Top Fine Spirits Auction picks | Fine Scotch, cognac & chartreuse

Fine Spirits Auction is starting the year 2022 with a bang, turning the spotlight on the Macallan distillery’s ‘French version’. We’ve also got Glenfarclas 1959, Bowmore 1968, Yamazaki, 25 years old and 1998, as well as American whiskeys that are emerging through the range « The Antique Collection ».

And that’s not all, cognac and chartreuse will bring smiles thanks to the signatures AE D’OR N°3 and Louis XIII for the former as well as Tarragona 1912-1913 and 1973-1983, for the latter. Here is an overview.

The Macallan

As you may have noticed, since the first Fine Spirits Auction sale in November 2020, The Macallan has positioned itself as the leading Scotch malt by value. While the quality of production is obviously irreproachable, the history of its distribution is no stranger to this success; the owners having masterfully managed its image and development strategy in France since the early 1970s.

In this auction, out of the hundred or so lots on offer, nearly four different French distribution companies that passed the torch from 1970 to 1990 are present on the labels of the famous bottles: Centrachat, Corade, Etablissements Gouin and Baron Philippe de Rothschild.

But the story of The Macallan does not end there. With its sherry-only maturation style no longer the norm, and replaced by the Fine Oak line, it has become a collector’s item and a star at auction. Add to this a relaxation and a European harmonisation of the legal mentions on labels meaning that the name of the importer-distributor is not systematically mentioned. It should be remembered, however, that countries such as the United Kingdom and Italy have taken action against import tax fraud and still apply the customs seal.

FSA 2022 #1, some gems to look out for

In addition to the iconic The Macallan, let’s take a look at some prestigious and rare bottles from the same exciting world of whisky. Let’s stay in Scotland for a while to (re)discover Bowmore 1968 and Glenfarclas 1959. This is the first time we’ve got a Bowmore 1968 (Bowmore 32 Years Old 1968 Anniversary Edition, 45.5%, 70cl) in our auction. This limited edition of some 1,860 bottles was created in 2000 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stanley P Morrison company and is appreciated for its exotic profile.

The second (Glenfarclas 35 Year Old 1959 Cask Strength, Sherry Cask#1814, 52.6%, 70cl) was the first Cask Strength range (later renamed Dumpy-Cask Strength by the general public) by the merchant Andrew Symington and was very successful between 1988 and 2000. Some of the biggest national distilleries’ casks have been bottled in this way. Ardbeg 1967, Springbank 1969, Laphroaig 1966 are just some examples. But, above all, don’t miss the real rarities that are the single casks #1813 and #1814 bottled in 1995 and issued from an edition of only 225 bottles!

We’re now heading to Japan, where the famous Yamazaki 1998, Suntory Single Cask# CU 70066, Sherry Butt, 61%, 70cl, is featured in this auction. Difficult to find as it is destined for its country of origin and comes from a sherry cask, it was bottled in 2012, and the number of signed bottles remaining unknown.

Cognacs, chartreuses, old rums

In addition to these whiskies, the stars of this auction, you will also find superb cognacs, AE D’OR N°3 and Louis XIII, beautiful 1973-1983 chartreuses as well as old rums. For this third category, we highly recommend the 1948 Courcelles. If many bottlings exist in this vintage, this little 70cl rarity would undoubtedly be the result of a post-1990 bottling.

Start a collection in 2022 with Fine Spirits Auction

Auctions always raise the eternal question of how to start a collection. This time, we suggest a number of American series, which have been highly sought after in France for the past 20 years.

The Buffalo Trace – Antique Collection

With Willett, Van Winckle and Banton’s, this series is one of the most sought-after in Europe and the United States. Created in 2000, it is available in three versions at 45%: WL Weller 19yo, Eagle Rare 17yo and Sazerac 18yo. Again, this is a small rarity that was released in France a year later, in 2001, by SNPA (La Maison du Whisky) with less than sixty bottles per expression (five, annual limited editions) in the first few years.

1/ WL (William Larue) Weller

An epic name that has experienced a meteoric rise in just a few years! The cask strength edition without age statement, first launched in 2005 at 60.95% for €145, is now worth over €5,000. And, where once its 45% 19 year old version was worth less than €200, it is now worth over €4,000.

William Larue Weller Of. Antique Collection Barrel Proof – Release 2014 Limited Edition 70,1 % (75 cl.)

2/ Eagle Rare 17 year old

This bourbon, a classic version of the brand, is offered at 45% and its first bottling in 2000 concerns a 1982 distillation. The second bottling, launched in 2001, contains a nectar distilled in 1984. Here again, we are dealing with a signature that is valued very well, rising from around €100 in its early days to over €4,000 today.

Eagle Rare 17 years Of. Antique Collection bottled Spring 2014 45% (75 cl.)

3/ Sazerac 18 years

Let’s finish this litany on the latest addition to The Whisky Antique range. In the same vein as Eagle Rare, this one which, at its launch, was worth around a hundred euros (just under €150) is now over the €4,000 estimate. And yet, its first edition, a 1998 vintage, was only introduced in 2006.

Last but not least, another gem to note: George T. Stagg, a 15 year old bourbon whose first expression dates back to 2002 and the first edition with 71.35% alcohol was introduced in France in 2003. It has gone from a value of over 200€ to a staggering 3,000€.

You can browse the full Fine Spirits Auction here. Happy bidding!

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