03/07/2012 Dreweatts: Sale of fine watches, pens, luxury accessories – and whiskies
A swift shooting brake, such as Ferrari's absurdly competent FF recently featured in Classic Driver, should surely be regarded as an essential piece of operational equipment by any sporting gent – and it would be nice to think that the all-wheel-drive capability of at least a few FFs will be put to use 'in the field' to make the most of their load-lugging ability for guns and game, just as hunter Conrad Hasselbach suggests.
I also rather fancy the idea of using Ferrari's most practical product as a glamorous alternative to the traditional Benz station wagon favoured by the antiques trade and often associated with television's rogueish dealer Lovejoy. An FF is surely the ideal car, for example, to load up with antique bargains from the salerooms before carting them away to be converted into speedy profit.
Dreweatts' London sale of 10 July certainly looks like a good candidate for a 'raid'. Majoring on 'fine watches, pens and luxury accessories', it includes an interesting section devoted to single malt whiskies and fine cognac (at which point, I suppose, it would be politically correct to emphasise the importance of keeping 'drinking' and 'driving' entirely separate).
The popularity of 'vintage' single malts has soared during the past decade, leading to the creation of a dedicated collecting/auction category which has resulted in some remarkable prices.
Part of the appeal of collecting whisky is that, unlike wine, it doesn't demand particularly special storage conditions. Provided it is protected from sunlight and extreme temperatures, a whisky will remain for decades in more or less the same condition as the day it was bottled. The varied and attractive designs of bottles, boxes and labels from different distilleries also give a collection aesthetic appeal and can even add to the value.
But, generally speaking, it is the rarity value of single malt whiskies (i.e. pure malted whisky produced by a single distillery) that make them collectable in a way that the mass-produced, blended product (a mixture of single malt and grain whiskies taken from different distilleries) simply isn't. Much of the revival of interest can be attributed to the acquisition of some of the best, small distilleries – around 100 of which survive – by giant drinks corporations such as Diageo, which has revived names such as Talisker, Dalwhinnie and Lagavulin, often creating instantly collectable 'distiller's edition' bottles that are released in small numbers at premium prices and invariably rise in value.
Dreweatts' sale is not likely to set any records, but it does include plenty of covetable bottles at reasonable estimates. A 1968 Bowmore limited edition, for example, is up for £200 - 250; one of just 191 bottles of Balvenie Single Cask from 1970 is offered at £400 - 500 and a bottle of 1964 Bowmore Gold Fine Oak Cask could find itself safely tucked away in your drinks cabinet for an expected £800 - 1,200.
There are some collectable Japanese bottles on offer, too, from distilleries such as Suntory, Yamazaki and Hakushu, while cognacs range in estimate from £100 for a Camus Jubilee in a baccarat glass decanter to £2,000 for Triomphe's 'Grand Champagne'.
Dreweatts' sale of fine watches, pens and luxury accessories takes place at Bloomsbury House, 24 Maddox Street, London W1 on Tuesday, 10 July at 10am. Catalogue online at bloomsburyauctions.com +44 (0) 20 7495 9494.