Last night, we rushed from midtown to 17 Battery Park Place. “Hurry up, we’re going to miss the boat!” We kept pleading with our driver. Our phones were ringing continuously: “Are you there yet?”
“Can’t see you, getting on the boat.”
“Will they hold the boat for us?”
“Where is this place again?”
Never before had we been so worried about literally missing a boat…this one out to Liberty Island, where Christie’s would be having an auction with actor Adrian Grenier to sell one of the first U.S. bottles of the world’s most expensive single-malt, Glenfiddich.
We made the boat on time…more than enough time, we found out…as it was being held for a bunch of late arrivals. On the way over, we were given the history of Glenfiddich, a whiskey that, like the Statue of Liberty, was celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
“Oh, Liberty Island is where they keep the statue of Liberty!” One of our cohorts commented. “I guess that makes sense.”
Once embarked on the island, we made our way into the heated tents…much appreciated, as it was a misty, cold night, and our beautiful Houghton cocktail dress with the low-slung back didn’t leave much to the imagination. (In fact, when some friends decided to venture out to the front of the statue…which park rangers said was legal but ‘not advisable,’ we were forced to stay behind, shivering in our five-inch red pumps. We could have killed ourselves!)
The bidding began with a dinner with Adrian Grenier, for whom all the proceeds would be going to, now that Entourage was over. Kidding: the money was going to Mr. Grenier’s charity, SHFT Initiatives, dedicated to sustainability causes.
It was brutal…despite a peppy auctioneer, Mr. Grenier’s price never raised beyond $3,000. And even that was like pulling teeth out of the bidders. Finally, one woman bought him for $2,500…and we couldn’t be sure, but she might have been part of his entourage. Guess Vincent Chase isn’t what he used to be.
The real excitement for the evening was the bidding of those expensive U.S.-minted Glenfiddich bottles, of which we were told there was only 11. While surrogates glued to their cell phones bid up the price of the whiskey for their employer, they quickly dropped out around the $50,000 range. This left two bidders: Number 13, and the nefarious Number 20-something (23?). Number 13 was Mahesh Patel, a world famous whiskey investor (that’s a thing), who had a young, attractive woman in white whispering in his ear all during the drawn out bidding. (We later learned that this woman was Heather Green, a whiskey sommelier employed by Glenfiddich, and not Mr. Pahtel’s wife.)
The other guy…who knows who he was…kept obnoxiously bidding $500 more at the “Going once, going twice, so…” moment, every time. We assume that was supposed to keep the tension alive, but after awhile, it became like a predictable movie formula: you know the bad guy is going to up the ante at the last second, so there was no suspense. Finally, after initially declining to go about $93,500 for the bottle of whiskey (once again, just one bottle of whiskey!), Mr. Patel acquiesced, nodded, and won the lot to uproarious cheers. At $94k, he had just bought the most expensive bottle of whiskey bought at an auction, ever.
Adrian Grenier, standing nearby, tried to congratulate Mr. Patel with a glass of the whiskey. The collector either did not notice or did not care who the actor was, because he merely handed him his empty glass he had been drinking before, and turned back to the cameras.
All in all, a great night for Mr. Grenier’s charities…though maybe not for Mr. Grenier himself.