Ronnie’s Choice and Ewan’s Choice 1980s vintage casks from Glengoyne bottled in 2005 and the welcome return of the extraordinary Midleton 1973, a cask of pure pot still Irish whiskey chosen by the legendary Barry Crockett in 2003 and bottled at its natural strength of 56%.

Indie-bottled single cask highlights, meanwhile, must include Douglas Laing’s Caol Ila 1979 28-year-old Platinum Selection, a very exciting private bottling of Hazelburn 1998 25-year-old and, finally, the heavily-sherried Port Ellen 1982 Royal Wedding, bottled by TWE for the marriage of William & Kate in 2011.

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