Whisky of Distinction | Port Ellen & Brora: Casks From A Bygone Era
Live Auction: 14 June 2022 • 2:00 PM BST • London

Whisky of Distinction | Port Ellen & Brora: Casks From A Bygone Era 14 June 2022 • 2:00 PM BST • London

S otheby’s presents its first whisky auction of 2022 in London. This sale takes place during our Jubilee celebrations and to mark this occasion we have partnered with Diageo, the world’s largest portfolio owner of Scotch Whisky, to offer two exclusive casks: one from Port Ellen and one from Brora Distillery. Both casks are offered exclusively at this auction directly from the distillery alongside artist collaborations with Ini Archibong and Trey Ratcliff respectively as well as unique experiences. Diageo will donate a portion of the proceeds to CARE International to support the crisis in Ukraine. These casks are supported by Japanese and Scotch Whisky lots from coveted distilleries such as Hanyu, Karuizawa, The Macallan and Glenfiddich.

Auction Highlights

An Extraordinary Opportunity For Collectors Across The World To Own Two Diageo Casks Of Distinction

This auction offers up two never-to-be-seen-again casks from Diageo’s Casks of Distinction programme, a unique opportunity for individuals in which Diageo offers exclusive access to purchase individual casks of rare and exceptional Single Malt Scotch Whisky from its unrivalled stocks.

These offerings are among the rarest and most precious casks in existence from Brora and Port Ellen’s dwindling stocks of ghost casks. Each cask comes with a unique artistic experience in collaboration with the cask owner and commissions from two artists. The artwork envisioned will be printed on each of the bottles from the cask yield making them incredibly special. Both closed in 1983, Brora and Port Ellen became renowned for the exceptional quality and character of whisky maturing in their shuttered warehouses. Viewed as the lost icons of the whisky world, these two distilleries and whiskies gained legendary status during their closed years.

The Spirit Of Brora With Trey Ratcliff

The Highland distillery of Brora is located where land meets sea at the north-eastern edge of Scotland. Closed in 1983, Brora became renowned for the exceptional quality and character of whisky maturing in its shuttered warehouses. Now 202-years-old, Brora distillery was reawakened in May 2021 following a meticulous three-year restoration. Whilst the distillery has reopened, there is limited whisky that remains from before its closure, with this cask being one of the rarest in existence for sale from Brora.

Lot 2, Brora 1982 Cask Of Distinction: The Spirit Of Brora With Trey Ratcliff
Estimate £700,000–1,200,000

New Zealand based Trey Ratcliff, renowned for his mesmerising landscape photography which explores the beauty at the edge of the world, will travel to Scotland for the very first time to capture images that bring to life the landscape that helped shape this incredible whisky. Accompanied by the cask owner, one of the photographs they capture together will become a large format edition print for the owner to hang as they wish. The unique image will also be printed on bespoke labels for the bottles drawn from the cask.

Capturing The Light Of Port Ellen With Ini Archibong

Located on the western edge of the Isle of Islay, or the “Queen of the Hebrides”, Port Ellen is a priceless jewel in Diageo’s crown; glistening and glittering, with thousands of miles of ocean and sunlight stretching out in front of it every day. Gaining legendary status during its closed years, this cask is the most precious cask in existence from Port Ellen’s dwindling stocks of ghost casks. With its door shuttered in 1983, the current plan is for the distillery to start making whisky again in 2023.

Lot 1, Port Ellen 1979 Cask Of Distinction: Capturing The Light With Ini Archibong
Estimate £700,000–1,200,000

Ini Archibong, the globally recognised designer and artist, will create a unique piece of art capturing the light of Port Ellen and its spirit in coloured glass. The one-off sculpture will be a physical expression of the “Dram and the Water”; representing the precious nature of the liquid inside the cask, whilst unified and juxtaposed with our most precious resource – water. Crafted from Murano Glass and finished in the colours of Islay, the unique sculptural piece will be presented to the cask owner in Port Ellen once the distillery has reopened. Ini will also develop and create a bespoke colour gradient that will be used to design a set of labels for the bottles drawn from the cask.

The Cask Ownership Process

Alongside these two majestic casks, the sale comprises a number of bottles of highly collectible fine and rare whisky from both Scotland and Japan, as well as a small selection of vintage Moutai from China.

Scotch Whisky

As arguably one of the most sought-after collections of Scotch whisky ever released, The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection is a truly iconic set of whiskies which encapsulates the very best craftsmanship and expertise the Speyside distillery has to offer. The six whiskies, ranging from 50 to 65 years in age, are extremely seldom seen as a full set due to the small number of each decanter produced. Originally released over a period of around ten years, only the most dedicated of collectors were able to acquire all six, thus completing the set. We are delighted to also offer a single bottle of the first release, The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars 50 Year Old, bottled into a more unusual 75cl decanter for the US market.

Lot 32, Glenfiddich 45 Year Old
Estimate £24,000–30,000

Alongside these, the sale includes a bottle of Glenfiddich never seen before on the secondary market. This Glenfiddich 45 Year Old is one of the rarest bottles ever released by the distillery, with a total outturn of just three bottles. This whisky, bottle number two of three, was created especially for DFS Masters of Wine & Spirits 2019 in Singapore and is seen at auction for the very first time.

Away from the mainland are a number of bottles distilled at Bowmore Distillery on Islay, including each of the three bottles which form the Bowmore Trilogy. The Bowmore Black Sherry Cask 42 Year Old, Bowmore Gold Fine Oak Cask 44 Year Old and Bowmore White Bourbon Cask 43 Year Old were all distilled in 1964, during what was arguably the greatest era of production at Bowmore.

Japanese Whisky

A strong and varied offering of Japanese Whisky makes up the second half of this sale, with bottles from Karuizawa, Hanyu and Yamazaki Distilleries providing the highlights.

The Ichiro’s Malt Cards Series, distilled at Hanyu distillery, is the most collectible series of Japanese whiskies ever produced. Based on a pack of playing cards, each label features a different card, and the whiskies were hand chosen by Ichiro Akuto, Grandson of Isouji Akuto, who founded the Hanyu Distillery in the early 1940s.

Lot 34, Hanyu Ichiro's Malt The Monochrome Joker
Estimate £22,000–30,000

With no fewer than 15 bottles from the series included within this sale, the standout is certainly the rarest of them all, The Monochrome Joker, the last and very final release. With only 241 bottles produced, and many of those now consumed, this is undoubtedly one of the most iconic bottles in Japanese Whisky history.

Aside from the cards is a bottle of The Yamazaki The Owner's Cask 1993, bottled in 2008 to celebrate Kashima Antlers Football Club winning the domestic J League in 2007, and a number of Karuizawa single casks from a several bottling series, dating back from 1970 all the way through to 1995.

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