Results released by Christie’s show why 2018 may go down as the year when whiskies went mainstream in the fine wine auction market.
Whiskies made up four of the top seven wine and spirits lots auctioned by Christie’s globally in 2018, in US dollar terms.
Top lot for the year was the record-breaking The Macallan 1926, 60 Year Old single malt Scotch, which sold for $1.5 million (£1.2m) at a London auction in November.
In fourth and fifth place were The Macallan 50 Year Old, in a Lalique bottle, and The Yamazaki 50 Year Old, both fetching $181,440 (£144,000), shows a Christie’s list released to Decanter.com.
Another single malt Scotch, Springbank 1919 50 Year Old, came seventh in the rankings, selling for $166,320 (£132,000).
All had a scarcity value, with Christie’s listing the Springbank as one of 24 bottles, The Macallan 50 as ‘bottle 343 of 470’ and The Yamazaki 50 as one of 150 bottles.
Which other lots made the Christie’s 2018 top 10 list?
DRC’s Romanée-Conti 1988 dominated the rest of the Christie’s top 10 list. Two 12-bottle lots of the renowned Burgundy Pinot came second and third; the highest price being $362,880 (£288,000). A six-bottle lot of the same wine came sixth in the ranking, selling for $166,320 (£132,000).
In 8th, 9th and 10th position respectively were:
12 bottles of Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux 1999, which sold for $136,955;
12 bottles of Latour 1945, which sold for $135,600;
12 bottles of DRC Montrachet 1986, which sold for $120,960 (£96,000).
Rare whiskies on the rise
The Christie’s ranking underlined a rise to prominence for collectible, aged whiskies at auction. Christie’s rival Sotheby’s also reported on a ‘surge’ in interest last year.
The auction market for rare whiskies was valued at £36 million in the UK alone in 2018, according to valuation and consultancy service Rare Whisky 101.
However, it also warned of fakes ‘infiltrating’ the market, especially bottlings purportedly pre-dating the 20th Century.