Fine Spirits Auction | Whisky in All its Beauty – from Japan to 80s Malts

fine spirits auction

This auction will especially appeal to those with a nostalgia for the 80s and fans of Japanese whisky…Here’s a round-up of what’s on offer.

1980s, a pivotal decade for whisky

With many of the bottles in this auction dating from the 80s, it’s worth having a closer look at what this period meant for the world of whisky. It was between 1978 and 1988 that a broader range of people became interested in drinking whisky. During this time, some of the more sophisticated distilleries found themselves challenged by the commercial cuvées of certain Scottish producers that had been forced to widen their market in the face of economic crisis. These commercial names established themselves in France, brands that still carry much weight in the trade to this day. They include Cadenhead, Gordon & McPhail, Glen Grant, Springbank, Strathisla, Glenlivet, Macallan, Aberlour, Aultmore, Laphroaig, Glenfiddich, Jack Daniel’s, Tullamore Drew, and others.

The Macallan

During this time, the Etablissements Gouin were key players of whisky distribution in France, mot notably being purveyors of the Tamdhu Single Malt and the Famous Grouse blend. The Etablissements became the official importers for Macallan before passing on the torch to Rothschild. In this auction, you’ll find two Macallan lots that bear witness to this change of hands: the 10 Years 100 Proof ETS Gouin 57% (750ml) and the 1979 18 Years Rothschild Import 43% (700ml).


Founded back in 1842, the history of Cadenhead has roots that run deep. William Cadenhead took on the company in 1858, with his nephew following suit at the turn of the 20th century. It remained in the family until 1969, when Cadenhead came under the auspices of the Mitchell family, owners of the Springbank distillery.

Concerning the drinks themselves, Cadenhead’s black label made its first appearance in 1977, a whisky with a particularly light filtration. Twelve years later, the ‘Authentic Collection’ was born, recognisable by its green design. In this auction, you have the chance to get your hands on the distillery’s 1976. The ‘Dumpy Brown’ range harks back a little further, to the 1960s, and is here represented by a memorable 1966 Dalwhinnie.

Gordon & MacPhail

The prestige that this name carries on its legendary shoulders is derived mainly from its stock of maturing single malts, considered to be one of the oldest in the world. Its renown can be traced back to George Urquart, who decided to bottle single malts and sell them on behalf of distilleries including Glen Grant, Macallan, Strathisla, Longmorn, Mortlach, Linkwood, and Glenlivet. This was a bold move during a time when blended scotch was the drink of the day.

Gordon & MacPhail quickly became coveted for its distinctive style, with its whisky marked with the effects of being matured in sherry casks.

Start your Japanese whisky collection

Nikka Distillery, Visitor Center Edition

A bit of a rarity outside Japan, the Visitor Center whiskies were crafted for the Nikka distillery’s tourist centres. Never officially exported, it’s pretty difficult to get your hands on one of these bottles. There are a few featured in this sale, though! You’ll find a Yoichi 2000 57% Nikka Whisky (500ml) and a Miyagikyo Sherry & Sweet Distillery Limited 55% Nikka Whisky (700ml).

Whisky from Mars

Having undergone a huge shift in quality since its reopening in 2011, the Mars-Sinshu distillery crafts some real collectors’ whisky. On the Komagatake label, you’ll notice some signs of real rarity, with single casks and small batches featured. One notable example is the Nature of Shinshu Kohiganzakura 52% (700ml).

Last but not least, here are the stars of the auction!

Glenfiddich 1961, Cask n°9015, bottled in October 2000 (Scotland)

Ardbeg 1974 55.6%, bottled in 1997 (Scotland)

Karuizawa 1967, Cask n°6426, bottled in 2009 at the distillery (Scotland)

Bowmore 1956 Islay Pure Malt, likely bottled in 1983 (Scotland)

Locke’s Kilbeggan 34 years 1946 (Ireland)

Jack Daniel’s Gold Medal 1954 (USA Tennessee)

A selection of Chartreuses including the Episcopale 2003.

See the full auction here

Happy bidding!