By Jonny McCormick

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I have recently been given a bottle of Stuart Prince fine old Scotch Whisky 70 proof and cannot find any information on it. I know it was selected and blended by James Burroughs Ltd (London and Glasgow) and it is stamped as coming from D Cesari wholesale and retail wine and spirit merchants of 109 Westminster Bridge Road on the label. There is no volume stated, but there are some small holes punched in the label like ticker tape. Could you help me to find out more?
Eric, UK

James Burrough lived from 1835-1897 and began rectifying gin and liqueurs in the 1860s. The Burrough family sold the business to Whitbread in 1987. James Burrough Distillers Ltd then became part of the spirits division of the Whitbread Group. They were the company which owned Ben Nevis distillery from 1981 before it was sold to Nikka in 1989, and they owned Long John, Laphroaig distillery etc. In 1990, the Whitbread spirit division was bought by Allied-Lyons PLC. Your bottle is a blended Scotch whisky, perhaps from the 1960s judging by the fonts and colours on the label. I cannot find an auction precedence of this bottle coming up before. D Cesari were wine and spirit merchants and it may have been an exported brand. The precise whiskies which were blended to form this bottling will not be in the public domain, but it may likely contain higher proportions of malts from the distilleries owned by the James Burroughs Ltd company.

I have six bottles of Midleton Very Rare 1973. These bottles are very scarce nowadays and I believe there was only 800 bottles produced. The bottles are in their presentation cases with the whiskey certificates inside.
Sean, Ireland

These are rare bottles of Irish whiskey and precious few have come to auction. I would expect that only a small number have been drunk either, so the majority of the original release volume may still be about. Bonhams, Edinburgh sold a bottle in June 2012 for £1,700 (2000 Euros). If you need to sell all six bottles in one go, then you may depress the perceived rarity of the bottles. Certainly, a retailer may be worth speaking to as they would happily buy all six bottles from you, but it is unlikely to net you the best price either. When you have a good number of prestigious bottles to sell, I always advise vendors to discuss their wishes with their auction house whisky specialist. They may cut you a deal if you sell all six with them over a period of time.

I had the pleasure of receiving a 77 year old bottle of White Horse Whisky. My father passed away, and left it to me in the hope that l would not have to sell it. However, my father knew it was worth something and that l would do my research. It is in mint condition, sealed with the original wire cage, and in its original papier-mâché imprinted container. Could you give me the approximate value of this fine bottle, and perhaps where l could sell it? It would mean a great deal to me, and the respect of my father who left it to me.
Sharon, Canada

This is a particularly impressive large format bottle of White Horse blended Scotch Whisky. It is valuable and old blended whiskies are doing well at auction at present. There are a number of reasons that make it valuable: firstly, it's an unusual size at 40 fluid ounces rather than 26 2/3rd fl ounces, secondly, it is in its original box which rarely survived in this condition, thirdly, these bottles carry the dedication to the late King George V. He died in 1936 before being succeeded by Edward VIII, then King George VI, making your bottle likely to be from the late 1930s. Although the bottle may be from 77 years ago, whisky does not age in the bottle, so the whisky can never be described as "77 Years Old". Scotch Whisky Auctions in Glasgow had a regular sized bottle of White Horse 1939 a few months ago which sold for £420. Bonhams, Edinburgh had a similar looking bottle to yours from 1938 which made a hammer price of £800 March 2011. However, you do need to get it to a wide audience in a specialist whisky sale rather than a general household or local antique sale to maximise its value and do your father proud.