Letting go #2: Pack Attack!!

Following on from Part 1, ‘letting go’ continues in earnest. It’s full steam ahead with the planning, preparation and packing to meet the whisky auction deadline in just three days time.

Vallein Tercinier

I manage just four hours of sleep the two previous nights combined, yet tonight I’m wide awake at 4am, no doubt due to my obsessive drive to get everything ready in time. Lack of sleep results in clumsiness the next day. Glen Mhor 1970 25yo C&C cask #1164:1166 [1926 bts] 45%After deciding to keep the [WLP] Vallein Tercinier Lot 65 [see photo above], I place it back on the shelf just before the hatch door swings into my forehead [again!], causing me to drop the cognac. I watch it collide into two other bottles – a single cask 30yo Highland Park and a 1969 Glen Mhor – sending all three [un-boxed] bottles clattering into each other like skittles, falling side-on onto the metal shelves before rolling onto the hard stone floor. Incredibly no damage is done. Later that day, I reverse my car into the garage with the boot door open, doh! Week upon frantic week of clearing, organising, advertising, wrapping, selling, planning [my pilgrimage to Scotland],… was taking its toll. It is of no surprise that I slept for 22 hours straight after dropping off my bottles at Whiskyauctioneer, but more on that later. I was still in full preparation mode.

AUCTION PREPARATION PONDERINGS

Having never sold a bottle of whisky before, working out what to keep and what to let go was linked to years of observational research over what would sell and at what price. Over the years, I’ve observed just how many buzz-hyped whiskies have quickly reached their price-shelf limits before tailing off. Highland Park’s Viking collection, GlenMo or Ardbeg Day’s latest cask-finished release, Diageo’s GOT, Feis Ile & Show exclusives, [Ralfy/The Bible/World Whisky Award/IWSC] award winners,… for example, will shoot up in price and sustain for a bit only to drop then stabilise, much like we’ve seen with Daftmill and now Bimber. For whatever reason, this summer, a 3yo Bimber has been fetching – at auction – the same money as an 11th release Brora, two 1964 Glenlochy’s or three G&M 1966 Balblair’s [as it shall turn out]! Absurd as it is, whiskies like these will reach their limit all too quickly, and as the days & weeks pass, the buzz and subsequent price will soon subside. We shall see many peeps left with very costly young average whisky collections. Others will be left with Banff, Brora’s & Bowmore’s, or alternatively, kitchen extensions, motorbikes, or a holiday they’ll never forget.

6 Karuizawa flightWhilst we whisky enthusiasts have witnessed the secondary value of hype-established prized bottles [Karuizawa, Macallan, Port Ellen, Bowmore.. ] launch into deep space, the majority of everyday whiskies remain within the £20-70 price-bracket. In my view, many of the real gems – 1960-70s [closed] distillery bottlings – remain consistently at the £200-400 mark. Plenty of room then, for the [very] occasional ‘special’ purchase.

Chateau Mukhrani Chacha

Whilst a significant number of prized bottles in my collection are soon to be sent on their merry way [without too much deliberation], many of the bottles I’ve kept back are the weird/singular ones, one’s that won’t make much noise at auction but are far more valued and personal to me. Mezcalosfera Tobala 2017For example, a single cask Fettercairn [one of my TWE highlights in 2016 WB]; a characterful 17yo SMWS Auchentoshan [WB] that I discovered one quiet afternoon in Greville Street; a few Inchgower’s [a special 20cl DL bottling that I bought at Vintage House in Soho, only to buy three more of the next day]; Georgian Chacha [amazing stuff: WLP]; freaky mind-bending [best in show] Mezcalosfera Tobala [WLP91, see photo]; a single cask DL OMC Glen Mhor I shall open one day [WB]; a 1973 Glenlivet [tssk, still no little love for Scott’s at the moment WB]…. as well as a fair few vintage Balblair’s that are still largely under-appreciated and under-valued despite the recent price hike for the official age-statement releases. Then there are many of my old grain whiskies from the 1960s and 70s that I’m not prepared to see go for such under-appreciated prices. I do wonder about the bottles that don’t/can’t/won’t reach decent prices in this uber-buoyant whisky climate though. If not now, then when? “Buyer beware, buyer take care”, as Ralfy often reminds us.

