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Remarkable whiskies on sale at Bonhams NY

Bonhams whisky auction in New York on April 29 will feature some remarkable spirits, cognacs, scotches, bourbons and ryes. The sale offers a wide selection of exceptional vintages spanning two centuries and ranging from the curious to the opulent.

The auction features many limited and commemorative edition cognacs and scotches. Several of these luxurious vintages are presented in distinctive artisan bottles, which speak for the rarity of their contents. A legendary Remy-Martin Louis XIII Black Pearl on offer comes in a Baccarat dark crystal decanter (est. US$13,000-17,000). Also in a crystal decanter is a Macallan Millennium distilled in 1949 (est. US$8,000-10,000). A 57 year-old Macallan Lalique is as notable for its contents as for its sleek bottle and gorgeous frosted crystal stopper (est. US$15,000-20,000).

Other limited edition highlights include a 50 year-old Macallan anniversary distilled in 1928 (est. US$20,000-25,000), and a six bottle Springbank Millennium collection ranging from 25 to 50 years old, accompanied by a set of identical miniature bottles (est. US$8,000-10,000).

Many of the whiskies on offer are especially notable for their age, giving collectors the opportunity to savor the vintages of their favorite distilleries from previous decades. A 25 year-old bourbon whiskey distilled in 1890 by WL Weller and Sons is a favorite of Bonhams Whisky Specialist Joe Hyman (est. US$600-800). Encased in a woven wicker cage, Hyman is drawn to the unusual presentation of this impressive survival, while WL Weller aficionados will appreciate the chance to taste the acclaimed company's 19th century product.

Other notable whiskies include a 1955 40 year-old Bowmore (est. US$5,000-6,000), a 12 year-old Chivas Regal bottles from 1950's (est. US$400-600 each), a 12 year-old Glenlivet from the 1940s (est. US$1000-1200), a pint bottle of Dewars White Label circa 1910 (est. US$300-400), a Paul Jones whiskey circa 1910 (est. US$600-800), a 1940s Four Roses rye whiskey (est. US$400-600) and an Overholt 1911 rye whiskey (est. US$600-800).

"American offerings are quickly catching up to their European counterparts. It used to be that collectors were only interested in scotch, but the market has really come to appreciate ryes and bourbons," noted Hyman.

Extraordinary spirits will also be up for auction. Highlights include a bottle of Bacardi Rum from the 1920s, which was distilled and bottled in Cuba prior to the famed company's relocation to Puerto Rico as a result of the Castro regime (US$800-1000).

"Collecting whisky and rare spirits is very rewarding, and gaining in popularity," said Hyman, adding with a smile, "Increased demand for whisky worldwide means more and more people are buying these rare bottles, and drinking the contents!"

Bonhams will hold an auction preview, showcasing all the rare and exotic bottlings, on Sunday, April 28 from 4pm-6pm. At the preview, whiskies for sampling will be available from Compass Box and poured by brand ambassador Robin Robinson.

A full catalogue will be available in the coming weeks

17 March 2013 - Felicity Murray