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
I have a bottle of Sandy Macnab's Old Blended Scotch Whisky 26 fl oz purchased from the Lochside Distillery, Montrose about 35 years ago. The bottle has a gold cap and gold label picturing a man in Highland dress. It does not look as if the fill level has gone down, and it has been sitting in a dark, cold cupboard since it was bought. Is this worth keeping or is it not valuable as it is not single malt whisky?
E. Ramsay, UK Montrose

Distillery was converted from a brewery in 1957 by Joseph W. Hobbs of Ben Nevis Distillery. It had four pot stills and a Coffey still for making grain whisky. In the 1970s, ownership of the distillery passed to Spanish company DYC, and grain distilling was discontinued. More than just a curiosity, there have been a few independent bottlings of single blends from Lochside made from a blend of the malt and grain whisky distilled on the site. Distillation ceased at Lochside Distillery in 1992, and the distillery officially closed in 1996. The buildings were demolished just over a decade ago. Sandy Macnab was a well-regarded blended whisky that contained a decent proportion of malt, and Lochside was certainly amongst the many malts in the recipe. Discontinued blended whiskies are increasingly valuable, and many whisky auction regulars enjoy acquiring brands that they have never tasted before. At online auctions, Sandy Macnab's Old Blended Whisky has sold for £100 in the 75cl format and up to £140-160 for the older 26 fl oz versions. There are frequently bottles of Lochside single malt and Sandy Macnab's at Taylor's Auctions in Montrose because of the local connection. So it's worth keeping, worth selling, and certainly worth drinking.

I own a bottle of Karuizawa Whisky Magazine Editor's Choice 15 Years Old. The only one I can find for sale is £2,500 at Hard to Find Whisky. My bottle is damaged. The wax seal is cracked across the top and a piece has come away. It is still clear that the bottle has never been opened. How can I get it repaired?
M. Salmon, UK

This Whisky Magazine bottling retailed for around £75, with an out-turn of 308 bottles. It has sold at Scotch Whisky Auctions for up to £940, but re-sale values at retail will be much higher. Wax seals are not indestructible, but my view is that repaired wax seals risk scaring buyers off as it can raise concerns about the authenticity of the contents. I asked Stephen McGinty, Whisky Specialist at McTear's, Glasgow for his view and he told me, "The wax is a secondary seal. Having a wax seal replaced is fine as long as the provenance can be proved. Going to a reputable bottler, perhaps even the original bottler, and keeping a record of the reseal is ideal. We have had a bottle resealed by the original bottling plant after damage and this had no impact on the value of the bottle."

Years ago, I bought a whisky, that I can't find any information about. The whisky is a Duncan Taylor Rare Auld Port Dundas 32 Years Old distilled in 1973 and bottled in 2005 from sherry cask #128316 at 59.3%. Can you tell me if the bottle is worth selling?
F. Knudsen, Denmark

There are good reasons to believe that Port Dundas prices will climb as this grain distillery closed in 2010. Closed distilleries, even grain distilleries, make worthy collectibles. The market for single grain whisky has grown substantially over the last three years. After all, they offer a tasty and less expensive way of getting a bottle of whisky with a big age statement on the label. As a consequence, single cask grain whisky retail prices have climbed, and some customers will switch to auctions to buy bargain bottles of old grain instead. Finally, following up the success of Haig Club, Diageo has recently launched official bottlings of Port Dundas 12 and 18 Years Old in the US which will bring the distillery to wider attention. The volume of grain whisky coming to auction is still trivial, but your bottle is certainly worth selling. A bottle sold at Scotch Whisky Auctions for £100 two years ago, and a couple of other sold for £70 each in 2012. I would advise waiting until market conditions improve and then choose the largest internet whisky auction site you can find to appeal to the greatest number of whisky enthusiasts.