Six bottles of rare whisky that have come to light in North Yorkshire will be sold at Tennants Auctioneers’ Fine Wine and Whisky Sale on 1st September with a combined pre-sale estimate of £20,000-30,000. The vendor, who hails from Skipton, discovered the bottles amongst his late father’s possessions.
The top lot of the collection is a very rare Bowmore 18 Year Old Pure Scotch Malt Whisky, Sherriff’s Bottling, on offer with an estimate of £8,000-12,000 (all figures exclude buyer’s premium). Bowmore was established in 1779, and was the first licensed distillery on Islay, and the second in Scotland. In 1925 Bowmore was purchased by James Bell Sheriff, whose family had previously owned the distillery from 1887-1892, at which point it was renamed Sherriff’s Bowmore Distillery. The Sherriff’s sold the distillery on in 1963, and bottles from their era of ownership rarely appear on the market. The collection also includes a bottle of Laphroaig Pure Islay Malt, Over 12 Years Old, bottled by Wm. Cadenhead in the 1960s on offer with an estimate of £6,000-8,000.
The remaining four bottles are single malts distilled in the 1930s, and bottled in the 1960s by Gordon & MacPhail, the leading independent bottlers who are still a thriving family business today. The bottles include Strathisla 1937 Finest Highland Malt Whisky (estimate: £1,500-2,500), George & J.G. Smith’s 1938 Glenlivet Whisky (estimate: £1,000-1,500), and Pride of Strathspey 1937 Old Highland Scotch Whisky (estimate: £1,000-1,500). In the middle of the 20th century, Gordon & MacPhail were prominent bottlers of single malt scotch whiskies, at a time when the majority of single malts were used solely to improve the flavour and character of the mass-produced blended whiskies rather than enjoyed pure.
Tennants’ Whisky specialist William McNab says, “Whiskies that were distilled pre-War are few and far between on the open market, and to have four bottles of 1930s single malt is very exciting indeed – not to mention the incredibly rare Bowmore”.
The sale will also include a second private collection of whisky, comprising approximately 160 bottles of varied and accessible collectable single malts, including limited edition ‘Game of Thrones’ bottles and the entire range of Flora and Fauna whiskies, a themed series of single malts from distilleries, with each distillery assigned a creature or plant to adorn their beautifully designed labels.