After Japan’s success in the last FSA auction, this time Scotland takes pride of place. The country’s iconic distilleries are well represented, with a large proportion of official bottlings from distilleries including Port Ellen, Macallan, Brora and Springbank. When it comes to whisky, however, other key players nonetheless also put in a valiant effort. These include Japan’s invincible Karuizawa bottlings and the Chichibu Intergalactic Series. In the rum category, Velier’s Demerara Collection and Caroni call the shots, following closely by an evermore exciting and broad collection of rhum agricoles, featuring bottlings from La Favorite, Depaz, J.M., Damoiseau and Courcelles. Mainland France also has its say with several venerable vintages of cognac and Armagnac, some dating from as far back as the late 19th century (1893), as well as some rare Chartreuses.
Scotland gets the ball rolling, with Islay at the head of the pack. So we head to Port Ellen first, with a number of bottles from Diageo’s Special Releases annual range designed to showcase the group’s finest whiskies. Save for a very rare version of Port Ellen bottled to celebrate the Queen’s visit to Islay, and a few Rare Malts, these are the only official bottlings of Port Ellen to exist.
Ardbeg also maintains a solid position with its many but no-less-popular limited editions, including Supernova, Alligator, Perpetuum, Galileo, Ardbog, Renaissance, Uigeadail and Corryvreckan.
Octomore also throws its hat in the ring, with various mind-blowing levels of peating.
Staying in the Scottish islands, Skye and Talisker don their Sunday best, revealing some very impressive vintages and ages, including a 35 year old 1977, a 20 year old 1981, and a 30 year old 2006 edition.
Macallan and Brora bring a beautiful close to proceedings with, for example, a Macallan 18 Year Old 1969 Sherry Wood from Speyside and the Brora Special Releases from between 2002 and 2013 from the Lowlands.
Not to be outdone, Japan offers some unmissable bottles of Karuizawa with a variety of profiles, some official releases, others from independent bottlers, such as the 36 Views of Mount Fuji series, Asama, and Artist #10 bottled by La Maison du Whisky.
Alongside these Karuizawa are two of the rarest bottlings from Chichibu’s Intergalactic Series, Edition 1 and 2, both now impossible to find.
Adding the finishing touches to the selection of whiskies on offer, America brings us bottlings from the Antique Collection, a number of Blanton’s single casks and a rare version of Parker’s Heritage Collection.
This edition’s selection of rums is beautifully headed up by some rare Velier bottlings, including the Caroni annual releases and a trilogy bottled to celebrate La Maison du Whisky’s 60th anniversary, as well as examples from the Demerara Collection. Four bottles from this legendary series are available, Diamond, UF30E, Enmore and Port Mourant, all reflections of a time when Velier had direct access to the cellars of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) in Guyana.
A number of increasingly sought-after French rums are also worthy of note, with J.M., Depaz, La Favorite, Damoiseau, Courcelles, Trois-Rivières and Neisson all represented.
France also stands out for its selection of very old cognacs and Armagnacs, with several bottles from pre-Phylloxera vines. Finally, Chartreuse also flies the flag with its Épiscopale du Troisième Millénaire bottling released in 2000.