S otheby’s Whisky department is beginning this summer with the finale of one of the biggest whisky collections ever to come to auction: The Three Continents Collection. The auction features the fifth and final part of this collection, which has so far doubled its low estimate to achieve a running total of $4.4 million to date, amongst some other significant cellars.
The sale is led by some of Beam Suntory’s most prestigious output, not least a Yamazaki 55 Year Old and three 50 Year Old Bowmores, as well as a stronghold of whiskies from The Macallan. This auction offers an impressive array of whiskies from the most valuable Japanese whisky in the world, to Scotch bottles ideal for the budding collector and American whiskies dating back to the pre-prohibition era.
Bowmore Distillery on Islay provides the main highlights of the sale, with no less than three 50 Year Olds distilled in the 1960s, often considered to be the golden years of distillation at Bowmore. Distilled in 1961, 1964 and 1966, these 50 Year Olds represent some of the oldest and rarest bottles ever released by Bowmore, and capture a moment in time, where craft and patience were held with utmost importance and the results speak for themselves.
There are over 22 bottles distilled at Bowmore in the 1960s, including many from highly regarded Scottish independent bottlers such as Cadenhead’s, Signatory Vintage and Duncan Taylor.
Other highlights include sought after bottles from an array of distilleries throughout Scotland; The Macallan, Springbank, Ardbeg, The Glendronach and Laphroaig.
Scotch Whisky Highlights
Leading the sale from Japan is undoubtedly The Yamazaki 55 Year Old, the oldest and most valuable bottle of Japanese Whisky ever to come to market. The pinnacle of collectible Japanese Whisky, only 100 bottles were initially available in Japan, with 100 more released the following year for the rest of the World. This bottle comes with an extremely rare glass pack featuring branded packaging.
Elsewhere in Japan, Karuizawa provides a multitude of rare bottles, in particular the Karuizawa 50 Year Old LMDW Bourbon Cask #8636, one of the oldest ever releases from the distillery, as well as the Karuizawa Emerald Geisha Cask #8518 35 Year Old from Elixir Distillers and other vintages running all the way through to 1995.
Japanese Whisky Highlights
A multitude of the finest Rye and Bourbon whiskies from Kentucky and beyond form the backbone of this sale, dating back to 1917 - the pre-prohibition era.
Willett Distillery provides an abundance of treasures, not least LeNell’s Red Hook Rye.
LeNell’s liquor store in Red Hook, Brooklyn, selected four barrels of 1984 vintage Rye that were lying in Willet’s Warehouse G in Bardstown and bottled each without chill filtration at cask strength at 23 and 24 years old. In total, across all four of LeNell’s single barrel releases, only 852 bottles exist, making it one of the rarest American Whiskeys ever produced. We are thrilled to present LeNell’s Red Hook Rye 23 Year Old Barrel #1 alongside Barrel #2 and Barrel #3.
Also from Willett come a number of single barrel whiskies including Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Bourbon 17 Year Old "Dug'z & Willy'z, a one of a kind Willett Artist Series Set comprising 3 Willett bottlings with back label art and artwork by neo-pop artist Peter Tunney, and Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Bourbon 19 Year Old "Kentucky Strong" bottle no. 1 of hand selected barrel pick from the Kentucky Tornado Relief Auction 2021 which became the most expensive cask of American Whiskey ever sold.
Over 50 bottles come from the Van Winkle stable including two extremely rare decanters, the Old Rip Van Winkle 25 Year Old Decanter 1989 and Old Rip Van Winkle 23 Year Old Decanter alongside a Pappy Van Winkle Double Vertical from the 2020 and 2021 releases and a bottle of the much heralded Old Rip Van Winkle 18 Year Old Blue Smoke.
Other American Whiskey highlights come in the form of the Double Eagle Very Rare 20 Year Old, sister casks of Four Roses Single Barrel Private Selection 18 Year Old and a gallon bottle of Old Fitzgerald 6 Year Old Bottled In Bond 1965, distilled at Stitzel-Weller and complete with original cradle.