A 1937 bottle of Scotch whisky sold for $71,700 at a London auction today.
The bottle of 75-year-old single malt from the Glenfiddich Rare Collection was estimated at 50,000 pounds ($77,900) to 70,000 pounds, excluding fees at Christie’s International’s sale of wines and spirits. Its final price to a telephone bidder was 46,000 pounds including fees.
The auction comes a day after Diageo Plc (DGE) said it will spend 1 billion pounds on whisky production over the next five years, to meet growing demand from Asia, Latin America and other emerging markets. Diageo’s Johnnie Walker House, which opened in Shanghai in May 2011, sells bottles of its super-deluxe Scotch for $3,000 a bottle.
“Bottles of the rarest whiskies have at least doubled over the last two years,” Chris Munro, Christie’s London-based head of wine, said in an interview. “The whisky doesn’t get drunk. This is an international collectors’ market. The recent price rises have also drawn in different people who are thinking purely about investment.”
The London auction’s 64-lot whisky section also included a “Trilogy” of 1964 Bowmore “Black,” “White” and “Gold” single malts matured in contrasting wooden casks, estimated at 12,000 pounds to 15,000 pounds. The Bowmore sold for 13,800 pounds.
An 1850 bottle of Bowmore single malt sold for a record 29,000 pounds at the Glasgow auctioneer McTear’s in 2007.
On March 15, a bottle of Glenfiddich’s 1957 Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve sold for a record $94,000 at a charity auction in New York.
Christie’s Glenfiddich is one of 61 bottles of a 1937 whisky taken out of the cask in 2001. The Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve -- named in honor of the 110th birthday of the granddaughter of the distillery’s founder -- was even rarer, being one of only 11 bottles. It was bought by the Atlanta-based real-estate developer and whisky collector Mahesh Patel.
(Scott Reyburn writes about the art and wine markets for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)
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