Airplanes, nips, miniatures… Whatever name you prefer for those small bottle of booze, their appeal is undeniable whether you’re a teen sneaking into your parents’ liquor cabinet or a traveling businessman stuck with a hotel room minibar or just someone who likes small things. Now, an online auction of over 3000 mini-bottles is underway and collectors are abuzz.
On November 12, 1,255 lots containing over 3,000 individual bottles of spirits went on the block through digital auctioneer Whisky.Auction. All starting prices began at $2.64 (£2), but as we get closer to the Tuesday (11.21) close date, bids are starting to creep to higher figures.
In the initial report of the auction, Isabel Graham-Yooll, auction director, told The Spirits Business, “Miniatures offer a great entry into old or rare spirits for which full bottle prices are out of reach for many. It makes these great liquids accessible for those who are keen to discover and opens up rare whiskies to a whole new audience.”
A 1996 MacAllan special edition bottled to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Private Eye magazine was tied for the priciest offering, commanding a $435 bid at press time. A Dalmore 8 Year Old 70 Proof “Duncan MacBeth” shared the number one spot. In third place was a $277 bid for a miniature of Johnnie Walker Red Label bottled in the 1930’s.
The lots also included several collections, generally grouped by distiller. A few lots of Diageo’s 2013 Special Releases is attracting lots of hype. The collection includes Brora 35 Year Old 49.9% ABV, Convalmore 36 Year Old 58% ABV, Caol Ila Stichell Reserve 59.6% ABV, Lagavulin 12 Year Old 55.1% ABV, Lagavulin 37 Year Old 51% ABV, Oban 21 Year Old 58.5% ABV, Port Ellen 34 Year Old 55% ABV, Singleton of Dufftown 28 Year Old, 52.3% ABV, and Talisker 27 Year Old 56.1% ABVWe were excited about a seven mini-bottle collection of White Horse including whiskies from 1939, 1940, 1959, 1960, and three undated bottles placed between the late 1930’s and the late 1950’s.
Despite the host’s name, the auction is not all whiskies. We spied some great cognac and armagnac sets for only a couple dollars.
Collectors have embraced miniatures as a (relatively) economical way to get their hands on rare old bottles (a.k.a. dusties). Last month, a 1960’s miniature bottle of Laphroaig 20 Under Proof discovered by a Glasgow couple was auctioned for a record setting $1094.