The following article appears in The Agency’s Second Quarter 2013 Agency Report.
In May, British auction house Bonhams held their Fine and Rare Wines, Cognac & Single Malt Whisky Auction, featuring 450 lots of the finest wines and spirits on the market. The event was set in Hong Kong’s luxurious island Shangri-La Hotel and led to a flurry of bidding that indicates a growing demand for high-end single malts and Burgundy wines.
On the rare wines front, Romanée-Conti led the charge with five of the top ten sales. An assortment case of the 2001 vintage Romanée-Conti – described as “a saturated dark ruby color as well as a mouth-watering nose of leather, juniper berries, cherries, and spices” – went for roughly $24,500 US, at the high end of the estimated price.
A six-bottle case of the 1999 vintage Romanée-Conti topped that, though, selling for an astounding $73,600. Another notable Burgundy was the 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild; a 12-bottle case commanded $38,350.
Among whiskies, The Macallan single malts were dominant. A bottle of 50 year-old Macallan Lalique sold for roughly $34,000 US, thousands higher than anticipated. The whisky was in a limited edition Lalique Crystal decanter – one of only 470. The distillery also made waves with their sale of a 25 year-old Macallan Silver Jubilee for $8,400, specially bottled for The Silver Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1977.
Then there were the Japanese single malts. All 30 bottles available – from the legendary Karuizawa and Hanyu distilleries – sold for multiple times their pre-sale estimates. A bottle of Karuizawa-1968-Whisky Live 2012 went for roughly US $5,830, doubling its pre-sale estimate. A set of four Hanyu Ichiro’s Card series sold for $2,915. Japanese single malts are in high demand today, and prices are only expected to rise.
The Agency has released the Second Quarter 2013 Agency Report, which shows the robust momentum of the luxury market continues in Los Angeles. A record 920 prime single-family home closings took place in the second quarter, according to the report. This represents a return to peak levels reached in 2005, when 927 closings were reported.
Download the full report here.