The Distillers One of One

The Distillers One of One

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 21. Talisker Cask of Distinction 1978 + Artwork by Callum Innes (1 HGH).


Talisker Cask of Distinction 1978 + Artwork by Callum Innes (1 HGH)

Auction Closed

December 3, 03:43 PM GMT


350,000 - 500,000 GBP

Lot Details


Talisker Cask of Distinction 1978 + Artwork by Callum Innes


This Talisker Cask of Distinction 1978, donated by Diageo, embodies a unique, priceless combination of art, craft and philanthropy. Selected as a Cask of Distinction on account of its outstanding quality, this 43-Year-Old cask of still-maturing Talisker single malt Scotch whisky is paired with a cask-end that has been turned into an original work of art by acclaimed Scottish painter Callum Innes. This is the first time a Cask of Distinction has been sold at auction and offers the opportunity to own an iconic piece of liquid history.


This cask can be stored for up to a further 5 years from the auction close date before bottling. Once the successful bidder chooses to bottle the cask, they will become the sole owner of one of the world’s rarest and most highly respected whiskies, with dedicated packaging featuring the artwork of Callum Innes, another first for Casks of Distinction.


In addition to this truly unique opportunity, the successful bidder and friends will be welcomed as VIP guests at the home of Casks of Distinction in Royal Deeside, where they can see their cask maturing inside the Casks of Distinction Warehouse.

The entire outturn of refill American Oak Hogshead No. 3943

Filled on: 14th July 1978

As of 9th July 2021 regauge, strength and yield estimated at 52.9% abv and 148 bottles

The cask end measures: 62 cm x (depth) 4 cm

Travel crate measures: 76.7cm x 76.7 cm x (depth) 16.7 cm

1 Hogshead (cask) & work of art

Lying with the donor. In Bond Only.

Tasting Notes:


Charles MacLean describes the whisky as “a magnificent expression of Talisker; mellow and sophisticated, which one would expect at this age, but still lively and true to the make’s maritime and spicy character.”


Appearance: Deep, shining gold. Really good beading.


Nose: Mellow in feel with very light prickle; both subtle and drying overall. A sea breeze soon appears, growing in force on a walk along the shoreline, with maritime suggestions of sea-salt, iodine-rich seaweed and sand dunes supported by just a hint of fruit, suggesting pears in syrup. These top notes sit on a base of oiled wood, with a trace of balsamic vinegar. A drop of water dries the aroma further and removes the fruitiness, but otherwise does not alter the character save by bringing up a brief note of volcanic smoke.


Body: Medium to full.


Palate: At natural strength, an appealing smooth, lightly oily texture introduces a sweet start, with a marine salty tang soon apparent, then a wisp of smoke, in what remains throughout a vibrant taste. Most elegantly composed, with plenty of trademark pepper-spice and that Talisker ‘kick’ on swallowing. Little changed with water but slightly sweeter at first, before the spiciness re-appears.


Finish: Long and drying with more Szechuan pepper spice, leaving a mouth-cooling aftertaste. With water, lighter, yet still finishing long, peppery, drying and spicy.


Please refer to Cask Conditions Appendix 3 under the Conditions of Business tab for details of Donor’s Cask Conditions. For the avoidance of doubt, please note that to the extent there is any inconsistency between Donor’s Cask Conditions and Sotheby’s Conditions of Business relating to the sale of the lot, Sotheby’s Conditions of Business shall take precedence except to the extent the inconsistency relates to the storage, bottling, insurance and delivery of the whisky to the buyer, in which case the Donor’s Cask Conditions shall take precedence.

Please also note that additional fees may apply under the Cask Conditions. By bidding on this Lot you accept and agree to be bound by the Cask Conditions and the buyer of the Lot agrees to provide a signed version of the Cask Conditions immediately after the sale. 

Please note the purchase price does not include applicable shipping, taxes or import charges which may be charged in addition to the purchase price.

For VAT queries, please contact:

Should you wish to ship, store or bottle your purchases, arrangements will be made directly with the Donor of this lot. Sotheby's will provide an introduction between the relevant buyer and donor in order for this to be arranged.

Please note that the Calum Innes artwork, which accompanies this cask, is painted onto a wooden surface comprising a number of individual oak staves. Given the nature of this wooden cask-head surface it is likely that over time the artwork itself will change based on the movements of the wooden surface. These natural developments are part of Calum Innes’ initial artistic vision for the piece.