____________________________

It’s the penultimate day before I leave for Scotland. Friday 10th July [2020] sees me list-checking, rattle testing, and sealing up. The bottles I’ve been able to let go and are heading to auction are as follows:

  • Ardbeg 5yo [2020] Ob. Wee Beastie 47.4%
  • Ardbeg 2005/2018 13yo Ob. Feis Ile 2018 cask #1321 [btl #343/543] 56.4% [WLP]Balblair 1978
  • Balblair 2000/2014 14yo Ob. for TWE sherry cask #1343 53%
  • Balblair 2000/2015 Ob. bourbon cask #1350 [168 bts] 57.9%
  • Balblair 1993/2014 21yo GM cask #1962 53.4%
  • Balblair 1990/2012 Ob. Gathering Place Islay Cask #1463 [150 bts] 54.1%
  • Balblair 1990/2013 23yo Ob. Islay Cask #1466 [138 bts] 50.4%
  • Balblair 1978/2008 30yo Ob. 46%
  • Balblair 1969/2008 G&M 43%
  • Balblair 1966/2004 38yo Ob. [btl #2622/2400] 44%
  • Balblair 1966/2006 40yo G&M 43%
  • Benriach 1987/2012 24yo Highlander Inn cask #5711 [257 bts] 52% 
  • Bladnoch 1989/2019 30yo Cadenhead Sherry Cask [144 bts] 40.8%]
  • Brora 1981/2003 22yo SV sherry cask #1635 [btl #716/806] 46% 
  • Bunnahabhain 1990/2013 22yo The Whisky Chamber ‘Christmas Malt’ Sherry hogshead #54/1990 [229 bts] 53.2% [50cl]
  • Bunnahabhain 1987 26yo Archives ‘Fishes of Samoa’ Cask #2557 [#191/233 bts] 50.2%
  • Bunnahabhain 1984/2003 Scott’s Selection 57.5%
  • Bunnahabhain 1979 25yo First Cask #11890 [183 bts] 46%
  • Bunnahabhain 1972/2012 40yo HoM Golden Cask CM184 [346 bts] 44.6%
  • Bunnahabhain 1968/2011 42yo Whisky-Fassle single cask 43.8%
  • Bunnahabhain 1963/1997 Ob 43%
  • Caol Ila [2014] Cl6 SMS ‘Elements of islay’ 61.2% [50cl]
  • Clynelish 1995/2013 17yo SV sherry butt #12794 [622 bts] 56.2%  
  • Clynelish 1984/2014 29yo SMWS 26.106 ‘Say it with flowers’ [586 bts] 58%
  • Daftmill 2008/2019 Ob. Summer Batch Release UK [1760 bts] 46%
  • Dalmunach 2016/2020 Ob./DT for Tyndrum Sherry Octave #10825885 [102 bts] 54%
  • Glen Albyn 1975/2002 26yo Ob. Rare Malts [6000 bts] 54.8%
  • Glendronach 15yo [2013/14] Ob. Revival 46%glendronach-1991-glendronach-1992
  • Glendronach 1994/2013 19yo Ob. cask #67 [btl #443/625] 56.8%
  • Glendronach 1992/2013 21yo Ob. cask #145 Batch 8 [145 bts] 58.1% 
  • Glendronach 1991/2013 21yo Ob. cask #5409 Batch 8 [btl #82/716 bts] 49.8%
  • [Glenesk] Hillside 1969/1995 25yo Ob. Rare Malts 61.9% [20cl] [WLP87]
  • Glen Grant 25yo G&M ’Highland malt’ 40%
  • Glen Grant 1936 G&M 40%
  • [Glengyle] Kilkerran 8yo [2019] Ob. CS [15000 bts] 57.1%
  • Glen Mhor 16yo SV ceramic 43%
