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5 Suprising Things You Didn’t Know About Silvano Samaroli

Samaroli is one of the biggest names in the independent bottling industry. Having been established in 1968 in Italy, the company has had an incredible impact on the whisky industry thanks to its eponymous founder. 

Silvano Samaroli was an industry titan, and an outspoken advocate of cask strength whisky and no-age-statement single malts in a time when blended whiskies sat firmly at the head of the market. 

So, with Samaroli’s reverence in mind, here are five fascinating facts about this whisky pioneer. 

1. Samaroli was the first non-British independent bottler of Scotch whisky 

Samaroli Srl Wine and Spirits Merchants was founded in 1968. However, for the first decade of its life, the company operated as an importer rather than a bottler. 

This changed in 1979, when Samaroli released the Samaroli Cadenhead Dumpies: whiskies selected by Samaroli and bottled in Scotland by Cadenhead

As an Italy-based company, Samaroli became the first independent bottler of Scotch whisky to be based outside of Great Britain. Today, there are numerous overseas independent bottlers of Scotch whisky such as Kingsbury (Japan) and Jack Wieber’s Whisky World (Germany). 

In the years following Samaroli’s establishment, many other Italian whisky enthusiasts followed suit. Today, Italy is home to some of the most revered independent bottlers in the industry, and the country has a lasting legacy when it comes to scotch whisky. Some additional Italian independent bottlers include Moon Import, Sestante, Intertrade, and Wilson & Morgan.

2. The Samaroli Cadenhead Dumpies are criminally undervalued 

The Macallan 1962 Samaroli 17 Year Old Cadenhead Dumpy via. Whisky Auctioneer.

Considering the importance of the Samaroli Cadenhead Dumpies in Samaroli’s history and development (and the astonishing prices that the Samaroli Flowers bottles sell for – see below) the dumpies can be bought at auction for some relatively cheap prices. 

For example, the Macallan 1962 17 Year Old last sold at auction for £2,600. The Highland Park 1957 22 Year Old last sold at auction for just £1,800. And a 1964 Springbank 15 Year Old last sold for £3,245.

The Samaroli Cadenhead Dumpies are also very scarce at auction, with just 47 results for the entire range since 2018, and nothing prior. 

These were Samaroli’s first bottlings as an independent bottler rather than as an importer. As such, they are a vital aspect of Samaroli’s development into the industry giant that we know and love today. 

Money cannot buy that kind of history and significance. But a few thousand pounds will buy you a Samaroli Cadenhead Dumpy.

3. The two highest-rated bottles on WhiskyFun, ever, are Samaroli whiskies        

The Bowmore 1966 Samaroli Bouquet via. Whisky Auctioneer.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of Samaroli’s bottlings to the whisky industry. But perhaps a good place to start is that the Bowmore 1966 Bouquet and the Laphroaig 1967 15 Year Old from the Samaroli Flowers series are widely considered the best whiskies to ever have been bottled. 

Of course, the nature of the secondary market means that these bottles are unattainable for most; they are both extremely scarce and very expensive. In fact, the auction records are currently £61,000 for the Laphroaig and £60,000 for the Bowmore. 

As for the taste? Well, according to Serge Valentin and Angus MacRaild of WhiskyFun, they are both nothing short of incredible, with both whiskies achieving 98 points.  

Of the Laphroaig, Serge says “it leaves you breathless”, and Angus calls the Bowmore “utterly spellbinding”.    

4. Samaroli designed the labels for the Flowers series himself 

Silvano Samaroli was a hands-on company owner and, when the Flowers series was envisioned, he decided that he would design the labels himself. 

The labels feature timeless and simple illustrations of various flowers. As such, the labels have become one of the most recognisable aspects of the Samaroli Flowers series. The series is often considered to be Samaroli’s most legendary output. 

5. Collecting Scotch Whisky by Emmanuel Dron is dedicated to his late friend, Silvano Samaroli 

The dedication to Silvano Samaroli in Emmanuel Dron’s Collecting Scotch Whisky.

Silvano Samaroli passed away in February 2017 at the age of 77, and his loss was mourned by both industry professionals and whisky drinkers. 

Samaroli was good friends with Emmanuel Dron, the owner of the Auld Alliance bar in Singapore. In 2018 he published Collecting Scotch Whisky, a huge book containing images, facts, and figures about a very large number of scotch whisky bottlings. The work was Dron’s magnum opus and has recently been featured on our YouTube channel

Inside the cover of Collecting Scotch Whisky was a dedication to Silvano Samaroli, who had died just one year before the book’s publication. A photo of Samaroli and Dron smoking a cigar appears above the words “in memory of Silvano Samaroli”. 

Dron’s dedication was just one of hundreds of kind words spoken about Silvano Samaroli, in recognition of the fact that the whisky industry would not be the same today if it weren’t for him. 

If you would like to read a more detailed history of Samaroli, click here.

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