Welsh whisky from 1900 sells for £14k

Two bottles of Welsh whisky dating back to 1900, and which were expected to fetch around £6,000, have sold for £14,500 at auction, setting a precedent for whiskies of this age and origin in the future.

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Royal Welsh Whisky

The bottles, produced by The Welsh Whisky Distillery Company, were sold online by Peter Francis Auctioneers in Carmarthen, Wales.

The Welsh Whisky Distillery Company, who produced Royal Welsh Whisky, was founded in Frongoch, Bala, Gwynedd, in 1889, but was sold in 1900 for £5,000. It was eventually liquidated in 1910.

The distillery became a World War One prison camp and later an internment camp after the Easter Rising in the Republic of Ireland.

Initial estimates placed the value of these two bottles at around £3,000 each, however one sold for £7,300 and the other £7,200 – both to private collectors.

The bottles were originally bought by a wine merchant in Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, in the 1960s for £5 each.

Prior to the sale auctioneer Charles Hampshire admitted that it was “almost impossible” to put a figure on the bottles as there was nothing to compare it to.

Consequently, this sale is likely to set a precedent for future auctions of Welsh whisky, which tend to err of the fruitier, sweeter side, sometimes showing tropical fruits, herbal notes, oak and chocolate.

Welsh whisky, and even more so old bottlings, are extremely rare by nature as the country’s whisky industry has always remained small. Production all but died out with the wrapping up of the Welsh Whisky Distillery Company in 1910.

Wales becomes a ‘whisky nation’

Only this year was the country officially declared a “whisky-producing nation”, following the first bottling of a whisky at the Dà Mhìle Distillery – which is only the second distillery in Wales.

Prior to the opening of Dà Mhìle in west Wales, Penderyn was the only distillery in Wales, which was established in 2000 by the Welsh Whisky Company Ltd and at the time was the first
whisky distillery in Wales for over a century.

Under European Union legislation, a country can only can only market itself as a whisky-producing nation if it has at least two distilleries producing and marketing whisky.

The expression to give Wales “whisky” status was Dà Mhìle Single Grain Welsh Whisky, an organic single grain NAS release aged in ex-Bourbon casks.

In March 2014, Dà Mhìle Distillery released a gin made using algae from the Newquay coast, which was then infused with fresh seaweed for three weeks.

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