The recent rise of NFTs may be dominating the headlines these days when it comes to investments, but don’t discount traditional wines and spirits just yet. Case in point: The Dalmore Decades Collection, which sold at auction for more than $1.1 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong earlier this month.
The one-of-a-kind collection of six Decades whiskies (celebrating milestone releases from 1951, 1967, 1979, 1980, 1995, and 2000) represented the first and only time those six bottles have been offered together, and Sotheby’s says the $1.1 million price tag was the highest value for a whisky lot sold at the auction house this year, and the most valuable whisky lot ever sold by Sotheby’s in Asia. Collectors from Hong Kong, Taiwan and the UK were reportedly among the bidders competing to secure the six-bottle collection, with Sotheby’s revealing that the winning bid went to an Asian private collector.
Now, The Dalmore is making its way to North America, with two collections of The Dalmore Decades being offered this week. One U.S. collection will be available for purchase at Wally’s Wine & Spirits in Los Angeles, with a price tag of $275,000. The Dalmore Decades No.5 Collection is comprised of five bottles, with releases from 1967, 1979, 1980, 1995 and 2000. Only 15 sets were released in the entire world and Wally’s is offering its set on a first-come, first-served basis beginning on November 1st. In other words: you’ll have to move fast if you want to (be the only one to) claim the super rare release.
The Dalmore Decades No.4 Collection, meantime, will be available in Canada through the British Columbia Liquor Store’s (BCLS) 2021 Premium Spirit Release program. The BCLS has the Americas region exclusive on this release, with only one No.4 set in North America available for sale.
Unlike the Wally’s release, the B.C. Liquor Store is offering The No.4 Collection for $200,000 CAD (approximately $161,000 USD) via a raffle. Online registration for interested buyers begins October 28 and runs till October 30. The winning raffle ticket will be drawn on November 13. While entry to the raffle is free, the winner will have a chance to purchase The Dalmore Decades No.4 Collection at the $200,000 price point (Canadian alcohol regulations assigned the release and distribution of alcohol to a “liquor control” board in each province, which then determines a set price for sale).
Only 25 sets of The Dalmore Decades No.4 Collection were released, each containing four Decades whiskies (1979, 1980, 1995, 2000). The ultra-rare whiskies will be accompanied by a decanter engraved with an exclusive set number, along with a bespoke display pedestal, with individual compartments to house each decanter, and with each whisky’s unique story engraved upon the door.
The Dalmore Decades release highlights the brand’s almost 200-year history of Scotch making in the Scottish highlands. From their distillery in Alness, Scotland, The Dalmore’s Master Distiller Richard Paterson has been making whiskey for more than 50 years, and the new release represents his personal selection from the exceptionally rare casks the distillery enjoys.
Available in both the No.5 and No.4 collection, the 1979 bottle is a 40-year-old single malt made in a Matusalem Oloroso sherry butt before final maturation in a Graham’s Port Vintage 1952 – one of Port’s rarest vintages. The Dalmore Decades 1980, meantime, takes the traditional maturation of The Dalmore and reverses it, with the whisky moving from Bourbon casks to Matusalem sherry butts, before being transferred back to its first-fill ex-Bourbon casks for a minimum of five years before bottling. And then there’s the 2000 bottle, which the company says was “officially witnessed three minutes after midnight,” making The Dalmore the first Scottish distillery to bottle a new spirit in the new millennium.
The Dalmore Decades release comes a month after another significant spirits release, with the House of Suntory unveiling their Yamazaki 55, a blend of single malts featuring components first distilled in 1960. Bottled in 2020, Yamazaki 55 is the House of Suntory’s oldest release in its history, and being offered at a suggested retail price of $60,000 (though the price has since gone up to as high as $950,000 online).
Yamazaki 55 features a blend of single malts aged in Mizunara casks followed by White Oak casks. The resulting expression features a deep amber color and notes that retain the smooth profile of a Japanese whiskey with a more challenging and complex aroma: think sandal wood and well-ripened fruit, with a sweet, bitter and woody palate.
Yamazaki 55 is presented in a crystal bottle with real gold dust and lacquer on the age marking. The bottle’s opening is wrapped in handmade Echizen washi paper and bound with a Kyo-kumihimo plaited cord, a traditional craft from Kyoto. Each bottle is delivered in a bespoke box made from native Japanese Mizunara wood and coated with Suruga lacquer.
Can’t shell out for the super exclusive releases? Both The Dalmore and Suntory offer more reasonably-priced bottles for sale online, with The Dalmore 12-Year Single Malt Scotch available for $65 on ReserveBar.com and a Suntory Whisky Toki bottle retailing for $52 online. See more offerings from both brands at ReserveBar.com.