"The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

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Sarah Kirschbaum
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"The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

#1 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 21st, 2019, 11:44 pm

News is out that “The Ultimate Whisky Collection,” is coming to auction via Sotheby's next month. It is Sotheby's first such offering and surely one of the largest and most valuable single-seller whisky auctions ever through any house, expected to sell for more than $4.5M. Bidding opens online on September 27 for a live sale on October 24th in London.

In the way of disclosure: I'm not a disinterested party here. The consultant mentioned in the catalogue and press releases is my husband, Jonathan Read. I know the blood, sweat, toil and tears (in both the literal and figurative senses) that have gone into building this collection. This work has consumed him for years now. Believe me, there were times I hated this collection! But it's also been a thrilling treasure hunt, albeit an obsessive one, that has taken us to far flung places and encounters with some of the greatest collections in the world, not to mention some fascinating people. Jonathan never puts himself forward about how knowledgeable he his, but this collection makes it hard to hide. I’m exceedingly proud of him.

Here’s a teaser from the article in The Whiskey Wash linked below, which has a ton more information on what will be offered:

“The Ultimate Whisky Collection is defined by its strong representation of The Macallan bottlings. Comprising half of the lots in the sale and with a combined estimated value in excess of £2.2 million, this is the most comprehensive collection of the Macallan Fine and Rare series ever offered at auction.

Most notable is the 178 bottle-strong collection of Fine and Rare spanning seven decades, from 1926 through to 1991. The outstanding line-up is headed by the originally-labelled 60 years old The Macallan 1926 from cask #263. Cask 263 yielded only 40 bottles, considered the ‘holy grail’ of whiskies; 12 bottles were labelled by Peter Blake, 12 by Valerio Adami, and two bottles were sold individually and given private labels, one of which was hand-painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon. The remaining 14 were bottled as the anchor for the Fine and Rare series and labelled as such, making them the oldest bottles in the iconic ‘Fine and Rare’ series, both by age and by vintage. In the last two years, three versions containing liquid from Cask 263 have all broken records at auction, but the fourth bottling from this cask has not been seen at auction for over a decade. The Macallan 60 Years Old, Fine & Rare Series is the only bottle required to complete both the full collections of bottlings from cask 263 and the Fine and Rare vertical, a series to which The Macallan is continuing to add releases annually….

Alongside The Macallan, the Speyside region is well represented by Glenfiddich and Balvenie’s oldest bottlings, including Balvenie 50 year old 1937, Glenfiddich 50 year old (1st and 2nd releases), and Glenfiddich 64 year old 1937….

Of all Scotch’s independent bottlers, none have made more of an impact on collectors than Silvano Samaroli. Samaroli’s iconic releases, including Bowmore 18 year Bouquet, Laphroaig 15 year old Sherry Cask 1967, Laphroaig 1970, Springbank 12 year old and Ardbeg Sherry Wood 1974, will be offered as part of the Ultimate Whisky Collection.

The smoky style of Islay’s whiskies has shown remarkable growth in recent years. Of all Islay’s distilleries, Bowmore holds the lion’s share of collectible bottlings, boasted in this sale by the inclusion of all the Bowmore Black releases (First, Second, Final and Bowmore Black 50 year old Last Cask) as well as Bowmore Black, Bowmore White and Bowmore Gold from the Bowmore Trilogy series, all of which were distilled in 1964. The Bowmore collection continues with the 1957 54 year old “Crashing Waves” and the 50 year old releases from both 1961 and 1966.”


https://thewhiskeywash.com/whiskey-styl ... -sothebys/

Though most of us can't even begin to imagine buying at this level, I think it's a pretty fascinating list to peruse. There are some extremely rare and exciting bottles, things you'd actually want to drink, in addition to the super high-end luxury collectibles, which likely no one will ever drink. It’s so different from a big wine cellar offering - only a small number of some of these were ever made, as few as 12 or 14 in some cases. You can't get them just by having the desire and the funds. Many of these surface only once in a lifetime for sale.

I’ll post a link to the catalogue when it hits online, but I’ve had the chance to pre-view it and it’s pretty awesome. It's hard to read through a catalogue like this without mixed feelings. Some of the prices are astronomical. But I believe something special shines through. I'm reminded of a recent thread on WB about a wine auction catalogue that people said seemed soulless, no personality, as if the Consigner had simply purchased massive amounts of all the most expensive wines without any care. I can assure you that isn't the case here - this collection has been built with passion, curiosity and a deep love of whisky. I invite you to take a look. If nothing else, it’s a beautiful book, and the list is a slice of whisky history.

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Re: "The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

#2 Post by M.Kaplan » September 22nd, 2019, 9:31 am

Amazing. Congrats to JR!
---Mark

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Re: "The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

#3 Post by alan weinberg » September 22nd, 2019, 12:39 pm

Sarah—is it your husband’s collection or was he the curator?

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Re: "The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

#4 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 22nd, 2019, 3:19 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
September 22nd, 2019, 12:39 pm
Sarah—is it your husband’s collection or was he the curator?
He curated the collection, handled much of the acquisitions after he began working with the collector.

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Re: "The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

#5 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 22nd, 2019, 3:20 pm

M.Kaplan wrote:
September 22nd, 2019, 9:31 am
Amazing. Congrats to JR!
Thank you, Mark! It's very exciting. There are even a few special Ardbeg bottles.

