Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fancy Drinking Liquor Up For Auction at Christie's

Christie’s will be selling off a choice haul of rare spirits at November 14 auction. There will be more than 40 lots of whisky, bourbon, cognac, armagnac, and rum for those who have the scratch, including items from the cellar at the Park Avenue Liquor Shop.

Spirits sales are relatively rare in the high-end auctions, which are typically the province of fine wines. For a long time, New York State had a law that forbid the auctioning of spirits. By contrast, spirits have been auctioned in Europe and England for many years. That New York law was struck down in 2007, and Christie's was the first to step up with a curated auction of spirits, in December of that year. (It was, in fact, the first liquor auction in New York since Prohibition began in 1920.) The coming event is only Christie's second such auction.

Among the items on offer is 1964 Bowmore Trilogy (pictured above) direct from the Bowmore distillery in Scotland. This is made up of the newly-released Gold Bowmore, White Bowmore (released in 2008) and Black Bowmore
(released in 2007).

From the venerable Park Avenue Liquor Shop comes some more fine and rare single malts, including 55-year-old Macallan in a specially-designed Lalique crystal decanter (estimate: $11,000-$15,000) and a Glenfarclas 50-year-old, bottled from a
1955 distilled single cask (estimate: $4,800-$6,000). Also on the block will be a limited-edition Hardy Perfection Cognac in an engraved Daum crystal decanter ($5,500-$7,000); a millennium bottling of Armagnac from Baron de Sigognac that was allowed to mature for nearly a century (estimate: $2,000-$3,000); and three lots of Distiller’s Masterpiece 18-year-old Kentucky Bourbon, a collaboration between Jim Beam’s grandson and master distiller Booker Noe and master Cognac blender Alain Royer (estimate: $500-$800 per bottle).

Another choice artifact is a ceramic demijohn (1 imperial gallon) of British Imperial Rum pot-distilled in Jamaica and sourced from the final stores of the Royal Navy (estimate: $4,500-$6,000). I personally would love to sample that.

The total sale of wine and spirits includes over 800 lots and is expected to realize in excess of $2.1 million.

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