Scotch Whisky: The Hollywood Collection + The Three Continents Collection Part 4
Live Auction: 10 May 2022 • 10:00 AM EDT • New York

Scotch Whisky: The Hollywood Collection + The Three Continents Collection Part 4 10 May 2022 • 10:00 AM EDT • New York

W elcome to the largest whisky auction in Sotheby’s history. In the last few years Sotheby’s presented the most valuable whisky collection of all time and achieved the highest price for any whisky bottle at auction. We now are now pleased to present this sale of over 1,000 lots made up exclusively of Scotch Whisky.

The sale comprises two major collections: The Three Continents Collection Part IV, whose reputation precedes it, and introducing The Hollywood Collection.

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The Hollywood Collection

The Hollywood Collection is truly one of the most impressive ensembles of whisky to have come to auction. The Hollywood Collection is so called due to its provenance after being fortuitously acquired by a Californian entrepreneur in 2008. A large container of East Coast and MidWest-import Scotch whisky was compiled by a US whisky broker with the intention of shipping it to Los Angeles to be sold to movie industry personnel. Actors, producers and directors were all on the recipients list for these rare bottles. As the financial crash set in, orders were suddenly cancelled and this container of whisky set for Hollywood was left with nobody willing to buy.

The Hollywood Collection consignor heard about this forlorn container and immediately drove to Los Angeles to purchase the entire collection. During the 14 years that have elapsed, these bottles have been lovingly stored at his home in Sothern California, with many being consumed over this time. Picture if you will the consignor’s living room: a drinks cabinet adorned with open bottles of The Macallan Millennium Decanter, The Macallan 30 Year Old Blue Box, Glenfarclas 40 Year Old Scottish Classic and The Balvenie 50 Year Old 1937 among many others. This is a collection that has not simply been admired for its impressive scale, but has been consumed and enjoyed to the fullest extent.

Here are some highlights from the auction:

The Macallan

The Macallan Distillery needs little introduction to whisky collectors. The Macallan brand sits atop most collector’s list of most desirable bottles. Since Sotheby’s sold the inimitable Macallan Fine & Rare 1926 for $1.9m in 2019 the entire whisky market has seen an enormous uptake in new collectors and more bottles traded year on year. In this whisky auction we see some of the most interesting bottle from The Macallan stable, not least the 2015 release of The Macallan 40 Year Old, Cask 01 of The Exceptional Cask 2017 Release and The Millennium Decanter.

Below are some highlights from The Macallan that feature in this auction.

Independent Bottles

In the whisky market we tend to group Single Malt Scotch Whisky into two discreet categories: 1. Original bottlings (those which have been bottled by the distillery or brand owner); 2. Independent Bottlings (those which have been bottled by an independent company, private cask owner or négociant).

Independent bottlings in Scotland are most associated with two brands: Gordon & MacPhail and Cadenhead’s. Between these two companies they are responsible for the lion’s share of Italian independent bottlings, most notably those of Silvano Samaroli and Intertrade. While Cadenhead’s are probably most known to old and rare whisky collectors as the innovators behind the brown glass dumpy series, Gordon & MacPhail are more broadly recognised as the gatekeepers of the oldest whiskies in the world and have broken the record for the world’s oldest whisky three times in the last 10 years. In the secondary market they are largely recognised for the plethora of different distilleries they have released under their own brand, most notably through their Connoisseurs Choice range.

G&M are also widely recognised for having the foresight to both bottle highly aged single malts before the single malt category existed in earnest, and to have created brand identity for malt distilleries who did not have a product line of their own. Glen Grant, Balblair and Longmorn, for instance, all owe the origins of their single malt presence to the innovative approach of Gordon & MacPhail to whisky sales. Out of all of the “distillery labels” that G&M produced, it could be argued that Strathisla is their most recognised design, which is fitting for a distillery whose architecture is renowned to malt enthusiasts as a piece of whisky iconography defined by its pagoda chimneys.

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