WHISKY lovers are never shy of spending a pretty penny for a drop of the finest amber nectar.
But even the most dedicated connoisseur might think twice about buying a dram of what is tipped to be the UK’s most expensive bottle of whisky.
A luxury bottle of rare whisky lovingly distilled over 54 years is going under the hammer in a city auction house next week with an estimated price tag of up to £150,000.
The cost of one nip would pay for a ticket on a luxury cruise liner – the bottle would buy you a house.
The Bowmore 1957, being sold at Bonhams on Queen Street, is tipped to break UK records as the most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold at auction – and experts believe it may even best the current world record.
At £3500 per dram, the exclusive whisky is beyond the finances of most collectors, but it is thought that there will be global interest in its sale from buyers as far afield as Europe, the Far East and the US.
A bottle of 64-year-old Macallan in Lalique glassware, sold at Sotheby’s in New York, holds the Guinness World Record for the dearest whisky ever sold at auction, fetching a staggering £291,125 in 2010.
Auctioneers at Bonhams predict that the unique bottle “has the potential” to eclipse the current record if “two people want it badly enough”.
The Bowmore bottle, of which there are only 12 in the world, contains the oldest whisky the firm has ever produced, and also lays claim to being the oldest Islay single malt.
Andrew Rankin, Morrison Bowmore’s chief blender, said: “Bowmore 1957 has withstood the test of time astoundingly well and is nothing short of brilliance in a glass.”
The bottle will be the main lot at the whisky sale on Wednesday, with all proceeds being split between Scottish charities Alzheimer Scotland, The Beatson, CHAS, Erskine and Marie Curie.
Whisky expert Martin Green, who works for Bonhams Edinburgh, said: “It’s the oldest bottle ever to come out of the isle of Islay, and Bowmore have been monitoring the cask every six months and deciding when is the right time to bottle.
“There’s likely to be interest from many different countries. Everyone has been hearing about this sale and there may be many foreign buyers, but they can’t always attend so we will have people bidding online.”
Mr Green said there may be up to 250 litres of the spirit at the start of the distilling process but over time that volume decreases due to evaporation when “the angels take their share”.
“From the original amount, all that’s left is enough to fill 12 bottles,” he said.
Five of the dearest
THE DEAREST DRAM
1: A 64-year-old Macallan in Lalique sold at Sotheby’s in New York for £291,125 in November 2010. It holds the Guinness World Record as the most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold at auction.
2: An exceptionally rare bottle of The Glenlivet, distilled in 1883 and bottled in 1931, sold for £18,750 at Bonhams in October 2011. The bottle was originally owned by Captain William Smith Grant, the great grandson of the founder of The Glenlivet Distillery.
3: In the same Bonhams sale, a bottle of Macallan, distilled in 1928 and bottled in 1983, sold for £16,875 – almost £4000 more than the upper estimate.
4: A 70-year-old Generations Glenlivet was auctioned at Bonhams for £15,000 in March 2011. All proceeds from the lot were donated to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
5: In June 2009, a rare antique whisky miniature fetched £1500 at auction – the equivalent of £750 per nip. The 90-year-old single malt, from the iconic Springbank Distillery in Argyll, attracted interest from around the world at Bonhams’ whisky auction in Edinburgh