Live Auction: 23 September 2022 • 10:00 AM EDT • New York

The Timeless Whisky Collection 23 September 2022 • 10:00 AM EDT • New York

T he Timeless Whisky Collection stands as the highest valued single owner whisky auction ever to take place in the USA. This collection, built over years by a dedicated collector in California and offered at Sotheby’s in New York, boasts 497 lots, not least 30 bottles that exceed 50 Years of age and a staggering 53 magnums. The sale is lead by The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection, which comes with a bespoke display platform and an exclusive experience offered directly from Lalique.

Building a collection of this magnitude is no easy feat, and something rarely seen in the whisky auction market. However, The USA still stands as the most significant nation for whisky collecting. In the past, Sotheby’s have offered four significant single owner collections that have been sourced in America, the most notable of which was The Ultimate Whisky Collection, which went on to set the record for the most valuable collection of all time when sold in London in 2019. For The Timeless Whisky Collection, Sotheby’s worked closely with consultant Mark Littler to bring these whiskies to auction.

The collector himself, an avid whisky enthusiast, welcomed the Sotheby’s Whisky team to his house in Los Angeles to perform our inspection. While wanting to remain anonymous, he was willing to provide a quote about this collection, saying

“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.”

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The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars

The result of a unique collaboration between The Macallan distillery and renowned French crystal maker Lalique, The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection was released over a decade, between 2005 - 2016. An exclusive series of limited-edition decanters, each release represents the marriage and mastery of spirit distilling and artistic crystal craftsmanship. The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars 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 in the collection is a flawless piece of crystal art encasing some of the rarest and oldest Macallan single malt whiskies in the world, ranging between fifty and sixty-five years old.

For this auction and to celebrate the significance of The Timeless Whisky Collection, Sotheby’s commissioned a bespoke display platform made of Burr Elm by Anselm Fraser Design. 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 2 decades before being reclaimed and re-designed for this collection. The lot is also supported by Lalique themselves, who will offer a unique experience to the winning bidder and their guest to stay at Villa Rene Lalique in Alsace and dine at their 2 Michelin Star restaurant.

Macallan In Lalique – Six Pillars Collection Timeline
Aged Whisky

The Timeless Whisky Collection has been so named as, while time is so significant to whisky maturation, the bottles in this auction are pieces of history suspended in time. Whisky ages in the barrel, but once in glass its age never increases. This collection showcases so many whiskies aged 50 years and above, some over 70 years old. While the time that these whiskies has matured is integral to their value, their age will never increase, while their legacies will endure.

Whiskies Exceeding 50 Years Old

There is a question that consistently occurs in whisky – does older mean better. The answer, simply is no, or at least not necessarily. However, one thing that is synonymous with age is rarity. Not many barrels in bonded warehouses in Scotland make it to the age of 50 due to the rate of alcohol evaporation (once a whiskies alcohol content drops below 40% it ceases to be classified as whisky). This rarity encourages value and the recent wave of highly aged whiskies have brought about staggering values at auction.

Vintage Bottles

Behind age statement is the vintage of a whisky. 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.

Large Format Highlights

The Timeless Whisky Collection not only features an extensive range of old and rare whiskies, but also a notably high volume of large format bottles. There are no less than 53 bottles at magnum size and above in this auction, each of which was released in highly limited numbers. This is a unique opportunity to build not only a collection of some of the most sought after whiskies on the market, but also some of the harder to find bottle sizes for spirits.

No Reserve Lots

The Timeless Whisky Collection offers the opportunity for collectors to acquire some of the rarest bottles on the market. But the collection is characterised not simply by its most valuable bottles, but also by its scale and range, featuring bottles across the collector spectrum. The following lots are sold with no reserve, giving anyone the easiest access to building a collection of their own, whether new to the whisky market or a seasoned collector.

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