Rare whiskey collecting is a hunt, a game, a crapshoot, and sometimes a fruitless obsession. That is, of course, until an auction comes along with a myriad of unicorn bottles available to bid on—then it just becomes a matter of the highest offer. The latest group of rare bottles to hit the auction block is Sotheby’s The Camouflage Collection Part I, and you have until this Friday to score some of this whiskey.
This offering of about 1,500 bottles came from a private collector, and bidding began last Thursday. The scope of this series of whiskeys is quite impressive, with nearly 470 lots available that are worth a pre-sale estimate of close to $700,000. “The Camouflage Collection is a perfect example of what whiskey collecting is all about: years of dedication by a single owner in the hunt to obtain the rarest bourbons imaginable,” said Sotheby’s head of whisky & spirits Jonny Fowle in a statement. “The rarity of these bottles combined with the exceptional provenance makes this auction out of New York truly exciting–a market-defining sale that is sure to ignite the interest of collectors.”
The collection includes some of the usual unicorn bourbon and rye suspects, as well as some rarities from the worlds of scotch and Japanese whisky. Pappy Van Winkle is well represented, of course, as any whiskey auction worth its gavel should include this bourbon. Highlights include the Old Rip Van Winkle 23 Year Old Decanter which was distilled in 1986 and is one of just 1,200. There’s also a bottle of 23 Year Old Family Reserve from 2008 in an auction lot. Buffalo Trace is the distillery that owns and produces the Pappy brand now, and it also has some other highly collectible whiskeys under its umbrella. Some of these are up for auction, like O.F.C. Old Fashion Copper Bourbon 90 Proof 1980, Double Eagle Very Rare 20 Year Old 90 Proof NV, and several bottles from the famous Buffalo Trace Antique Collection.
Michter’s is another well-known Kentucky distillery, and there are more than 40 expressions available in this collection including a bottle of Single Barrel Rye 25 Year Old. Another Kentucky offering, Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Rye 25 Year Old 100 Proof, is expected to command some competetive bidding. And making its debut auction appearance is Redemption Rye 36 Year Old Barrel Proof, one of the oldest rye whiskeys produced at MGP in Indiana to have been bottled.
As mentioned before, there are some choice whiskies from overseas included in this auction as well. The Macallan is an obvious inclusion here, as the distillery seems to release a new rare whisky nearly every month—Fine & Rare 32 Year Old 1969 and The Macallan The Red Collection 40 Year Old are the rare single malts included here. And representing Japan are The Yamazaki 25 Year Old and The Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara Cask.
Bidding on The Camouflage Collection Part I (presumably there will be a sequel…) ends this Friday, March 17th, at 10am EDT. You can view all the lots at the Sotheby’s website. That should give interested parties plenty of time to peruse the whiskey and decide which of these aspirational bottles they’d like to pop open (or, let’s be real, hold on to until the value has climbed even higher and then sell for a profit at the next auction).