After traveling the world in pursuit of the finest whisky, one man’s personal collection turned out to be the largest to ever come to auction.
Known only as Pat, this collector first bought whiskies based on the recommendation of a colleague. He then set out to explore and taste every area of whisky, and his collection began to grow. Nearly 20 years later, Pat’s Whisk(e)y Collection (as it came to be known) became the largest private collection ever to go to auction.
He worked with auction house Whisky Auctioneer to put 9,000 bottles out into the market, and 23 auctions later, the curtain closed with the final auction on Nov. 22nd of last year with a total of £3,360,000 (more than $4.5 million USD).
According to Whisky Auctioneer, Pat’s Whisk(e)y Collection took more than a year to auction off across a series of specially curated monthly spotlight auctions and dedicated sales. The collection featured 5,000 Scotch single malts, more than a thousand blended whiskies, and 600 American whiskies along with hundreds of unique grain whiskies and independent bottlings.
Whisky Auctioneer’s online platform for buying and selling whisky and spirits found Pat’s collection to be like none other in company history, and one of the company’s biggest success stories never to be replicated on the secondary market.
Iain McClune, founder of Whisky Auctioneer, said in a prepared statement, “Pat’s Whisk(e)y Collection was historic, a once in a lifetime chance for whisky lovers old and new to bid on some of the most diverse bottles on the secondary market. The variety of whiskies on offer was unique, with whiskies accessible at every price point, hopefully inspiring the next generation of collectors. It’s highly unlikely we’ll ever see a collection as large and diverse as this one, meaning this auction will go down in whisky history, setting a precedent for future collectors.”
Pat, the collection’s owner, said that building a whisky collection was never actually his original goal. “I simply wanted to try everything and there were so many releases, distilleries and countries to explore. When I reached over 2,000 bottles, I decided to create a collection that represented the full picture of whisky and for me that meant everything from non-age statements, blends and world whiskies to the rarest examples – a true showcase of all sides of such a varied spirit.”
Pat said that selling the collection was a deeply emotional process and “such a huge part of my life. I feel this incredible journey has culminated in a fitting finale with these bottles entered back into the market so other people can enjoy them, perhaps with some added knowledge gained alongside. My journey with whisky is not over but I hope my approach will inspire whisky lovers and future collectors to be diverse and eclectic when constructing their own collections. Anyone can collect whisky and good whisky can be discovered anywhere and at any price.”
Highlights from the 23 curated auctions include:
- The Heart & Soul: Bourbon & American Whiskey Auction (total hammer price:
- £376,183.00), October 2020.
- A Journey of Discovery: The European Bottler’s Auction (total hammer price: £302,456.00), December 2020.
- A Connoisseur’s Choice: Gordon & MacPhail Auction: (total hammer price: £246,209.00), October 2021.
- Pat’s Whisk(e)y: The Grand Finale (total hammer price: £758,223), November 2021.
Highlights from across the 9,070 lots include the following hammer prices:
- Brora 1972 Rare Malts 22 Year Old / 60.02%: (total hammer price: £20,500)
- Glenfarclas 1952 Family Cask #1712 / Release I: (total hammer price: £18,000)
- Highland Park 50 Year Old 2018 Release / Charity Lot: (total hammer price: £15,000)
- Glenfarclas 1953 Family Cask #1678 / Release I: (total hammer price: £10,100)
- Karuizawa 35 Year Old Bourbon Cask #8518 / Emerald Geisha: (total hammer price: £9,200)
- Glenfarclas 1957 Family Cask #2111 / Release I: (total hammer price: £9,000)
- Dalmore 45 Years Old 2018 Release: (total hammer price: £8,700)
- Glenfarclas 1955 Family Cask #2211 / Release I: (total hammer price: £8,200)
- Old Rip Van Winkle 23 Year Old Family Selection / Stitzel-Weller: (total hammer price: £8,000 hammer price)
- Eagle Rare 20 Year Old Double Eagle Very Rare 2020 Release: (total hammer price: £7,600)
Inspired by Pat and to mark the end of this collection, Whisky Auctioneer ran the world’s first-ever Summit of Collectibility, bringing industry leaders and experts together for a discussion around modern collectors and the future of whisky within the secondary market. The Summit of Collectibility recording is available in full here.
Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether...