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Issue 115 - Ask the expert

Whisky Magazine Issue 115
October 2013


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Ask the expert

I have a very old, unopened bottle of Claymore Rare Old Scotch Whisky bottled by MacDonald Greenlees Ltd, Distillers, Leith. The bottle was a gift from my neighbour's wife after her husband passed away. She has no information about when and how he came by this bottle. It is made of brown glass and the glass surface has a cobweb pattern around the shoulder. It has a lead lined capsule showing a black shield with the head of a horse facing to the left and the inscription “Ducitur non Trahitur.” It would be interesting to hear your comments about this bottle and a valuation.

O Arickx, Belgium

This is an impressive looking bottle of blended Scotch whisky dating from the late 1950s/early 1960s. That Latin motto translates as “He is led, not drawn.” MacDonald Greenlees produced a number of well known blends including Sandy MacDonald and Old Parr and the company's origins stretch back to 1840. Claymore was never a very expensive or high end blend, but its age should make your bottle of interest to collectors and drinkers.

Certain auction houses appear to have greater success than others at promoting and selling early to mid 20th century blended Scotch whisky to their customers. Mulberry Bank Auctions, Glasgow sold a half bottle of Claymore circa 1930s for £160 in November 2012 when it reached its low estimate. This label was used up until the early 1950s. A reasonable valuation for your bottle would be £80-£120 but on the right day, I could see this potentially achie...

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