Amid the surge in demand for collectible whisky, Sotheby’s will offer The Timeless Whisky Collection – the highest value whisky collection ever to be presented in a standalone auction in the US. Comprising 497 lots, and with a pre-sale estimate of $1.6 to $2.1 million, the collection will be offered by Sotheby’s in New York on 23 September, with advance bidding open from Friday, 9 September.
Built over years by an unnamed dedicated collector in California, The Timeless Whisky Collection boasts thirty bottles that exceed 50 Years of age and a staggering fifty-three magnums, led by The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection (est. $400,000-580,000), which comes with a bespoke display platform and an exclusive experience offered directly from Lalique.
Together with The Macallan, the collection is also represented by Bowmore, Highland Park, Glen Grant, Tamdhu, Glenfarclas, Fettercairn, Glen Mhor, Glenglassaugh, Loch Lomond, Linkwood and The Glenlivet.
Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Head of Whisky & Spirits, North America and EMEA, said: “The Timeless Whisky Collection showcases everything that collectors look for in whisky, from high value, highly aged bottles, to limited outturn and large format independent bottlings. When we first started working on this collection, we were stunned by its scale and value, so we knew we would have to do something special in bringing it to auction. This is why we chose to commission the exquisite burr oak display platform for The Macallan Six Pillars Collection and worked directly with Lalique to offer an experience. The appearance of a collection of this magnitude sets yet another benchmark in the whisky auction market.”
The collector himself welcomed Sotheby’s Whisky team to his house in Los Angeles to perform an inspection. While wishing to remain anonymous, he said: “Whisky has been a passion of mine for many years. While I collect many things, cars, watches and art included, whisky has always been something that has held my attention. I will be sad to part with this collection, but it felt like the time was right for it to find a new home. I have still held back some of my favorite bottles to enjoy over the next few years.”
A recent wave of highly aged whiskies at auction have commanded exceptional prices, as age in the world of whisky collecting has become synonymous with rarity, due to the fact that not many barrels in bonded warehouses in Scotland make it to the age of 50 due to the rate of alcohol evaporation.
Jonny Fowle explains: “Behind age statement is the vintage of a whisky, and, unlike rare wines, vintage is not always declared in whisky as it would require every element of the whisky that goes into the bottle to be from the same year of distillation. The Scotch Whisky industry’s tendency to vat whiskies from different barrels together to achieve their final assemblage means that often whiskies are built using casks from multiple vintages. This collection showcases a huge number of whiskies that proudly bear a single vintage statement.”
The headlining lot is The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection, which was released over a decade, between 2005 and 2016. An exclusive series of limited-edition decanters, each release represents the marriage and mastery of spirit distilling and artistic crystal craftsmanship. The collection celebrates the foundation stones upon which the distinctive character of The Macallan and the distillery’s creation of its rich spirit are built, including Exceptional Oak Casks and Curiously Small Stills. Every decanter encases some of the rarest and oldest Macallan single malt whiskies in the world, ranging between fifty and sixty- five years old.
Sotheby’s also commissioned a bespoke display platform made of Burr Elm by Anselm Fraser Design for the auction. The wood itself is from a Scottish Elm tree which fell at the beginning of the 1980s and had been used as the bar top in a private residence in Scotland for the last two decades, before being reclaimed and re-designed for this collection. The lot is also supported by Lalique, with an offer of a unique experience to the winning bidder and their guest to stay at Villa Rene Lalique in Alsace and dine at their two Michelin Star restaurant.