  • Glen Mhor 1969 Campbell & Clark cask 1407/1409 [#1500/2265 bts] 45%
  • Glenmorangie 1993/2012 19yo Ob. Ealanta [4500 bts] 46%
  • Glenturret 1986/2018 31yo Cadenhead single cask [210 bts] 44.5% [WLP188 WLP288]
  • Glenugie 1980/2011 30yo Chivas Brothers 52.13%
  • Highland Park 30yo [btl 2013] Ob. 45.7%Imperial 1995
  • Imperial 1995/2014 18yo SV sherry hogshead #50143 & 50144 51.9%
  • Imperial 1995 18yo Signatory Vintage cask #50282 & 83] 46%
  • Inchgower 1975/2011 35yo Whisky Fair [224 bts] 41.9%
  • Inverleven 1973/2011 37yo Ob. Chivas Brothers 49%
  • Kilchoman 2008 6yo SMWS 129.6 [243 bts] 58.9%
  • [Ladyburn] Rare Ayrshire 1975/2013 37yo SV cask #3423 [177 bts] 49.8%
  • Lagavulin 12yo [2011] Ob. ‘11th Release’ 57.5%
  • Lagavulin 12yo [2015] Ob. ‘15th Release’ 56.8%Laphroaig 10yo (2009) Ob. CS Batch 001 57.8%
  • Laphroaig 10yo Cask Strength Batch 2 [2010] 58.3%
  • Laphroaig 10yo Cask Strength Batch 6 [2014] 58%
  • Laphroaig 18yo [New label 2013+]Ob. 48%
  • Linkwood 25yo [2015] G&M 43%
  • Linkwood 1990/2014 24yo Adelphi cask #3535 [294 bts] 57.5%
  • Linkwood 1972/1995 22yo Ob. ‘Rare malts selection’ 59.3%
  • Littlemill 1991/2007 16yo DL OMC #3840 [332 bts] 50%
  • Lochside 1991/2010 19yo DL OMC #6553 [315 bts] 50%
  • Lochside 1981/2011 30yo BBR cask #777 46%
  • Lochside 1965/2012 47yo Adelphi [single blend] cask #6779 [552 bts] 54.6%Port Ellen 1979:2007 28yo Ob. 7th release 54.7%
  • Macallan 1995/2013 18yo Ob. 43%
  • Port Ellen 1978 27yo Ob. 6th release 54.3% [X2]
  • Port Ellen 1979/2007 28yo Ob. 7th release 54.7% [WLP91]
  • Port Ellen 1982/2010 28yo Ian Macleod Dun Bheagan hogshead #1516 [252 bts] 50%
  • Port Ellen 1976/1998 21yo SV cask #4757 [264 bt] 55.2%
  • Port Ellen 1976/2003 23yo Wilson & Morgan cask #6769 46%
  • Port Ellen 1974 G&M Connoisseur Choice 40%
  • Speyside Distillery 2000/2015 15yo Whiskybroker cask #2380 [btl #62/288] 50.3%
  • Springbank 2004/2019 14yo Cadenhead Warehouse Tasting [first fill sherry] 54.4%Longrow 2005 13yo Springbank Open Day 58.7%
  • [Springbank] Longrow 2005/2018 13yo Ob. Open Day 2018 [1096 bts] 58.7% WLP187 WLP287
  • [St Magdalene] Linlithgow 1982/2011 28yo Van Wees ‘The Ultimate’, Rare Reserve cask #11/75 [284 bts] 46%
  • Strathisla 1965/2012 47yo G&M 43%
  • Talisker 25yo 1980/2005 [bottle #04964/15600] 57.2%
  • Teaninich 17yo [2001] Ob. Manager’s Dram [refill cask] 58.3%
  • Teaninich 1978 19yo Ian Macleod ‘Chieftain’s Choice’ 43%
  • Tomintoul 1976 18yo First Cask #7351 [184 bts] 46%

