Raising a Glass to Robert Burns


Rare single malt whisky auction


Rare Single Malt Whisky from one man’s collection comes to auction


“Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!

What dangers thou canst make us scorn!

Wi’ tippenny, we fear no evil;

Wi’ usquebae, we’ll face the devil!”

extract from Tom o’Shanter, by Robert Burns


Whisky, the result of distilling water and barley, has for centuries been under the mastery of distillers north of our borders here on these isles. For when it comes to whisky, the Scots leave the rest of the world with a very definite hangover. A fascination with the “water of life” could be to your peril, alternatively, savouring the subtleness of the individual character of each cask and bottle, is for many a joy to behold. For those that appreciate a rare single malt, the price they pay for a rare bottle can be substantial, which is why the whisky market has become a key investment area of the auction world. A single man’s collection of single malts is to be offered in our March Fine Art auction, giving a good opportunity to invest in a bottle to keep, or give themselves a luxurious treat!


UK auction sales of rare whisky has been a growing market in recent years, with a number of factors influencing what has become a very niche area of collecting and investment. For many admirers of a fine single malt, the investment angle was perhaps never a factor if buying in the 1980s or 1990s, after all, why buy something if you cannot open it to enjoy? This collector had a clever approach however: where possible buy two bottles – one to open and enjoy the other to savour! Within these bottles an admirer can find the products of some now quite (closed) distilleries, as well as more “off-the-shelf” products from the main distilleries such as Grant & Sons, Glenmorangie, Ardbeg, Macallan etc.


There is a good selection of malts from the independent bottlers and distributors of Gordon & MacPhail. Perhaps the rarest available here is a 24 year old Highland malt from the Brora distillery which closed in 1983. This bottle was distilled in 1977 and bottled in 2001. Single bottles here can retail in excess of £1,000 on specialist online retail sites, the auction estimate is a tempting £400 – £600. Another rare bottle from a more recognisable household name is a bottle of Glenmorangie 1994 “Speakeasy” – only available for purchase from the distillery rooms themselves, and individually numbered. Retail prices can exceed £400 online, available here with a pre-sale estimate of £200-£300.


With over 80 bottles on offer, there is a whisky for every aficionado – be it from a particular region in Scotland, or even further afield as there are whiskies from Ireland and Japan included. All bottles shall be offered in the Market Harborough salerooms on 28th March, as part of our Spring Fine Art & Antiques auction with full listing available in early March. Consignments for similar rare spirit accepted until February 24th.


Contact: Will Gilding +44 (0)1858 410414 / will.gilding@gildings.co.uk