FSA #10

With Islay representing a third of all lots up for auction, the tenth edition of FSA looked set to fly the flag for the Feis Ile festival held annually on the island at this time of year. But it was Japan and its 70 lots that once again prevailed, generating more than half of all winning bids (in terms of value). Despite this great wave, however, Macallan and Caroni also posted great results, taking second and third place on the podium.

Japanese whisky:

KARUIZAWA 1976 KAMIASOBI HAOROMO, Cask# 6719, TWE. Sold for €21,358

Quite an entrance for this edition released in 2009 by Number One Drinks for The Whisky Exchange, here making its début on Fine Spirits Auction. This edition went for the fourth highest hammer price ever seen since Fine Spirits Auction first launched in November 2020. It is also now a rarity in the European market, with only a handful of bottles going up for auction every year, normally fetching around €10,000 (June 2021). Which makes this a new record!

Karuizawa continues to be on an upward trend. Several editions made their first appearance in this tenth auction, including 1973, 1974, 1984 and 1985 (for the most part bottlings created for and imported to France by LMDW between 2007 and 2017). This growth above all reflects market jitters resulting from the increased rarity of these bottlings’ presence in the European auction market and their anticipated disappearance. All of which means there is a very real potential for prices to rise in the coming months.

 

BOTTLING

FSA JUNE 2022

INCREASE

(based on 2021 average)

Karuizawa 2000 Paola Parès Sherry Butt - Cask no. 166 - bottled 2013 LMDW

€3,599

+25%

Karuizawa 1979 Vintage Label Ex Bourbon Cask no. 8187 - LMDW

€10,620

+52%

Karuizawa 1978 Vintage Label Ex-Bourbon Cask no. 8383 - bottled 2014 LMDW

€11,210

+49%

Karuizawa 1981 Yuuka Serie, “Prendre le Rythme” Sherry Butt no. 78 - bottled 2013 LMDW

€10,620

+39%

Karuizawa 1981 W. Khong Serie, Ex-Sherry Cask no. 136 - bottled 2014 LMDW

€9,322

+28%

Asama, Karuizawa 1999 - 2000 bottled 2012 LMDW

€2,124

+42%

 

Scotch whiskies: Islay Special

ARDBEG UIGEADAIL, The Ultimate, 54.2%. Sold for 331

It’s worth taking a closer look at Ardbeg Uigeadail, as hammer prices vary greatly between bottlings. This expression was first introduced in 2003 with a “flip-top” or “lid” box (which was replaced with a standard box in subsequent editions). The most reliable way to distinguish between different batches (when the bottling date isn’t stated on the back label) is to look at the code engraved on the glass, most commonly on the bottom of the bottle, with L3 standing for 2003 and L4 for 2004, etc. Two of the three bottles up for auction were from 2003 and it was their first appearance on FSA.

Ardbeg continues to experience a positive trend, systematically exceeding its low estimates and coming close to or exceeding its high estimates for all bottlings, independent and official alike: Ardbeg 19 years Of. Traigh Bhan TB/01-15.03.00/19.MH (hammer price: €708). Of the Ardbeg available in FSA #10 (45 bottles), most were recent, non-vintage versions (post-2000 bottlings). Hammer prices were on average 44% above low estimates and 12% below high estimates.

 

ISLAY RECAP:

Out of a total 206 bottles, only seven went without a buyer, the equivalent of just over 3% of lots available. It seems buyers will never tire of this mythical island.

 

LEADING BRANDS

#BOTTLES/FSA#10

HAMMER PRICE/LOW ESTIMATE

HAMMER PRICE/HIGH ESTIMATE

ARDBEG

45 (post-2000 bottl.)

+44%

-12%

BOWMORE

17 (post-2000 bottl. exc. 1)

+37%

-25%

BUNNAHABHAIN

19 (post-2000 bottl.)