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Re: "The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

#6 Post by A Rubin Stein » October 1st, 2019, 12:28 pm

It looks like the auction is open online on Sotheby’s website now and it looks very impressive.
a s h e r

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Re: "The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

#7 Post by Jorge Henriquez » October 2nd, 2019, 2:46 am

Bravo to Jonathan!
Cohort Numero Uno!
"I'm a bowl of excitement, bitch!" TMF 08/13/10

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Re: "The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

#8 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » October 4th, 2019, 11:27 am

Jorge Henriquez wrote:
October 2nd, 2019, 2:46 am
Bravo to Jonathan!
Thanks, Jorge! And thank you Asher for taking a look at the website. I got my hard copy yesterday - it's gorgeous, though I wish they had given it a hard cover. :)

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Re: "The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

#9 Post by Harold Fong » October 24th, 2019, 11:50 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
October 4th, 2019, 11:27 am
Jorge Henriquez wrote:
October 2nd, 2019, 2:46 am
Bravo to Jonathan!
Thanks, Jorge! And thank you Asher for taking a look at the website. I got my hard copy yesterday - it's gorgeous, though I wish they had given it a hard cover. :)
I was following the live auction this morning. Looks like almost all lots went above the high estimate. Not surprising at all. I wish I had jumped on some of those Port Ellens when they came out and weren’t so hard to find 10-20 years ago.

I am also very impressed with the catalogue. The photography is absolutely gorgeous. My favorites are the ones around the Talisker section. I’ve only been to Islay once, but some time in the future, I will have to go back to Scotland and see Skye as well.

Is there any way at all to purchase a hard copy of the catalogue? I’ve been going through the pdf for hours and I can see myself coming back to this compendium over and over again.

Well done!!!

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Re: "The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

#10 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » October 24th, 2019, 2:04 pm

Harold Fong wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 11:50 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
October 4th, 2019, 11:27 am
Jorge Henriquez wrote:
October 2nd, 2019, 2:46 am
Bravo to Jonathan!
Thanks, Jorge! And thank you Asher for taking a look at the website. I got my hard copy yesterday - it's gorgeous, though I wish they had given it a hard cover. :)
I was following the live auction this morning. Looks like almost all lots went above the high estimate. Not surprising at all. I wish I had jumped on some of those Port Ellens when they came out and weren’t so hard to find 10-20 years ago.

I am also very impressed with the catalogue. The photography is absolutely gorgeous. My favorites are the ones around the Talisker section. I’ve only been to Islay once, but some time in the future, I will have to go back to Scotland and see Skye as well.

Is there any way at all to purchase a hard copy of the catalogue? I’ve been going through the pdf for hours and I can see myself coming back to this compendium over and over again.

Well done!!!
Thank you! It was a wonderful day. Being in the room was so exciting. I am sure it's possible to get a catalogue. Please PM me with your location and I will see what I can do.

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Re: "The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

#11 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » October 25th, 2019, 3:31 pm

The Macallan 1926 Fine & Rare broke the record for most expensive scotch whisky at £1.5M. That was an amazing moment.

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Re: "The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

#12 Post by alan weinberg » October 26th, 2019, 10:34 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
October 25th, 2019, 3:31 pm
The Macallan 1926 Fine & Rare broke the record for most expensive scotch whisky at £1.5M. That was an amazing moment.
hope it is fine and rare—that’s about $1.8M, or $75,000 an ounce.

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Re: "The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

#13 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » October 27th, 2019, 10:58 am

alan weinberg wrote:
October 26th, 2019, 10:34 pm
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
October 25th, 2019, 3:31 pm
The Macallan 1926 Fine & Rare broke the record for most expensive scotch whisky at £1.5M. That was an amazing moment.
hope it is fine and rare—that’s about $1.8M, or $75,000 an ounce.
Believe it or not, I, too, did the math. ;-) The buyer was in the room, bidding against a phone bidder, so it was a very dramatic back and forth.

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Re: "The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

#14 Post by patrick c albright » November 11th, 2019, 4:40 am

Harold Fong wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 11:50 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
October 4th, 2019, 11:27 am
Jorge Henriquez wrote:
October 2nd, 2019, 2:46 am
Bravo to Jonathan!
Thanks, Jorge! And thank you Asher for taking a look at the website. I got my hard copy yesterday - it's gorgeous, though I wish they had given it a hard cover. :)
I was following the live auction this morning. Looks like almost all lots went above the high estimate. Not surprising at all. I wish I had jumped on some of those Port Ellens when they came out and weren’t so hard to find 10-20 years ago.

I am also very impressed with the catalogue. The photography is absolutely gorgeous. My favorites are the ones around the Talisker section. I’ve only been to Islay once, but some time in the future, I will have to go back to Scotland and see Skye as well.

Is there any way at all to purchase a hard copy of the catalogue? I’ve been going through the pdf for hours and I can see myself coming back to this compendium over and over again.

Well done!!!
Harold,
I have an extra catalog.

I am in Napa or happy to mail to you.

Patrick
ITB

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Re: "The Ultimate Whisky Collection" Coming to Auction at Sotheby's

#15 Post by Harold Fong » November 11th, 2019, 9:35 pm

Thanks for the kind offer Patrick. I managed to get one from Sotheby’s, arranged through Sarah.

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