Sotheby’s to auction ‘ultra-rare’ whisky casks estimated at £1.2m each
Sotheby’s is set to auction two casks of whisky from the Brora and Port Ellen distilleries, estimated at between £700,000 and £1,200,000, in partnership with Diageo.
The auction house will offer what it has described as two “ultra-rare” casks of whisky, one from each distillery, from Diageo’s Casks of Distinction programme.
These offerings are from Brora and Port Ellen’s dwindling stocks of ghost casks, containing the liquid left behind when the distilleries fell silent.
Carrying an estimate of £700,000 to £1,200,000 each, they will open Sotheby’s sale of Scotch whisky in London on 14 June, with advance bidding open from 31 May.
The the whisky in the Brora cask was distilled in 1982, and is estimated to yield 145 bottles. Distilled in 1979, the Port Ellen cask is estimated to yield 102 bottles.
Successful bidders will be invited to further age their casks for up to five years before they are bottled.
Diageo will donate 5% of the final hammer price from both casks to Care International to support the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
The sale of the casks is part of Sotheby’s month-long programme of exhibitions and events in its New Bond Street premises to mark the Platinum Jubilee, taking place from 28 May to 15 June.
Sotheby’s first whisky auction of 2022 in London will also include a number of bottles of whisky from Scotland and Japan, as well as a small selection of vintage Moutai from China.
Both casks on offer come with what the auction house is calling an “artistic experience”. The resulting artwork will be printed on each of the bottles of the cask yield.
The Brora distillery was reopened in May 2021 after a three-year restoration. Photographer Trey Ratcliff will travel to Scotland with the cask owner to capture images of the surrounding landscape. The cask owner’s selected image will become a large format edition print, and be used to create a set of bespoke labels for the bottles drawn from the cask.
Port Ellen, located on the western edge of the Isle of Islay, will again begin to produce spirits from summer 2023.
Artist and designer Ini Archibong will create a piece of art meant to capture the the light of Port Ellen in coloured glass. The design will also be used to create bespoke labels for the bottles drawn from the cask.