FSA #4 RAREST OF THE RAREST - OVERVIEW

With each new edition, new surprises!

Situations that haven’t changed for several months in some categories, such as rhum agricole, have finally seen new developments, thanks to outsiders shaking up the established order. Segments, like Ireland and the US, in the Whisky/Whiskey category are gaining ground with bottlings from the last century, showing a glimpse of the French market’s potential, as well as a possible generational split. Lastly, Japanese whisky continues its growth spurt.

 

RHUM AGRICOLE SNOWBALLS

Bellevue, Bernus, Domaine de Séverin, Depaz, Courville, Barbancourt and Montebello... this edition of Fine Spirits Auction introduced many bottlings of rhum agricole distilled in the 70s and 80s. These rums produced in French distilleries have almost never been seen in our auctions and, for some, are practically non-existent in the European auction market altogether. These newcomers have put the rhum agricole category back on the map after a somewhat quiet 2021. Among these new names, these were some of the most impressive results:

 

  • BERNUS 1977 Oak barrels, winning bid €1,400*

(estimate €500 - €1,000)

 

  • COURVILLE 1975 Réserve Spéciale des Héritiers, winning bid €1,150*

(estimate €300 - €800)

 

  • BELLEVUE 1980 Aged in oak barrels, winning bid €660*

                (estimate €120 - €250)

 

  • DEPAZ 1979 Plantations de la Montagne Pelée, winning bid €400*

(estimate €250 - €500)

 

  • BIELLE Paul Rameau, winning bid €232*

(estimate €10 - €30)      

 

  • MONTEBELLO 1982 Aged in oak barrels, winning bid €210*

(estimate €120 - €250) 

 

  • BARBANCOURT 15 Years Réserve du Domaine D&C Import, winning bid €72*

(estimate €40 - €90)

 

The bottles regularly seen on FSA also benefited from this energy, enabling some to see their prices soar or attract a winning bid for the first time.

 

  • CLÉMENT 1952 Domaine de l'Acajou, winning bid €1,000*, last winning bid: May 2021 €750

 

  • BALLY 1966 Plantations Lajus du Carbet, winning bid €440* : this vintage was put up for auction twice in 2021 without attracting any bids. The three bottles presented in this edition all received a winning bid between €400 and €440. Note that bidders are very sensitive to the bottle’s condition. The same phenomenon was seen for the J. BALLY 1975, which went this time for its upper estimate of €420.

 

  • M. 1984, winning bid €1,250*, last winning bid: August 2021 €750.

 

  • TROIS RIVIÈRES 1953 winning bid €850*. Although the price is still a little low for this vintage, it was notable in this last auction for the two bottles presented finding a buyer (€850) after previously being ignored in late 2021. The recent interest in this vintage on the European auction market suggests a price rise and repositioning are likely in the near future due to the low number of bottles found at auction since 2020.

 

Other rum results, first appearances on FSA:

 

  • Albion 1986 Full Proof Barrels AW - Cask No. 10546 Velier, winning bid €5,100*
  • Caroni 1974 Full Proof Stock of 7 drums Velier, winning bid €4,900*
  • Port Mourant 1975 Full Proof Barrels PM Velier winning bid €4,100*

 

 

 

JAPANESE WHISKY—SKY’S THE LIMIT?

Given their eloquence, it would be impossible not to mention the results from the handful of Karuizawa up for auction in this edition. First up was the 1967 vintage and Cask #6426 bottled in 2009 with two labels, one for the French market (LMDW) and the other for the British market (TWE 10th Anniversary). While the British version has always been pre-eminent over the French version because of its label, the French version has never been far behind when it comes to price increases. And, so, just a few days apart, these two versions were sold at auction. The French version on FSA and the British version on a European site. In both cases, a year had passed since the bottle’s last appearance at auction, with both fetching almost €15,000 in these previous sales. The British bottling just set a new record with 231% growth, vs. just 143% for the French version (!), suggesting the latter will soon fall in line with its neighbour on the other side of the Channel.

Another Karuizawa:

 

  • Karuizawa 1981 Vintage Single Cask No.103, winning bid €8,800*, last winning bid: Feb 2022 €4,500.

 

  • Karuizawa 1981 Noh Label Sherry Butt No. 155, winning bid €9,000*, last winning bid: Feb 2022 €8,600.

 

  • Karuizawa 1994 Noh Label Sherry Butt No. 270, winning bid €6,900*, last winning bid: March 2021 €2,900.

 

Yamazaki 1993 The Elephant took a little break in its rise and seems to have stabilized (with a slight drop between April and July 2022) at around €20,000 per bottle, with a massive increase last April, boosted by bottle #2’s result right at the start of 2022 on a European site (170% increase in three months).

 

Honourable results for the two Hanyu 1988 Big Butt and Nice Butt, with €4,700 and €4,800 respectively; no previous benchmark exists for these products in France.

A nice result for Yoichi 1987 WWA, which achieved a new record of €4,000 per bottle, versus €3,000 just a year ago. Finally, a great surprise for Chichibu Sushi - Soul Cask No. 609, which went for €1,800, the highest bid ever achieved for a Chichibu since FSA began.

 

IRELAND & THE UNITED STATES, A GENERATIONAL SPLIT?

This selection of Irish and American whiskeys was bold to say the least and reflects the French market’s energy in these two segments in the last century. In the US, whether it was official bottlings like Eagle Rare, Old Grand Dad, Maker’s Mark, or Jack Daniel’s, or independent bottlings like Kentucky Vintage, Rowan’s Creek or Johnny Drum, none failed to make an impression on the generation of enthusiasts and collectors who began collecting whiskies in the 80s and 90s. The same goes for Irish whiskey.

 

  • Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Prentice Company, winning bid €660*

(estimate €400 - €800)

 

  • Old Grand Dad 114 Barrel Proof, winning bid €450*

(estimate €180 - €350)

 

  • Rowan's Creek Batch QBC No. E-27-87 Auxil, winning bid €191*

(estimate €30 - €60)

 

  • Old Overholt Gouin Import, winning bid €85*

(estimate €70 - €150)

 

  • Jameson 1780 Special Reserve 12 Year Old, Simon Frères Import, winning bid €110*

(estimate €50 - €120)

 

 Find the report of the fourth Fine Spirits Auction 

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