The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Rare whiskies to be auctioned for UK drinks charity


A collection of rare whiskies is going under the hammer this weekend at an auction run by the IWSC to help those in the UK hospitality industry affected by COVID-19.

The whiskies, which have been held by the IWSC in optimum conditions for the last 25 years, were blended by seven of Scotland’s most renowned distillers in 1994.

They were produced to celebrate the 500th anniversary of a 1494 ruling in the Scottish Exchequer, which is seen as the moment Scotch whisky became legal.

The distillers – Allied Distillers, Whyte & Mackay, Morrison Bowmore Distillers, William Grant, Burn Stewart, United Distillers and Inverhouse Distillers – produced 500 bottles each. Each company was only permitted to make one blend, regardless of how many distilleries it owned.

These were submitted to a panel of the most eminent whisky judges at the time, overseen by the IWSC. The finest blend was judged to be Whyte & Mackay’s Anniversary Blend.

Whyte & Mackay’s distillery’s master blender Richard Paterson, who joined the company in 1970, remembers the blending process as an intense time.

“The blend had to be parcels of minimum 21 years of age,” says Paterson. “I selected from various parts of the Highlands and matured it in 30-year-old sherry casks from Gonzalez Byass to get the fresh almond and citrus style I was looking for. It was a meticulous process.”

The scroll from 1494 was etched onto a copper plate and presented to Whyte & Mackay as a prize; it is still displayed at the distiller’s Glasgow headquarters.

Six sets of these whiskies have been held by the IWSC; they are now to be auctioned by the web-based auctioneer Whisky.Auction, which is using its April auction, beginning on Sunday 5 April, to raise money for UK drinks industry charity, The Drinks Trust.

All proceeds, including buyers’ commission, will go to the charity, which was set up in 1886 to provide for those in the UK hospitality industry who needed help.

This industry was one of the first to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing has meant that many bars and restaurants were forced to lay off staff from the first weeks of the crisis.

The whiskies to be auctioned are highly collectible and have been sold a number of times over the years: Whyte & Mackay auctioned a single bottle of their winning blend for £1000. They will be sold as four complete sets of seven bottles; the fifth set will be sold as seven separate lots.

The auction begins on 5 April. For more information, head to Whisky.Auction