Island hopping for fine spirits | Auction highlights

Looking at the fine rums and whiskies available in this auction, island produce stands out a mile. The latest Fine Spirits Auction features spirits from Jamaica, Japan, and Scotland, with plenty of hidden gems among them.

Rum

When it comes to rum, we’ve got you covered at FSA, and lots from the Caroni and Demerara make up 10% of this auction. Caroni’s Employee series comes highly recommended, a collection of sixteen bottlings, seven of which are up for bidding. Two of these editions appeared in 2018:

*Caroni 22 Years 1996, John D Eversley Employee Velier Special Edition, 1,192 bottles in the world

*Caroni 20 Years 1998, Dennis X Gopaul Employee Velier Special Edition, 1,151 bottles in the world

If rarity is what you’re after, don’t miss out on the Plantation rums from Pierre Ferrand, particularly the Plantation 36 years 1984 Pierre Ferrand Extrême n°4 Mark MMW. This one is alternatively named Monymusk, originally from the Jamaican Clarendon distillery, and was bottled in 2020 for the French market.

Japanese whisky

Our top picks from the selection of Japanese whisky were hard to narrow down…But we just have to recommend the following:

*Karuizawa 1976 Kamiasobi – Haorama Cask #6719: a single cask released in 2009 which, never distributed in France, follows the Karuizawa 1977 Kamiasobi – Ama the Fisher Girl cask #7026 that was released in 2008. The avid collectors among you should note that these two are a pair, so having them both would be a real treasure.

*Karuizawa 1984 Cask #3663, bottled in 2013 for The Speciality Drinks (UK)

*Karuizawa 19 years 1988, bottles in 2007 for The Whisky Fair Limburg (Germany)

Scotch whisky

Since the Isle of Islay is celebrating its famous Feis Ile at the end of the month, what better occasion to put in the spotlight some of the 200 bottles from this part of the world that feature in our auction.

From the northern island and its legendary distilleries, we have:

*Bowmore 1997 (2019) Distillery Manager’s Selection: released in just 3,000 bottles, this expression was aged in sherry casks

*Caol Ila 1972 Celtic Label

*Bruichladdich 21 years 1989 Black Art Edition 2nd release

*Bunnahabhain 39 years Cadenhead’s Small Batch

The big names on the south of the island have plenty to offer, too.

Laphroaig: if you were to choose one reference whisky from this distillery, make it the Laphroaig 10 years Geco Import. Whilst there are versions with different degrees of alcohol, sizes, importers, labels, capsules, and corks, it cannot be denied that the 10 Year edition carries the character of the distillery. This is a collectors’ edition as more than 150 bottlings have been made over a period of around sixty years.

Lagavulin: check out the rare malt whose success has only grown since the release (in 1987-1988) of a 16 year-aged version that features in the Six Classic Malts range. Some must-haves:

*Lagavulin 18 years Feis Ile 2016 Limited Edition

*Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival 2015 Limited Edition

*37 years 1976 (Bottled 2013) Limited Edition 1868 Bottles

Ardbeg: the NAS (No Age Statement) editions from Ardbeg are highly coveted by whisky lovers. The Ardbeg Corryvreckan 100° Proof Committee Reserve is a rare little gem, with just 5,000 bottles produced in the world. One to enjoy with other whisky connoisseurs, that’s for sure.

The versions preceding this one can be separated into three different eras: before 1997 was the Allied Domecq era, between 1997 and 2004 was the Macdonald family (Glenmorangie Plc.), and since 2005 we’ve been in the LVMH era.

A tip? Opt for the three first editions of Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 years which, distilled between 2000 and 2001, reveal a curiously aromatic character, typical of older versions.

Port Ellen: the distillery that closed its doors in 1983 has been attracting the attention of whisky lovers since the end of the 1990s. This is due to two exceptional ranges that were put on the market at the time: the Rare Malts Selection and the Annual Release, launched at a rhythm of one per year by Diageo, revealing truly fantastic years like the 1978 and 1979.

*Rare Malts Selection: here you’ll find a Port Ellen 29 Years 1978 (1988) Natural Cask Strength

*Annual Release: Port Ellen 32 years 1979 – 12th release, from a set of just 2,964 bottles worldwide

Aside from these fine examples, feel free to browse the full selection at Fine Spirits Auction, and you have until the 3rd June to place your bids!

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