Earlier this summer, The Distillers’ Charity and Sotheby’s announced a six-year partnership to host three biennial auctions of ultra-rare and unique Scotch whiskies and experiences under the name “The Distillers One of One”. The first Distillers One of One auction – comprising one-off, never-to-be-repeated lots specially created and donated by companies from across the Scotch Whisky industry – will take place on Friday 3 December 2021. The exceptional lots are now being revealed for the first time and will range in estimates from around £1,500 upwards to £500,000, all to be offered without reserve. Each lot has been carefully selected to showcase the excellence in craftsmanship, innovation and value of Scotch Whisky.
For the most serious collectors seeking an opportunity to own a piece of liquid history, some truly astonishing releases have been made available. Of particular note, as the highest valued lot of the auction, with an estimate of £350,000-£500,000, is a Talisker Cask of Distinction 1978. Casks of Distinction are selected on account of their outstanding quality, and this is the first ever to be offered at auction, paired with a cask-end that has been turned into an original work of art by Turner Prize nominee Callum Innes. After further ageing in the cask for up to five more years, the whisky will be housed in very special bottles and wooden presentation boxes, featuring the cask-end artwork of Callum Innes; another first for Casks of Distinction.
William Grant & Sons is providing three lots from Glenfiddich, The Balvenie and Ladyburn, all exceeding fifty years of age. Glenfiddich’s exceptional offering comprises four unique decanters – created especially for the auction and housed in a bespoke presentation case – from the 1950s: 1955, 1957, 1958 and 1959. The estimate for this ultra-rare collector’s piece is £220,000-350,000.
Beam Suntory are generously offering two lots, one from Bowmore, the other from Glen Garioch.
The Bowmore Onyx is an exceptionally rare and unique 51 Year Old single malt presented in a hand carved, bespoke black glass vessel, inspired by the terroir of the island home of Islay. Matured in a refill hogshead barrel from 1970, this whisky is bottled at 47% ABV, and is the first ever 51 Year Old released by Bowmore Distillery (estimate £100,000-180,000).
The Glen Garioch Cask lot features two full casks of whisky: the first, a 31-year-old cask from 1990; the second, an en primeur cask distilled in 2021 (estimate £100,000-150,000). The last time that Glen Garioch was distilled using direct fire on the stills was 31 years ago. The practice of direct firing is now being reintroduced and this will be the very first cask from the newly fired stills, making this a unique lot of historical significance.
Scotland’s Oldest Working Distillery, The Glenturret, is providing an exclusive Lalique decanter bottling containing a unique Single Malt whisky selected from 1987 Sherry casks created by Master Blender, Bob Dalgarno. To house this precious liquid, Lalique have created a spectacular One of One hand-blown decanter in green crystal; the rarest that is made. Included in this lot (estimate £15,000-25,000) is an invitation to The Glenturret Distillery to enjoy a sensational gastronomic experience, led by Head Chef, Mark Donald at the newly opened Lalique Restaurant.
On offer from Gordon & MacPhail, the 126-year-old family business, is an unforgettable, bespoke visit to Elgin in Scotland. The lucky recipient will not only tour the historical warehouses but also sample from a selection of maturing Single Malt casks from the 1940s and 1950s. After choosing their favourite of the casks, one bottle of the whisky it contains will be filled into a unique decanter, with a second bottle provided for drinking. This once in a lifetime experience carries an estimate of £80,000-160,000.
The Distillers’ Charity is the philanthropic arm of The Worshipful Company of Distillers. Proceeds from The Distillers One of One auction will benefit The Youth Action Fund, which has been created by The Distillers’ Charity focusing on supporting disadvantaged young people in Scotland, transforming their life chances and empowering them to create positive change in their lives and communities. Working with charity partners who offer education and training programmes, the fund will provide young people with opportunities to develop life skills, discover their values and be work-ready.
“The generosity the Scotch Whisky industry has shown in coming together to create these truly unique lots available for this landmark sale has been humbling. Countless young people will benefit for years to come, thanks to the results of the auction. It is a testament to the spirit of the people who work within both the family-owned businesses, and global companies that have contributed to this momentous occasion. We cannot thank enough all those who have come on board with us and Sotheby’s to help realise our mission, and to all the collectors who will be taking part on the day.”Jonathan Driver, Master of The Worshipful Company of Distillers
“This landmark sale, compiling such significant donations from so many world-renowned brands, shows the strength of community spirit in the Scotch Whisky industry. To bring this number of exceptional whiskies to auction, from unique bottles to rare casks offers, and all for a good cause, is reason enough to raise a glass to everyone involved.”Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Spirits Specialist