By John Rose

Ask the expert

I have a moderate collection of various malt whiskies (54) all in various stages of consumption with the exception of six "specials" My wife purchased a bottle of Balvenie Single Barrel 15 Years Old from a retailer in Edinburgh on her way north to our house in Loch Awe.When opening the box it was discovered that the bottle had a label attached to the rear "Mock Whisky".Upon contacting the retailer it was explained that we had been sold a display item.The manager was very apologetic and said he did not have another bottle of the same but would send something to compensate. A bottle of The Macallan 1861 Replica duly arrived in the post.My question is:Why would they need a bottle of mock whisky?What would be the fluid in the bottle? I look forward to your comments.J Wilkin, London, England The retailer in Edinburgh would have been given mock whisky bottles as display items by the distillers because whisky is a favourite with shop lifters.The fluid in the bottle would not be whisky but coloured water and worthless. I am delighted you were pleased with the bottle sent to you as a replacement.(James has emailed me again to let me know that Janet Andrew quality team member with William Grant & Sons Distillers Ltd, immediately sent a replacement for the mock item as soon as they knew about the mistake. He felt this was customer service above and beyond the norm.) I have a Beneagles chess set with William Wallace,Mary Queen Of Scots, John Knox , Robert the Bruce & Scottish Tower House all filled with whisky, the pawns are not filled.Complete with chess board .Can you tell me about this set?S Chessey,New York, U.S.A.Your chess set was produced by Peter Thomson (Perth) Ltd.In the early 1970s, the pieces were sold individually and you could build up the set.Price at auction in Scotland £150 to £200.I have been clearing out my late father's house and found a bottle of 21 Years Old Harrods Whisky in a cupboard.I know that this whisky must be at least 45 years old as it was given to my late uncle as a Christmas present and he died 20 years ago. It has not been opened and still in its original green box. Obviously I have no idea of its worth and wondering if there are any collectors for such things.A Colbridge, Leeds, England Your Harrods whisky is a blend and not so collectable as a single malt. Having said that I know two or three collectors who buy old blended whisky for drinking and they go to whisky auctions to buy them, this means prices are kept reasonable for sellers. Your bottle should make £60 to £80 at whisky auction in Scotland.We have in our attic a few bottles of Scotch whisky we would like to ask you if they are worth keeping, drinking or selling them and if so were would we sell them?The bottles are:Glenmorangie Last Christmas,Glen Flagler 5 Years Old,Signatory bottling of 1972 Killyloch 22 Years Old with the name on the bottle saying Lillyloch with a note in the box explaining that the printers got the name wrong.We look forward to your reply.M.Worsdell,Devizes, England The Glenmorangie Last Christmas at Leith was specially bottled in 1995 as a gift for the employees of the company to celebrate them moving from 155 Commercial Street, Leith, to their new larger head office at Broxburn. The bottle used was the same as the Culloden Bottle, wax sealed over cork stopper, contained in a tube or wooden box, only 300 bottles were produced, main label white background red and black letters stating 1893 - 1995. This is a hard bottle to find, at auction expect to pay £450 to £550.Glen Flager was dismantled in 1985 so this bottle is getting scarce auction price £100 to £150.Killyloch 1972 bottled 1994 by Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Co. Ltd. Again very hard to find because only 230 bottles were produced, and the Moffat Distillery complex from which Killyloch was distilled was dismantled in 1985.At auction £500 to £600. You are quite right about the miss spelling and the note in the box.If I had these bottles I would keep them as I think they can only go up in value.