Auction News: The world's oldest whisky found in Blair Castle

Auction News: The world's oldest whisky found in Blair Castle

In his latest column, Joe Wilson, head curator and spirits specialist at Whisky Auctioneer, looks at the historic sale of a cache of bottles believed to contain the world’s oldest Scotch whisky,

 

This promotional column is written by Whisky Auctioneer and published in partnership with the team at Whisky Magazine. This sponsorship does not influence Whisky Magazine's impartial coverage of auctions and Whisky Auctioneer do not have input on editorial decisions.

Auction News | 06 Oct 2023 | By Joe Wilson

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In the week that Whisky Auctioneer has announced the historic sale of a cache of bottles believed to contain the world’s oldest known Scotch whisky – distilled on the Blair Castle estate around 1833 – it is no surprise to have spent much time fielding questions about their potential monetary value. Nothing quite like this has ever come to market before, however, meaning any estimation must be made on certain careful considerations as opposed to price history. These considerations are what the mysterious Pat – former owner of the world’s largest whisky collection – referred to as the “trinity” of collecting: liquid quality, rarity, and presentation.

 

The Blair Castle whisky delivers in spades on all three counts, although those bottles will not be available until the end of November. The trinity of collecting, however, is a universal concept that can be applied to explore some rare and unusual whiskies in our upcoming September 2023 Auction. We are delighted, for example, to be able to offer a selection of rare releases from the cult German independent bottler Jack Wiebers Whisky World.

 

Founded in 1996 by Lars-Goran “Jack” Wiebers, the company is renowned for its serialised Scotch whisky bottlings which are hugely popular with collectors, particularly the aforementioned Pat who owned no fewer than 334 different examples. This figure was unsurprising, however, if you apply his criteria for collecting. Of note in our sale this month are six examples from the Gentle Noses series. Introduced for the first time in 2004, these are single-cask whiskies turned out just once (occasionally twice) per year and strictly limited to 120 bottles per release.

Not just elusive, the whiskies are also routinely of exceptional standard and the Gentle Noses series is as good a testament as any to Jack Wiebers’ ability to acquire casks of varied origin and incredible age. Of the six in our auction, all spent at least three decades in oak and among them is a particularly impressive 41-year-old Glenfarclas. Also included are whiskies from some of Scotland’s lesser-seen closed distilleries, such as sought-after Highland single malts from Banff and Glen Albyn, available stocks of which were already in short supply when closed in 1983 and both are now long since demolished.

 

Gentle Noses is also presented as a unique concept, based on the tale of rival families in China called Lee and Foo who apparently quarrelled over who had the better nose. Each label pits the fictional Jack Lee against Jumping Foo in a series of competitions to sniff out the finest whiskies. A perfectly self-contained selection, the bottles in our auction comprise a complete sub-series that casts Lee and Foo as Ancient Romans in Germania, each featuring a different chapter of this episode in their story on the back.

 

Jack Wiebers was not the first bottler, nor the last, to appreciate that a collector’s subjectivity can reveal as much value as time and scarcity do. Few, however, achieved it with such longevity, variety, and consistent quality. Those looking to extend or even begin a meaningful collection would be wise to discover his whiskies when they can.

This article is sponsored by Whisky Auctioneer and is created in partnership with the team at Whisky Magazine. This sponsorship does not influence Whisky Magazine's coverage of auctions and Whisky Auctioneer do not have input on editorial decisions.

 

About Whisky Auctioneer

 

Whisky Auctioneer is one of the global market leaders and trusted authorities on the buying and selling of whisky and spirits at auction. Founded in 2013 and located in Perth, Whisky Auctioneer utilises its expertise and knowledge combined with its auction platform, to increase interest and passion in the whisky and spirits community.

 

Whisky Auctioneer endeavours to make the market more accessible for buyers and sellers of any background and geography. Its monthly global auctions feature some of the most comprehensive selections of old, rare and collectible whiskies and spirits available online.

 

Whisky Auctioneer became the first online auction house to sell a million-pound bottle and outperformed the nearest traditional auction house by 200 per cent in value from spirits sales in 2020, showcasing the move that whisky collectors, investors and drinkers have already made online and firmly establishing their leading position within the modern secondary whisky market.

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