SINGLE GRAINS

  • Caledonian 1986 26yo SMWS ‘Curious but Good’ G3.3 56%Carsebridge 1965 45yo HL
  • Carsebridge 1982/2016 33yo The Grainman cask #74681 [252 bts] 42.6%
  • Carsebridge 1979/2008 29yo DT cask #33032 [175 bts] 56%
  • Garnheath 1974/2015 41yo DL XOP cask #11029 [141 bts] 48.9%
  • Girvan 1965 45yo Clan Denny [Cask HH6276] 47.3%
  • Invergordon 1972 43yo Burn’s Malt Cask #1300000003 49.9%
  • North of Scotland 1972 37yo HH Clan Denny cask #5768 50.6%
  • North of Scotland 1972 36yo Dream Drams 51.1%
  • [North of Scotland] Strathmore 1972/2015 [32yo*] Rest & Be Thankful [621 bts] 47.2%
  • North of Scotland 1971/2014 42yo Gordon & Company Pearls of Scotland [290 bts] 44%
  • Strathclyde 1988/2015 27yo Whiskybroker cask #62121 [154 bts] 54.8%

BLENDS, VATTED & UNDISCLOSED MALTSBellows

  • Bellows & Company ‘Choicest Liqueur Blended Scotch Whisky’ 1930’s Portal, Dingwall & Norris 4/5 quart 86 US proof [WLP]
  • Compass Box ‘The General’ [btl #187/1698] 53.4%
  • Compass Box Hedonism
  • Compass Box ‘The Lost Blend’ [2014] Blended malt [12018 bts] 46%
  • Oishii Wisukii 36yo [2016] Small batch #2 blend Highlander Inn 51.1%

AMERICAN/CANADIAN

  • Bourbon Whiskey 24yo [2018] TBWC Batch #1 [btl #1056/8376] 48% [50cl] [WLP]
  • Old Rip Van Winkle 10yo ‘107 proof’ 53.5%
  • Thomas H Handy 2005/2011 6yo Rye Whiskey [128.6 proof] 64.3% 

JAPANESE

  • Chita 12yo [2015] Ob. 43%karuizawa-twins
  • Hanyu 2000/2014 Speciality cask #921 57.6%
  • Karuizawa 1999-2000/2012 Ob. ‘Asama’ 46%
  • Karuizawa ‘Spirit of Asama’ [2012] Ob. 55%
  • Karuizawa 1991/2013 22yo SMWS 132.2 [335 bts] 62.4%
  • Karuizawa 29yo 2014 Ob. ‘Geisha Twin Label’ Bourbon cask #8897 53.9%
  • Karuizawa 1980/2015 35yo Ob. ‘The Golden Samurai’ 61.6%
  • Ootori 15yo [Karuizawa/Kawasaki] Mercian 40%
  • Shinshu Mars ‘Karuizawa Club’ blend 39% [72cl] 
  • Yamazaki Cask Collection ‘Sherry’ [2013] Ob. 48%

WORLD

  • [Bushmills] Irish Reserve 26yo [2017] Aldi 40% [WLP187/WLP286]
  • [Cooley] Greenore 18yo [2010] Ob. [4000 bts] 46%
  • Cooley 1992/2019 11yo [26yo] Cadenhead Malts Festival ‘Big Tasting’ single cask 53.4% [WLP89]

OTHERCaroni 15

  • Cadenhead’s Caribbean Rum 08/06/2018 living cask 59.9%
  • Caroni 1998/2013 15yo ‘Extra strong’ Velier 52% [WLP]
  • Castarede 1979 Ob. Bas Armagnac 40%
  • Chateau Lafitte VSOP [1920’s] Ob. Grande Fine Champagne no abv stated [1 pint, 5.4 fluid ounces – 72cl]
  • Pierre Le Duc 1978 Armagnac-Tenareze Aldi 40% [50cl]
  • Vallein Tercinier ‘Lot 65’ [2015] Cognac, Grande Champagne 46%

Boxed up, they look like this:

By letting go of my most secondary market-valued bottles, I renounce the burden of guardianship, relinquish the fear of damaging/breaking a bottle [not that I ever have], and perhaps even free my addiction to stockpiling. I’m happy to keep some of the more obscure bottles that I value, bottles that I can actually open out of curiosity without opportunity-cost deliberations first.

As a result, I foresee my subsequent whisky journey taking a turn for the better. No chasing the holy grail or the next new thing, no buying on [long-term] ‘rainy day’ speculative hunches, though I’m sure the odd bottle will still prove irresistible [Chichibu, Ardnamurchan,… as it happens]. Rather than buying to keep/hoard, now when I buy a [/an affordable] bottle, I can open it immediately and enjoy it. I’ll now engage with whisky to drink, whisky to share.

Subsequently, I now join the group wishing for the whisky bubble to burst, to see all those golden liquid treasures I have let go, flood back onto the market at deflated prices, available for repurchase by those to wish to drink the stuff. Pondering further, perhaps the bubble won’t burst? Perhaps the whisky environment will slowly deflate over time to the point where we gradually realise there is an over-abundance of quality [old & rare] whisky and that we have more than enough bottles already, more than we can ever drink? Perhaps we shall realise we have plenty of everything we want and not enough of what we need?

_________________________________

On Friday 10th July, 115 bottles went into boxes. On Saturday 11th, the camper was loaded [left, right, and centre], and by late evening on Sunday 12th, I was in Scotland.

Scotland sign

There was, however, one wee event in-between those occurrences. It was SWAG’s virtual & literal meetup, the first of its kind – up next.

 

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END

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2 thoughts on “Letting go #2: Pack Attack!!

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