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Scotch Whisky

This Bottle of Pappy Van Winkle Just Set an Auction Record

Just months after Sotheby’s previous record-breaking whisky auction, more records were broken. At this past weekend’s Whisky & Whiskey | Seasonal Spirits and The Yamazaki 55 event in New York, a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old Family Reserve sold for $52,500, or more than 17 times the pre-sale estimate (est. $3,000-4,000). Released in 2008, the whiskey was presented for sale with its original black velvet bag.

Just as impressive, all 14 Pappy Van Winkle bottles at the auction sold for more than the original pre-sale estimates, garnering a combined total of $396,250 (est. $31,000-44,000). Individual records were also set for the Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year Old ($9,375) and 20 Year Old ($27,500).

 “It was exciting to be on the rostrum conducting the sale for this record-breaking bottle, which went far beyond anyone’s expectations,” said Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Head of Whisky & Spirits, North America and EMEA. “The auction marked a remarkable end to a year that has seen prices soar for American whiskey at Sotheby’s.”

And the numbers back him up: This particular auction brought in a total of $1,786,625, surpassing pre-sale expectations (est. $885,050 – 1,302,050). And this year’s sales of whisk(e)y at Sotheby’s in New York more than doubled, from $5.4 million in 2021 to $11.9 million in 2022.

The Whisky & Whisky auction wasn’t just about Pappy, however. The real star of the show was the world’s oldest Japanese Whisky, The Yamazaki 55-Year Old (which sold for $425,000), along with Scotch whiskies of 40 years and above from The Macallan, Highland Park and The Dalmore.

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