Fine Spirits Auction report | Top-performing whisky

The latest edition of Fine Spirits Auction, its fourth reprise since November 2020, concluded on the 11th of June. The 650 lots offered up for bids represented a 77% increase on the number of bottles available in the first auction of its kind, just seven months before. Here’s a look at some of the most notable results.

Whisky continues to symbolise some of the finest produce the world of spirits has to offer, with its rarity, deeply-rooted origins, and varied crafting methods all contributing to its success. Certain whisky lots attracted the eager interest of connoisseurs, after records were set in April (a 1938 Handwritten by Macallan went for €14,160 and a Yamazaki 1993 The Elephant for €11,800). This time, the bottles with the highest bids were a 2000 Hanyu Five of Spades and a 1974 31 Years Old from Laphroaig, the former selling for €11,918 (+189%) and the latter for €9,558 (+10%).

Other bottles did well thanks to their rarity. The 1981 single cask Japanese malt, also known as Hakushu, falls within this category because of its vintage being almost unfindable. Difficult to get hold of, even on the auction market, this whisky received 36 different bids before reaching a selling price of €3,658. Similarly, a bottle of Blanton’s Cask #129 found a taker for €472, despite its low level in the bottle. It couldn’t be clearer that limited editions in the world of spirits are coveted the world over.

A trend that continues to be confirmed as auctions go by is the attraction of lots without a reserve price. All of the bottles given a starting price of just €1 found a bidder. Among this selection were little gems and some truly great finds, with final top bids ranging from €13 to €142, including on spirits from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Such variety offers the chance to make surprising discoveries and enrich your collection, here with the added intrigue of a bid to place at whatever level you feel fitting.

Blended malts also found themselves in the spotlight during the latest auction. The 5 year-Old Bulloch Lade (€112), a blended malt crafted from single malts that date from before 1966, is just one example. A little marvel, in fact, because Bulloch Lade was also the owner of the famous Caol Ila distillery at the time. The White Horse Scotch whisky from Carpano Import is also a bottle with history. From the 1970s, this whisky carries the imprint of the Lagavulin distillate, a liquid that became a thing of the past when the distillery closed some years later.

Spirits from Japan and Taiwan continue to carry their prestige with great success, and we’ve also spotted an interest in bottles from lesser-know producer countries. Take the 1996 King Barley 12 years by Zlata Salima, a spirit from the Czech Republic that first made its way into France in the 1990s. The curiosity to discover niches in this rich and inviting industry is evident, and Fine Spirits Auction is only getting stronger in the extent of its selection.

You’ll find the full auction report here, including a list of every lot sold and their hammer prices.

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