Largest Scotch whisky charity auction raises

Last Thursday, the Distillers One of One auction held at Hopetoun House in Edinburgh raised PS1.8m for charities supporting young people.

The most expensive lot was a 1.5-litre sea stack-shaped Bowmore 55-year-old distilled in 1962 that sold for PS450,000. This is an auction record for Islay Distillery.

A 50-year-old Brora, distilled in 1972, sold for PS320,000. The Highland single malt was poured into an oval-shaped 1.5-liter bottle, which represented the eye of a Scottish Wildcat, earning it the name “Iris.”

A 1.5-litre Glen Grant aged 68 years, distilled in 2005 and called ‘The Visionary,’ sold for PS170,000.

The winning bidders were offered trips to distilleries. For example, four decanters aged 25, 32, 36, and 44 years of The Glenturret, accompanied by a four-person dinner at the Michelin-starred restaurant of the distillery, set a record at auction for The Glenturret. The lot was valued at PS100,000.

Total hammer prices for 39 lots reached PS1.8m. Once VAT and fees are added, the total rises to PS2.25m. Sotheby’s, the auction house that ran the sale, donated its commission.

The industry is helping young people to benefit from its efforts.

The auction was organized by The Worshipful Company of Distillers – one of London’s livery firms – with all proceeds going to The Distillers’ Charity – a charitable arm of The Worshipful Company of Distillers founded in 1955.

Distillers’ Charity launched their Youth Action Fund on January 20, 2022, using the PS2.4m raised in the first Distillers’ One of One auction in 2021.

The Youth Action Fund supports five Scottish charities, including Action for Children, Enable, and Street League that help young people find jobs or training. It also supports the Alcohol Education Trust.

Inspiring Scotland is a charity that assists charities in professional development and securing long-term funding.

Grant Gordon, chair of The Distillers’ Charity, said in an interview with Decanter before the auction: ‘On a certain level, this is the global showcase of excellence for the Scottish whisky, as distillers are showcasing their brands on this platform.

“But at a societal level, this is a chance for the industry, to come together and strengthen our communities in Scotland, by helping these youths.

We all have the same goal: to work with young people and help them transform their lives.

Single casks with singular experiences

The first whisky from Holyrood Distillery, an Edinburgh-based start-up, was officially launched on Friday, October 6. Bottle number one sold for PS8,000, which is near the middle estimate of PS5,000-PS10,000.

Some of Scotland’s smaller and newer distillers also donated casks for the auction. Tours of their distilleries accompanied these lots.

A cask of Arran Palo cortado raised PS17,000 compared to an estimate between PS6,000 and PS12,000. Arbikie Highland Rye sold for PS15,000 against a guide of between PS7,000-PS12,000.

Some bottling firms also purchased casks. Independent bottler The Single Cask bought a cask Bruichladdich bere barley at PS30,000.

Gordon & MacPhail, a fellow independent bottler, set a new auction record for its ‘Recollection Showcase.’ Five decanters distilled from 1966 to 1979 in five distilleries were sold at a price of PS75,000.

The Last Drop’s Blending Experience at Scone Palace, near Perth, also set a record during the afternoon’s proceedings. The 12-bottle collection sold for PS48,000. This was double its highest pre-sale estimate.

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