+26%

-48%

BRUICHLADDICH

21 (post-2000 bottl.) (3 bottles unsold, not included)

+19%

-63%

CAOL ILA

8 (post-2000 bottl. exc. 1) (1 bottle unsold, not included)

+46%

-10%

LAGAVULIN

16 (post-2000 bottl.)

+46%

-7%

LAPHROAIG

32 (post-2000 bottl. exc. 1) (2 bottles unsold, not included)

+33%

-30%

PORT CHARLOTTE

22 (post-2000 bottl.) (1 bottle unsold, not included)

+26%

-53%

PORT ELLEN

11 (post-2000 bottl. exc. 3)

+28%

-48%

OCTOMORE

7 (post-2000 bottl.)

+36%

-29%

 

Rum

CARONI - VELIER

Of the 21 bottles of Caroni up for auction, 19 were flying the Velier flag. Of the three main ranges available—Classic, Release and Employee—the latter fetched the highest prices per bottle. If a comparison had to be made in terms of appeal, it would be to Karuizawa’s Noh Mask range.

But the Release series saw the most dynamic growth, showing just how high the margin for progress is for these bottlings.

 

LEADING VELIER RANGES

#BOTTLES/FSA#10

HAMMER PRICE/LOW ESTIMATE

HAMMER PRICE/HIGH ESTIMATE

INCREASE

(based on 2021 average)

COMMENTS

EMPLOYEE

7

+42%

-21%

+22%

In 2021 - 8 bottles available in the October and November auctions

RELEASE

4

+53%

1%

+25%

Taking into account only the vintages 1996 and 1998.

 

Trends in the Caroni Classic range

This range is composed of limited editions aged 12 years, 15 years, 17 years and 21 years, and the 100th Anniversary edition. The Millennium magnum with no age statement can also be considered part of the range due to its packaging.

The Classic range is a hotbed of value because each expression is associated with a vintage. Looking beyond the total number of bottles produced per edition, the 15 year old is likely to move away from the 12 year old soon and come closer to the 17 year old. Prices for the 21 year old also look set to rise sharply, hitting around €700-€1,000 per bottle. But it is the Anniversary edition (18 year old, 1998) that should see the greatest change in value over the coming months.

 

CARONI CLASSIC

VELIER/Vintages

FSA JUNE 2022

#BOTTLES/FSA#10

HAMMER PRICE/LOW ESTIMATE

HAMMER PRICE/HIGH ESTIMATE

2022/2021 INCREASE

(based on 2021 average)

12 Year Old (2000) 1 bottle in April 2022

€378

0

+53%

+6%

+23%

15 Year Old (1998)

€413

1

+43%

-14%

+14%

17 Year Old (1998)

€590

1

+60%

+20%

+42%

21 Year Old (1996)

€649

1

+55%

+9%

+42%

Millennium (2000)

€1,239

1

+33%

-33%

-5%

18 Year Old 100th Anniversary (1998)

€307

1

+46%

-8%

0%

 

 

Other rums

Ferrand rums make such rare appearances in our auctions that it would be impossible not to mention them when they do. Plantation 36 Year Old 1984 Extrême No. 4 Mark MMW, also known as Clarendon, was subject to huge speculation when it was first released in 2020, fetching almost €2,000 per bottle (five times its original sale price) less than six months after it was launched. The waters have calmed a little since then and bottles generally now go for around €1,000, with more healthy and less Extrême growth expected in the future.

Another distillery on our radar is Foursquare and its limited editions of just a few thousand bottles per batch— Destino, Plenipotenziario, Principia, Sassafras, Triptych—all developed by Lucas Gargano in partnership with the distillery. The bids placed for the first edition Foursquare 10 Year Old 2006 (Limited Edition 2,400 Velier 2016), which fetched €1,250, set the tempo for later editions, especially Foursquare 14 Year Old 2003 Destino (Limited Edition 2,610 Velier 2017), which went for €779.

 

 

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