The Distillers' Charity, the philanthropic arm of the Worshipful Company of Distillers, and Sotheby's have revealed the first lots going under the hammer in the second Distillers One of One auction in October.
The inaugural auction of ultra-rare and unique Scotch whiskies and experiences took place at Barnbougle Castle near Edinburgh in December 2021 and raised more than £3 million, with £2.4 million going to the Distillers' Charity's four Youth Action Fund beneficiaries in Scotland.
In 2022, the Distillers' Company and Sotheby's announced that the second auction (one of three planned in total) would be taking place on Thursday, 5 October at Hopetoun House. To date, 35 companies have confirmed their participation putting forward 40 lots with estimates ranging from £5,000 to £500,000. More information and registration of interest in the 2023 auction can be found at distillersoneofone.com.
Among the companies participating are 13 Founder brands, including Bowmore, The Glen Grant, The Glenturret, Holyrood, Aberfeldy, Royal Salute, and House of Hazelwood. Lots so far announced by the Founder brands include:
– Bowmore STAC (estimate £300,000–£500,000): At 55 years old, the Bowmore STAC is the oldest whisky released to date by the Islay distillery, distilled in 1962 and aged in a refill American oak hogshead. It is presented in a vessel that has been described as architecturally groundbreaking, inspired by Hebridean sea stacks. Organisers expect it to be one of the most hotly contested lots in the sale.
– The Glenturret Enduring Spirit (estimate £40,000–£80,000): a set of four bespoke Lalique decanters, created using archived moulds from the 1980s, filled with four whiskies from The Glenturret's renowned whisky maker Bob Dalgarno. Each expression will feature an image, sandblasted onto the crystal, of a key moment in the Crieff distillery's 260-year history. The lot also includes an invitation to visit the distillery and dine in its Michelin-starred Glenturret Lalique restaurant.
– Royal Salute The Coronation of King Charles III Edition – The Distillers One of One Special Reserve (estimate £14,000–£24,000): Pernod Ricard is offering a unique edition of its Coronation bottling, a blend of more than 50 Scotch whiskies composed by master blender Sandy Hyslop and including liquid from the Royal Salute 1962 Reserve Cask. It comes in a sapphire-tinted Dartington Crystal decanter and is presented in a chiselled wood box inspired by Westminster Abbey.
– The Glen Grant The Visionary (estimate £50,000–£90,000): This 68-year-old release from Campari-owned Glen Grant is the oldest in this year's auction, and among the oldest released to date by the Rothes distillery. The spirit was distilled in 1955 and matured in a single sherry cask. It is presented in a battuto-cut magnum decanter, inspired by the vessel that James 'The Major' Grant used to house exotic plants and fruits he discovered on his worldly travels.
– Glenglassaugh Coalescence of the Coast (estimate £15,000–£24,000): Following the launch of a new trio of core whiskies in June, Brown Forman-owned Highlands distillery Glenglassaugh is donating a 55-year-old whisky to the Distillers One of One. The whisky comprises liquid from casks filled in 1963, 1965, and 1967, and the expression is housed in a crystal decanter and carved wooden box, adorned with serpentine marble from the North Sea coast.
– Holyrood Arrival bottle no. 1 (estimate £5,000–£10,000): Edinburgh distillery Holyrood, one of the youngest Founder brands, will be auctioning the first bottle of its Arrival single malt whisky, due to launch officially in the autumn. The expression is inspired by the Innocent Railway terminal in Edinburgh, where the distillery was established in 2019, and its bottle design, with a beer-bottle silhouette and use of brown glass, takes inspiration from the city's brewing heritage.
– Bacardi Aberfeldy 39 Years Old and MacDuff 52 Years Old (estimates £10,000–£20,000): Bacardi is offering two lots to this year's sale. The first is a 39-year-old expression from Aberfeldy, drawn from cask no. 1 which was distilled in December 1983. The second is a 52-year-old expression from MacDuff, distilled in 1971. It is only the second known release to have come from directly from the distillery under its own name. Both are bottled in crystal carafes from La Cristallerie Royale de Saint-Louis in France.
– House of Hazelwood Christmas at Hazelwood: Presented in the form of an advent calendar, this lot from the William Grant & Sons luxury brand contains a 50ml measure of each House of Hazelwood release to date behind 24 numbered doors, along with a 700ml bottle of a 51-year-old sherry cask-matured blend for 25 December. The calendar has been hand-crafted from sycamore, walnut, and brass by Linley Design.
Beanie Geraedts-Espey, managing director of Distillers Ventures, which was founded in 2022 to lead the Distillers One of One auctions, said: “The remarkable results of the inaugural One of One auction were a testament to what can be achieved when an industry truly comes together both to celebrate and forge positive impact. The success of the 2021 auction, together with the enduring commitment of so many incredible donor brands, as well as sponsors, is driving us to create an even more memorable event this coming October. Judging by the exceptional quality and creativity of our donors’ lots, we hope to once again achieve record-breaking hammer prices in support of our charity.”
Jonny Fowle, global head of spirits at Sotheby's, said: “The second Distillers One of One auction is already generating a buzz among collectors who have been eagerly awaiting news of this year’s lots, so it is exciting to finally unveil a selection of highlights. Featuring the oldest whisky ever released from Bowmore, Glenglassaugh, Old Pulteney, MacDuff and Kilchoman, the highly anticipated event will further cement the significance of what has established itself as the biggest charity spirits auction of its kind. This is clearly an occasion for which the creativity and generosity of the Scotch whisky industry comes to the fore.”
Alongside the Founder, Member and Associate donors to the auction, the Distillers One of One is has sponsors including Simpsons Malt, McLaren Packaging, and Glencairn Crystal. Beamish International, a private-client business specialising in rare whisky, will be the headline programme sponsor for 2023/2024 and Bentley Motors Edinburgh and Forsyths will be auction event sponsors for the this year's sale.