News & Insights

The Whisky Sale: A Private Collection

3rd March 2020.

A Private Collection of Whisky, 50 years in the making, comes to auction on 20th March 2020 at Tennants Auctioneers in North Yorkshire. With a focus on Macallan, the collection includes such highlights as a bottle of The Macallan 52 Year Old Select Reserve 1946 (estimate: £20,000-30,000 plus buyer’s premium).

Comprising over 300 bottles, the collection was amassed by a businessman who was first introduced to whisky when his father-in-law gave him a bottle of The Macallan 10 Year Old. It proved revelatory, sparking a life-long interest in whisky and a deep love of Macallan. Indeed, The Macallan 10 Year Old has been his drink of choice ever since.

Tennants’ Wine and Whisky Specialist William McNab says of the collection: “It is a pleasure to handle such a fine collection of whisky put together with much dedication by a true connoisseur. Not only are there examples of some of the most desirable single bottles around, but there are year runs and top bottles from Scotland’s finest distilleries. The collection even includes an example of my favourite whisky, a rare and now discontinued Balvenie 10 Year Old Founder’s Reserve, Cognac Bottling”.

At the heart of the collection is Macallan, which is led by a bottle of The Macallan 52 Year Old Select Reserve 1946 (Estimate: £20,000-30,000 plus buyer’s premium). Distilled just after the War when production of whisky – a luxury good – had stopped, it was made with peated malt due to the scarcity of coal. A rarity on Speyside, it is now recognised as one of the greatest Macallans ever released. The collector has also put together a near-complete year run of The Macallan 18 Year Old from 1963 to 1997, missing only seven years, offering other enthusiasts the opportunity to add missing years to their collection.

Further star lots of Macallan include The Macallan 1951, which is bottle number 1 of 632; a very rare bottle from just after the War, it is estimated at £15,000-20,000 (plus buyer’s premium). Two rare bottles of The Macallan Red Ribbon, which was bottled for merchants around the world, are also on offer from 1938 (estimate: £10,000-15,000 plus buyer’s premium) and 1950 (estimate: £5,000-7,000 plus buyer’s premium).

The majority of the collection was bought in the UK, however, approximately 20% was sourced from Spain, Italy, France and Holland. The collector even travelled as far as Barbados to collect a particularly prized bottle. Amongst interesting lots sourced overseas are four bottles of The Macallan Cadenheads, Scotland’s oldest independent bottler (estimate: £800-1,200 plus buyer’s premium each), which he purchased from Cadenheads Amsterdam shop; here he also found a rare bottle of The Macallan 12 Year Old French Revolution 1789-1989 (estimate: £500-700 plus buyer’s premium).

The collection also offers good, collectable bottles of Glenfarclas and Glenmorangie as well as bottles from the top distilleries across Scotland; there is a particular focus on good bottles from the 1970s. In addition, the collection offers affordable bottles of single malt for drinking.

For further details of the auction and related events, or to register your interest, contact William McNab on

The sale catalogue will be available online from Friday 6th March.


View Sale Details


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