With a bit more time on my hands, and bored of attempting yet another failed sourdough, (I’m not sure if I’m over-kneading, or if I simply haven’t fed my starter enough) I’ve gone back to buying bread from my local bakery, which leaves me more time to concentrate on whisky.
This has been an opportunity to try new things and hunt down some new bottles to add to my collection. I’ve been discovering new spirits, new bottlers, new distilleries, and even some crazy wine finishes (or maybe not). With that in mind, I thought I’d put together a little preview of some of the bottles coming up in our next auction which starts on Sunday 7 June.
The auction also includes 100 weird and wonderful bottles donated by Liverymen of The Worshipful Company of Distillers’ to benefit The Drinks Trust emergency COVID-19 appeal.
A real relic, bottled almost 100 years ago, this whisky from the closed Stromness distillery on Orkney was bottled in the 1920s, when Stromness was owned by J & J McConnell Ltd. Economic hardship forced the closure of the distillery way back in 1928.
The whisky still has plenty of life and provides a snapshot of the style and production techniques of its day. It’s the bottle to watch even if it’s beyond your budget.
Despite most of the label missing, the whisky is simply so scarce that it is expected to fetch many thousands of pounds.
Next up we have two bottles of Springbank from Samaroli’s Ageing Monography series, bottled by R W Duthie & Co. in 1989. The series explores the maturation and evolution of Springbank over time in both wood and glass, something which was revolutionary at the time, and featured Springbanks from 18 months old right through to this 23 year old. Silvano Samaroli was a pioneer of his day and these bottles certainly illustrate both the passion and foresight of one of the most legendary bottlers.
This private bottling of Ben Nevis was distilled the much heralded 96 vintage, and bottled for A Wilson by Bristol Spirits in 2017. There’s also a 1990 vintage Highland Park from a single butt in the same series. Private bottlings are always worth exploring and tend to represent some of the more interesting and unusual characteristics of a particular distillery. I’ve never come across this Ben Nevis before so I’m expecting a serious tussle for this one.
The second bottling of Lagavulin to be released by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. 92 Points, Whiskyfun.
This 1906 vintage Cognac was bottled by Berry Brothers way back in 1967. It comes from the Grand Champagne region of Cognac, a tiny area helpfully displayed on the map featured on this lovely old label.
This Courvoisier is a remarkably rare Cognac, in which the youngest spirit dates from the 1930s and the oldest from as far back as 1802.
Hailing from the closed Caroni distillery on Trinidad, this rum was bottled at a whopping 51.4% ABV. Caroni from this era is extremely sought after and doesn’t often appear at auction, especially in this kind of condition.
Produced for the 500th anniversary of the city of Havana, this is one of only 500 individually numbered, mouth blown decanters, inspired by the architecture of Havana. The presentation box features ornate gold detail which echoes the ironwork found in historic Havana Vieja.
Matured in a single barrel at the base of Nicaragua’s most active volcano, this 30 year old rum was bottled as a tribute to the dedication and commitment to excellence of the thousands of workers and the five family generations who’ve been part of the Flor De Cana journey since 1890.
The year 1976 was an excellent vintage in Germany, with famed wine critic Michael Broadbent MW describing it as producing ‘soft, fleshy, extremely attractive wines’. Shipped in the late 1970s or early 1980s, this TBA was kept in Hallgarten’s cellars, then for the last 25 years in controlled conditions at 11°C. TBA has the highest sugar content in the Prädikatswein category of German wine, and this sugar/acid balance makes for a fascinating wine indeed.
This classic 1973 claret from Chateau Mouton Rothschild comes from the year in which the Chateau was promoted to First Growth Status. The label features artwork by Pablo Picasso.
This red Burgundy hails from the 0.84 hectare Clos du Roi vineyard in Beaune and was donated to the Hospices for its charitable wine auction, held every year in November since 1924.
A real oddity here. This was created as a sample bottle ahead of a possible commercial release in the early 1990s, but unfortunately never made it to production. We cannot guarantee the contents are any sort of Jamaican Cane Rum, as such this is listed for historical interest and not for human consumption.
The 1997 release of the Reserva De La Familia, an extra-anejo Tequila first produced in 1995 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Jose Cuervo. Selected from the Cuervo family private stocks, each bottle is made using only blue agave harvested at its peak after seven to 12 years of growth, and aged in French and American oak barrels for a minimum of three years.
Produced to commemorate De Kuyper’s tercentenary as an independent family company, this bottle was personally gifted to the donor by Bob De Kuyper, the 10th generation of his family to own and run the company.