As the global hospitality industry continues to suffer to one degree or another due to impacts from the ongoing pandemic, attempts continue to be made on regional levels to help out. One such new undertaking is currently happening in Scotland, where The BEN, Scotland’s hospitality and licensed trade charity, has partnered with Whisky Auctioneer for a special online whisky auction to raise funds.
This charity auction, which began December 23rd and runs through January 11th, has, according to those behind, a curated list of rare and exclusive whiskies that are being auctioned off “to raise funds for the people of the drinks industry in Scotland who have fallen on hard times due to Covid-19.” Over 25 such bottlings have been contributed by Scotland’s whisky ambassadors, and 100% of the proceeds from each charity lot (identified with The BEN logo during the auction) will go to the charity to help meet an overwhelming number of requests for financial aid.
A few of The BEN auction highlights include:
- Imperial The Whisky Trail The Imperial Gallon 4.5 Litre & Sample – In what is believed to be a first for the Scotch whisky industry, the auction will feature an Imperial Gallon (4.5 litres) of Imperial single malt which has been very generously bottled by Elixir Distillers. Built in the last years on the 19th century, Imperial is a distillery with a sadly chequered history, spending almost as much time in mothballs as it did distilling. It was under Allied Distillers tenure that the only distillery bottling of its single malt appeared, but thankfully a number of increasingly sought after independent releases like this have been produced over the years.
- Auchentoshan 1966 44 Year Old – An impressive release from Auchentoshan, this spectacular whisky was distilled on 25th April 1966 and matured for a staggering 44 years in North American oak barrels. This is one of only 263 bottles released.
- Glenglassaugh 42 Year Old – This single cask was bottled from a hogshead sourced from Massandra, a winery in the Crimea. It was distilled in 1973 and aged for a total of 42 years. One of only 175 bottles, this is extra special as it is signed by Distillery Manager, Alan McConnochie.
- Chivas Regal The Icon – Chivas The Icon is a blend selected from some their rarest and oldest casks, some from ‘ghost’ distilleries lost forever. Chivas Brothers’ Master Blender has created a blend that represents the very finest of the Chivas Regal range, crafting a timeless icon to indulge with, it is presented in a hand-blown crystal decanter.
- Ardbeg 2005 The Whisky Cellar 14 Year Old / Private Cellars Selection – The auction will feature 25 bottles of a truly unique and particularly rare independently bottled Ardbeg from The Whisky Cellar’s Private Cellars Selection, offered exclusively to the Scottish Licensed Trade Benevolent Society. Distilled in March 2005, this iconic Single Islay Malt was aged for 14 years in single American hogshead #700038, before bottling in July 2019. Bottled at a cask strength of 51.9%, the cask yielded 25 bottles, all of which have been exclusively offered to raise funds for The BEN.
Also in the mix are what’s described as “two incredible experiences for whisky connoisseurs to get their hands on. The first is a special Glenfarclas tasting experience. This is your chance to bid on something unique – a private tasting for six people of Glenfarclas’ “Five Decades of Family Casks”, conducted online on a mutually convenient date. The guests will be taken through a tasting of 5 vintages from 1954 to 1993, featuring whiskies from 24 to an incredible 59 years of age.
“The second exclusive experience is a tasting event with award winning independent bottlers, Douglas Laing. Another once in a lifetime opportunity, the experience is valid for six whisky lovers to dive into a magical world of cask samples. This two hour tasting event is hosted by Douglas Laing ambassador, Stuart Baxter, who will select some remarkable whiskies from all over Scotland.”
“The BEN works tirelessly to help disadvantaged colleagues from the Hospitality sector,” said John Hutchison, President at The Ben, in a prepared statement. “2020 has been one of the hardest years for our sector and as a consequence we have helped a record number of beneficiaries, at the financial impact on us as a charity is significant, and all monies raised from this auction will go straight to helping individuals in Scotland.”
“Never has there been a more important time to form partnerships and support those in need in the hospitality industry,” added Iain McClune, founder of Whisky Auctioneer. “We’re proud to host the auction of these charity lots, which include an impressive collection of liquid and some incredible once-in-a-lifetime whisky experiences. I have no doubt they will attract widespread interest from whisky lovers and collectors across the globe.”
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...