I had a little Twitter chat recently with a couple of gents who were interested but nervous about buying at auction so I thought I’d give some hints and tips and also give some recommendations regarding this months auction at Scotch Whisky Auctions.
Now I want to make it clear straight from the off that I am neither employed or paid by Scotch Whisky Auctions but I find them helpful and reliable and they don’t take the piss with their fees plus I don’t have to pay postage because I can walk to their offices.
Couple of warnings about auctions, don’t think you can find a bottle of Ardbeg 1974 for fifty quid because you won’t, not even close to it, that said you will find old and rare bottles, you’ll also find standard stuff in jobs lots as well as those little curios and bits and bobs.
My only other warning is watch your price, remember you’re paying commision on any bottle you buy as well as postage and insurance, which I advise getting if it’s an expensive bottle, so don’t go mental and for the love of God don’t bid when you’re pissed, no one wants to end up spending a hundred pounds on a bottle of Famous Grouse do they? No, no you don’t.
I have a system for buying at auction which I will share with you. First off I spend a little time going through the auction, grab yourself a cup of coffee and spend an hour browsing the two thousand or so lots, gaze in wonder at the reserve prices on some of them and cry a little that the bottle of Port Ellen you would murder for will end up sitting on some collectors shelve rather than being opened and relax. I then make a note of all the bottles I fancy going for, it’s normally older expressions of blends you can’t buy in the shops like this or some stuff I’ve never heard of like this or perhaps some miniatures I then don’t muck about with small fiver bids, I bid what I am willing to pay remembering my fees and then I walk away, the auction goes on for a week and if I get outbid then I lose out but I do go back to the auction and perhaps look at other lots, I always end up with something decent.
And that is pretty much that, auctions are great fun and it’s good to just browse what’s on offer just to see something that perhaps you’ve not tried before and the miniatures are great for sampling new whisky, new to you at least, for a couple of pounds per bottle, not bad eh?
Now for some recommendations. Currently there are several old expressions of Red and Black Label, perhaps check out previous auctions to get an idea of what they go for and grab yourself a bottle of something from the past, there are also some nice older bottles of White Horse and a couple of bottles of J&B 15 year old reserve which are well worth a punt and my final suggestion is the large selection of Compass Box although with some of them you’ll be paying top dollar.
Good luck and don’t go mental.