'Perfect' Scotch Whisky Collection Expected to Fetch HK$70m at Online Sale

Even though this has been a volatile year for politics and economy, the whisky auction scene remained resilient as we see more and more private whisky collections hitting the auction block. In October we witnessed a new world auction record for a bottle of whisky: a rare bottle of 1926 Macallan whisky ('The Holy Grail') sold for £1.45m at Sotheby’s 'The Ultimate Whisky Collection' sale in London.

Next year we are soon going to witness what is deemed to be 'the largest private collection of whisky ever' being put up for auction. There are close to 4,000 precious whisky bottles which include two highly sought-after 60-year-old Macallans, one of which features a label designed by Italian painter Valerio Adami, and also other rarities from various distilleries that have ceased to exist. The trove is estimated to be worth £7m to £8m and they are currently being housed in the late owner's very own 'pub' that resembles more like a library.

Mind you this is not an auction in the traditional sense as the whole sale will be carried out online by a relatively new auctioneer - one would assume a collection of this scale to go through one of the more well-known global auction house giants.

Close to 4000 bottles of whisky set to hit the auction block

The collection includes two highly sought-after 60-year-old Macallans (centre and right)

Whisky Auctioneer, the Scottish firm in charge of this sale, was founded in 2013 by Mr Iain McClune and specializes in auctioning whisky online. Back then whisky auctions were still gaining traction and prices of old and rare single malt Scotch were not at the gaudy levels that we see today. The company started from a small two-room basement office in Perth, Scotland, and focused mainly on domestic Scottish whiskies sourced within the UK.

Interest in whisky soon blew up and became a global phenomenon, and the Perth-based auction house began diversifying into Irish, American, Japanese and other whiskies.

Whisky Auctioneer hosts monthly online whisky auctions for whisky collectors and aficionados. Bottles from "The Macallan Lalique Six Pillars" collection broke auction records in December last year after being sold for a collective hammer price across the four lots for close to £300,000, achieving a total value in excess of £2.6m.

The strong sales reflected clearly the thirst for whisky auctions and the growing trend of collectors sourcing for rare whiskies through the online channel. Named "The Perfect Collection by Mr. Richard Gooding", McClune stated that the American businessman's private collection is "truly one of a kind" and "its sheer scale and rarity makes it one of the most exciting discoveries in the whisky world'.

Whisky Auctioneer founder Mr. Iain McClune

Gooding's "pub" resembles a library with the hand-crafted wooden display cabinets and tartan carpets

Mr. Richard Gooding

This precious batch of whisky collection comprises mainly of single malt Scotch from famed distilleries like The Macallan, Bowmore, Springbank, to name a few. It features two highly prized 60-year-old Macallan: The Macallan 1926 60-year-old Valerio Adami label (a similar bottle set a world auction record in 2018 for the most expensive bottle of whisky sold) and The Macallan 1926 60-year-old Fine and Rare (a similar bottle is currently the title holder for The Most Expensive Bottle of Whisky Sold). All eyes will be on The Macallan 1926 60-year-old Fine and Rare next year to see if it will be able to break this year's auction record. It is currently estimated to be worth £800,000.

Often hailed as ‘The Holy Grail’ of whiskies, there are only 40 such bottles of 60-year-old Macallan whisky that Macallan has confirmed were produced from Cask 263 in 1986. Out of the 40 bottles, no one knows for sure how many are left in the world today since some are presumably consumed or lost. The whisky community mourned when one of them did not survive a 2011 earthquake in Japan. The fact that the Gooding collection includes two such bottles speaks volumes about its completeness and rarity.

The Macallan 1926 60-year-old Fine and Rare

The Macallan 1926 60-year-old Valerio Adami label

Hand-crafted wooden cabinets displaying an extensive range of The Macallan

Besides Macallans, the collection also contains bottles from some of Scotland's lost or so-called ghost distilleries, such as Stromness and Dallas Dhu. Sadly closed in 1983, the Dallas Dhu distillery used to operate in Speyside, Scotland, which also hosts other famed Scotch distilleries like Glenlivet and Glenfiddich. Its whisky is well-known for its butterscotch and spice flavours. A Dallas Dhu 1921 Single Cask 64 Year Old will make history in this upcoming online sale as none had ever been spotted before on the secondary market.


Other Highlights of the Auction:

Springbank 1919 50-year-old Scotch Whisky (one of only 24 bottles issued)|Estimate: £180,000-£220,000

Glenfiddich 1937 64-year-old Rare Collection Scotch Whisky (one of only 61 bottles yielded from the cask)|Estimate: £60,000

The Macallan 50-year-old Lalique Six Pillars Collection|Estimate: £90,000-£100,000

The late Colorado-based collector, Mr. Richard Gooding, built his "Perfect Collection" over a span of two decades. Gooding was the owner and chief executive of Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Denver, a company started by his grandfather back in 1936. It was predominantly a family business until the company was sold to PepsiCo in 1988. Mr Gooding passed away at the age of 67 in June 2014 due to skin cancer.

His wife Nancy reminisced that Mr. Gooding regularly made trips to Scotland on his private jet in search of the finest Scotch specimens at auctions and distilleries. She said: "He loved every aspect of it; from researching the many single malt distilleries to visiting them and tasting their whiskies."

Bowmore Distillery is located on the island of Islay, the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides located off the west coast of Scotland

Richard Gooding's favourite was always Black Bowmore 

Gooding gave himself a mission: to collect a bottle that represented every single distillery and achieve a "perfect collection", one of every bottle that was ever produced. He created a "pub" at his Colarado home so that he could admire and enjoy his "library of whiskies" - which certainly resembles one with the hand-crafted wooden display cabinets and tartan carpets.

According to Mrs. Gooding his favourite was always Bowmore, with his preferred whisky being Black Bowmore. Bowmore is also a distillery that produces Scotch whisky on the Isle of Islay, Scotland. Smoky, spicy, peaty and vanilla are the signature flavours of Bowmore's whisky. Bowmore 1964 Black Bowmore 29 Year Old 1st Edition in particular is Mr Gooding's "favourite dram" according to Whisky Auctioneer. Black Bowmore takes its name and dark colouring from “intense” maturation in first-fill Oloroso Sherry casks.

The Perfect Collection will go live on Whisky Auctioneer over two separate auctions next year in February and April respectively. We will be sure to keep our readers posted.

Auction details

Auction house: Whisky Auctioneer
Sale: The Perfect Collection by Mr. Richard Gooding (online)
Auction time: 
2020/2/7 - 17 (1st part)
2020/4/10 - 20 (2nd part)