A bottle of Port Ellen single malt, made for the Queen’s visit to Islay in 1980, recently broke auction records at Whisky Auctioneer.
This bottle is now said to be the world’s most expensive 12-year-old whisky after reaching a hammer price of £100,000 on Whisky Auctioneer’s online platform.
A statement from Whisky Auctioneer estimated that only 40 of these bottles are in existence, and this particular bottle was found under the stairs of a house in Edinburgh.
Joe Wilson, head curator and spirits specialist at Whisky Auctioneer, explained that it was Gordon McIntosh who discovered the modest treasure in a cupboard under the stairs of his family home. At the time, he didn’t know that this was one of Port Ellen Distillery’s ‘crown jewels.’
For the auction, 10 bidders from the UK, U.S. and Hong Kong competed for the rare bottle, before it reached a final hammer price of £100,000 (plus commissions). The winning bidder was based in Hong Kong.
“This phenomenal result has broken the previous auction record for the Port Ellen distillery by more than £25,000 and is a testament to the special reverence held by whisky collectors for the Islay distillery,” Wilson said. “As the most expensive 12-year-old whisky ever sold at auction, the result is not only one for the history books at Port Ellen, but for the entire Scotch whisky category.”
After nearly 40 years shuttered, Port Ellen Distillery will open again in 2023. Wilson said the record-breaking bottle sale showcases the opportunity to own a piece of the distillery’s history as they look forward to its future.
The last time this bottle sold at auction was with Whisky Auctioneer in 2021, achieving a hammer price of £72,000.
In other sales in this auction, an entire cask of Ardbeg distilled in 1994 reached a hammer price of £205,000. A vertical of The Macallan’s 18 Year Old single malt climbed to £65,000. And a trio of vintages from lost-Japanese distillery Karuizawa reached a hammer price of £42,000.
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