By Jonny McCormick

Ask The Expert

Send your questions to or by post to: Q&A, Whisky Magazine, 6 Woolgate Court, St Benedicts Street, Norwich, England, NR2 4AP
Although born in London, my parents were both from Glasgow. Consequently during the war, the family were evacuated back there. This meant that my formative years were spent having it drummed into me that Scottish education was the best in the world and the only history worth learning concerned William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, how many times Scotland had cuffed England at ‘fitba’ and about how bereft the world would be without our shipbuilders, scientists and soldiers.

I was shocked therefore while drooling in the duty free at Manchester Airport to come across a bottle of Glenfiddich “Millennium Vintage” limited edition bottling that had a label on with the word “DISTILLLED” on [Note the three Ls]. Were the excise man, distiller, label designer, proof reader and printer all under the influence to let this pass?Does it mean that this whisky is extremely good and irresistibly moreish? And finally does this error affect the value of the bottle of whisky in any way? My initial reaction is to drink the whisky with selected company and keep the bottle as a souvenir.

J. Tulloch, UK by email

Well spotted! The Glenfiddich Millennium Vintage bottle is a 12 Years Old single malt whisky sold in travel retail and released by William Grant & Sons which boldly marks the bottling year 2012 on the packaging (subtly not directly mentioning the London 2012 Olympics or the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II). I believe that William Grant & Sons are aware there was a typographical error printed on the label, but only once it was too late. As a large volume limited edition travel retail bottle from a world-beating brand like Glenfiddich, I do not think there is a huge potential for investment with this release. However, I favour your initial suggestion of drinking this one and toasting 2012 as an incredible year.

A friend of mine found a bottle of Ladyburn and a bottle of Bowmore (in the box with the paperwork intact). Any idea of what the value is for these bottles?
E. Wilson by email

The Ladyburn 12 Years Old is still a rare and valuable bottle. Bonhams sold one of these in Edinburgh on October 10th 2012 for £1,200 (lot 9) and McTear's, Glasgow sold one in June for exactly the same value. Your bottle of The Bowmore Bicentenary in its wooden box looks to be in excellent condition. It dates from 1979 and contains older stocks from the 1950s or so. It comes up at auction regularly and is highly collectable. It has been steadily increasing in value recently and can fetch 30 per cent more than it did two years ago (so it may be worth holding on to and selling when its value stabilises again). In general, it will fetch a hammer price of £550 to 650 but I have noted some make £700 to £750 recently. The top price in 2012 was paid at the end of October at Bonhams, New York where the hammer fell at $2,600).

Some years ago I bought some whisky at a duty free shop in a UK airport. It was labelled “Highland Way” a rare blend of finest Scotch Whisky that was distilled, casked, matured, blended and bottled in Scotland. There is also an advert on Youtube. Does this brand still exist?
A. Bernabei by email

Highland Way Whisky Co was a blended whisky produced by William Grant & Sons and it was used until about 2005 but the brand is not available any more (although that Youtube clip still exists).

I have a rare bottle of 20 Years Old St Magdalene whisky, which was bottled to commemorate 100 years of 64 Waterloo Street, which I am considering selling. This was presented to UDV Engineering Staff and VIPs and limited to 396 bottles and my bottle is number 68. Could you give me some idea of its value please?
M. Myland by email

That’s a beautiful bottle to own and a firm favourite for whisky collectors specialising in rare bottles from closed distilleries. It was bottled at a weighty 62.7% back in 1998 for the centenary of the Ainslie & Heilbron buildings at 64 Waterloo Street in Glasgow which is close to Glasgow Central railway station. The European oak cask was filled on March 31st 1978 and the labels have a printed signature from Gerry Dwyer, the Director of Engineering. There were three bottles of the St Magdalene Waterloo Street bottling sold at live auction in 2012 and they achieved a hammer price of £430-£480 each with the top price being delivered by Martin Green at Bonhams, Edinburgh. Meanwhile, specialist whisky retailers are currently charging nearly £1000 for a bottle.