Cover Ardbeg rare casks

Sotheby’s has partnered with The Distiller’s Charity to launch ‘One of One’ auctions featuring unique whiskies and experiences, with proceeds going to support disadvantaged young people in Scotland

From the opening of The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant in July to the auction of Gordon & MacPhail’s 80 year old whisky, the world's oldest single malt to go under the hammer, in October, 2021 seems to be a year of plenty for the Scotch whisky industry. Distilleries have been reimagining the future of Scotland’s whisky scene, announcing exciting new initiatives that are sure to leave a lasting impact. Latest on this list of developments is a partnership between Sotheby’s and The Distiller’s Charity, an initiative that has the potential to offer remarkable whisky experiences unlike any other.

The six-year partnership will feature three biennial auctions of ultra-rare and unique Scotch whiskies and experiences, known as 'The Distillers One of One', celebrating the vibrancy and excellence of Scotland’s whisky scene.

The first of these ‘One of One’ auctions will take place on Friday 3 December and will see more than 40 lots go under the hammer, each one exclusively created and donated by leading Scotch whisky distilleries and ranging from £1,500 to upwards of £500,000.

One of the highlights of the auction is the Glenfiddich: 1950s, a four decanter prelude set of one-off bottlings from Glenfiddich distilled in the 1950s and including expressions from 1955, 1957, 1958 and 1959. These are housed in a cabinet fitted with a high precision thermometer and hygrometer from world-renowned instrument makers Fischer to allow storage conditions to be carefully controlled. The estimate on this lot is £220,000-350,000.

Another special lot is the Talisker cask bottling, which is a minimum of 43 Year Old with the option to mature for an extra five years. This single cask is from the Diageo “casks of distinction” range of whiskies, and was specially commissioned for the occasion. A unique cask head artwork by Scottish painter and Turner Prize-nominee Callum Innes will also be reproduced on the bottling. This lot is estimated at £350,000-500,000.

There will also be the opportunity to bid on Glen Garioch casks, a lot which includes two casks from Glen Garioch, one a 1990 cask matured at a time when the distillery exclusively used direct fire, and the other one of the first casks to be filled following the restoration of direct fired stills and floor maltings. The two casks are presented in a bespoke oak cradle, and estimated at £100,000-150,000.

The Bowmore Onyx will also be going under the hammer—a unique 51 Year Old single malt presented in a hand carved, bespoke black glass vessel, inspired by the terroir of Islay, the place Bowmore calls home. Matured in a refill hogshead barrel from 1970, this is the first ever 51 Year Old released by Bowmore Distillery and is estimated at £100,000-180,000.

Other lots include the Tomatin 50 Year Old (estimate £15,000-20,000), bottled exclusively for the Worshipful Company of Distillers and only the second ever bottling of Tomatin 50 Year Old, presented in a luxury decanter and wooden box with one-off certificate; and The Glenturret ‘Seul’ (estimate £15,000-25,000), a unique, single malt presented in a one-of-a-kind hand-blown green crystal decanter from Lalique and housed in a bespoke cabinet hand carved from a single piece of white Scottish sycamore. The latter lot also includes a tour of The Glenturret distillery and dinner for up to eight people at The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant.

A host of other enticing, exclusive lots from the likes of Ardbeg, Arbikie, Balblair, Bruichladdich, Glen Moray, GlenAllachie, Gordon & MacPhail, Holyrood, and Kilchoman, to name a few, will also be included in the initial auction. Proceeds go towards a fund from The Distiller’s Charity that aims to support disadvantaged young people across Scotland. The fund will be working with charity partners such as The Prince’s Foundation and the Youth Action Fund to give young people the chance of a better future and to empower them to create positive change.

For more information on The Distillers: One of One auction, visit the Sotheby’s website. The first One of One auction will take place on 3 December, with bidding open from 3 November 2021.