Bonhams Hong Kong First Whisky Auction

As the auction house that held Hong Kong’s first wine auction in April 2008 after a hiatus of 10 years, Bonhams once again set another precedent by holding Hong Kong’s first ever Whisky Auction on 27 November 2009.

Aficionados of fine and rare whiskies will have the unparalleled opportunity to bid for some of the most prized single malt whiskies to go to block when Bonhams Hong Kong offers over 150 lots from the Williard S. Folsom Collection of Old and Rare Whiskies with a total estimate of HK$650,000 to HK$850,000 on Friday, November 27 at 3 pm at Level 3 of the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Admiralty.

Whisky AuctionThe impressive, single-owner collection of over 3,000 bottles is the largest and most varied collection to ever appear at auction. It is anticipated to cause a stir worldwide when it goes on sale at Bonhams globally – in Edinburgh on 18 November, Hong Kong on 27 November and New York on 17 December.

Amassed over an 18-year period, the collection features wide ranges of Ardbeg, Bowmore, Dalmore, Glenfiddich, Laphroaig, Springbank, Kinclaith, Killyloch, Ben Wyvis, Glen Grant, Glenmorangie, The Glenlivet, Strathmill, Mortlach and The Macallan. It also includes commemorative and celebration malts and many other distilleries are well represented.

The late Williard S. Folsom was a sports fan, football handicapper, race car driver, master of finance, scuba diver, skydiver, salsa dancer, and whisky enthusiast at various times in his life. Folsom began his 18-year love affair with Single Malt Whisky in 1988, while reading an article listing the best bars in the United States for Single Malt. Included in the list was a restaurant ten minutes from his home in Burlingame, California. After attending his first Single Malt Scotch tasting with his wife, he immediately became a devotee of the Whisky arts.

For the next 18 years Willard amassed his private collection. Starting with establishing relationships within San Francisco’s Scotch community it was not long before he began travelling the world in search of rare bottles. Having toured the Highlands, the Lowlands, Speyside, Islay, and Orkney, he purchased whisky from all over Scotland and the rest of the UK- resulting in a collection of over 3,000 bottles. The whisky he purchased from all over the UK were shipped to a hotel in London, where the Scottish hotel manager would keep them under lock and key until he came to pick it up.

To many of his friends, Willard was a sage, a shaman, or a soothsayer for whisky. He brought his wife and son with him to the UK on many of his trips, not to show the world to them but to have them carry suitcases full of whisky! Willard believed that it would be in the interest of his collection to have one of every bottle – and if one of every bottle was good, then two of every bottle was twice as good!

Willard’s ideas and opinions on Single Malt Scotch are well known and often repeated. One of his most memorable was his novel philosophy on life: “Some say the glass is half empty, others say it’s half full. I say, pour the water out and put some Scotch in that glass.”

Martin Green, Bonhams Whisky Specialist comments: “In over 20 years of conducting whisky auctions, this is the most exciting collection I have ever handled. Many of the bottles included in the collection will never be released again or repeated by the Whisky Industry and so the sale of the collection provides the opportunity to buy many collectables of the future.”

In Hong Kong, customs evaluated tax duty is assigned to each whisky bottle and is payable by the successful bidder. But despite this duty, the Williard S Folsom Collection of Old and Rare Whiskies is singular in its rarity and collectability, and will prove to be irresistible to aficionados eager to lay their hands on this liquid gold.