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
Could you give me some advice regarding a bottle of The Macallan 18 Years Old 1972 that I have been given as a present from a good friend for a favour done? I decided to look it up online, because I wondered if it had any monetary or intrinsic value (I am not a knowledgeable whisky person, nor is he, he gave it to me as he knows I like the odd Jamesons). I have been alarmed to see the same bottle listed at over £1,000 on some websites and before I tell him, I would like to try and get some information from a reliable source. Anything you can tell me would be helpful (including where it might be sold, if that's what we decide to do). I will make sure he has a nip on hand when I tell him the good news. He thinks he has given me "just a nice bottle of malt".
J. Clarke

Well, that's a nice problem to have. A bottle of The Macallan 18 Years Old in good condition is a highly valuable bottle. The older editions of The Macallan 18 Years Old often appear at auction in huge verticals starting from bottles distilled in the 1960s through to the most recent releases. As The Macallan is the world's most collected single malt whisky, sitting at the top of the Whisky Magazine Index since its inception, price rises on these classic 18 Years Old bottles have been impressive. Bottles have appeared at live auctions most months this year, with UK prices ranging from a low of £260 (Mulberry Bank Auctions in March) to £600 (McTear's in October), though in Asia, Zachys, Hong Kong made £950 and Bonhams, Hong Kong made £1000 for the same bottling. Online auctions are worth considering too; Whisky Online Auctions sold a bottle for £600 in October.

I'm hosting a whisky auction for our Dutch Whiskyclub "Levenswater", and I was wondering if you could help me out. Someone kindly donated a bottle for this auction, however very little is known about it. I'm hoping you might be able to give me a little bit of information.
H. Ensink

This is an independent single cask bottling produced for the Black Bull Hotel in Moffat, a small border town in the south west of Scotland. The historic hotel has been in existence since 1568. With bubbles under the label, no age statement or distillery of origin appearing on the label, then this is unfortunately not a terribly valuable bottle.

A friend of mine found this bottle of Haig Gold Label in a cupboard. Can you tell us anything about it please?

This is a bottle of blended Scotch whisky produced by John Haig & Co Ltd bottled at 70 per cent proof and it will still be good to drink. Haig was born in Fife and established the Cameronbridge distillery, and he was one of the original directors of the DCL. The blending facility in Markinch is still a notable landmark when approaching the town by train. Haig Gold Label is still available to buy, but these vintage bottlings may begin to attract more interest as David Beckham's backing for Haig Club, a single grain whisky from Cameronbridge distillery, revitalises the Haig name.

I have several bottles of King's Ransom, House of Lords and Glenforres 12 Years Old Scotch whiskies. These were produced by the old William Whiteley & Company of Pitlochry, Scotland for many years, but discontinued in the late 1980s. Can you tell me the value of these superb whiskies today?
S. Freebairn

Glenforres was the original name of Edradour distillery, which William Whiteley & Co. Ltd owned for many years until 1982 when it came under the ownership of Pernod Ricard. Since 2002, Andrew Symington of Signatory has owned the attractive Perthshire distillery. These fine bottles seldom achieve high prices at auction and they can often be found in mixed lots for drinking. A good condition Glenforres 12 Years Old in its green glass bottle and brick red label can fetch £40-60. Scotch Whisky Auctions sold two boxed bottles of King's Ransom including the Round the World edition and a 12 Years Old version for £220 in June, though this appears to be the exception rather than the rule. Expect greater rewards for older vintage bottles.