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A complete collection of Black Bowmore whiskies sold for US$563,000 at a Sotheby’s sale, setting a new record for the Scotch brand at auction.
Sotheby’s Hong Kong held its Wine & Spirit Spring Sale Series last weekend (16-18 April), headlined by the Black Bowmore Archive Cabinet. The collection surpassed its sale estimate of US$500,000 (HK$4,000,000/ £400,000).
The three-day sale concluded with a total value of HK$119.5 million/ US$15.4m, surpassing the pre-sale high estimate of HK$95m/ US$12m.
Adam Bilbey, head of Sotheby’s Wine & Spirits, Asia and Europe, said: “No doubt the star of the show was the Black Bowmore Archive Cabinet, a truly exceptional one-of-a-kind work marrying whisky and design which stopped visitors in their tracks during our sales preview.
“From wine to spirits, we are seeing an increasing number of passionate younger collectors with sophisticated tastes entering the fray, willing to go up against more established collectors in their pursuit of the very best the market has to offer.
“We look forward to an exciting single-owner sale in May with details to be announced soon.”
The Bowmore collection went under the hammer on 18 April as part of Sotheby’s Rare Whisky & Moutai Live sale.
All proceeds raised from the Black Bowmore sale will go to community-based charity the Islay Development Initiative (IDI).
Jessica Spence, president of brands at Bowmore owner Beam Suntory, said: “We are incredibly proud that this auction has cemented Bowmore as such a highly prized single malt amongst collectors and whisky enthusiasts around the world, who appreciate its craftsmanship and heritage.”
The Black Bowmore Archive Cabinet comprises 29-year-old, 30-year-old, 31-year-old, 42-year-old and 50-year-old whiskies.
Black Bowmore was initially released in 1993 as a 29-year-old, followed by the release of a 30-year-old and 31-year-old over the next two years. It was also part of a trilogy in 2007, while a 50-year-old bottling was unveiled in 2016 as the final cask.
Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s spirits specialist, said: “The exceptional result for The Black Bowmore Archive Cabinet is a fitting testament not only to the concept and attention to detail of what is an extraordinary work of art, but also to the esteem with which collectors revere Black Bowmore.
“Steeped in history, these five whiskies transcend the concept of collectible whisky, their richly nuanced character and undeniable quality having attained legendary status over the years since their first release.”
The Rare Whisky & Moutai Live sale reached a total of HK$12.8m/ US$1.6m, with all but one lot sold.
Highlights of the sale included a bottle of The Macallan The Red Collection 50 Year Old, released as part of the six-bottle Red Collection in 2020. It sold for HK$687,500/ US$88,500 (estimate: US$64,500-US$90,000).
Sotheby’s said there was a strong representation of Japanese whisky at the auction, with Karuizawa MMA Gold Winners 10 Bottle Set selling for HK$937,500/ US$120,700 (estimate: US$84,000-US$116,000).
An ‘exceedingly rare’ 25-litre Centenary Special Edition Moutai 2015 sold for HK$437,500/ US$56,300 (estimate: US$23,000-US$33,500).