By Sally Toms

Ask the Expert

Send your questions to editorial@whiskymag.com or by post to: Q&A, Whisky Magazine, 6 Woolgate Court, St Benedicts Street, Norwich, England, NR2 4AP
I am helping a friend to determine the approximate worth of a bottle of Haig & Haig he purchased at a charity auction a few years ago. Research to date shows the bottle with a Royal Coat of Arms, but no name of the reigning Royal, though I believe it to be from the reign of George VI (1936-1952). The label shows it to have been bottled in Edinburgh, most likely prior to the relocation to Markinch. The foil appears silver, but it could be a discoloured white from the years in storage. Can you help me determine the approximate age and worth?
B. Foote

This is a bottle of Haig & Haig Five Star from the 1950s, bottled for the US market. The colour of the foil cap with the diagonally printed Haig branding can change with age and light exposure. It covers a spring closure, a typical closure of bottles in that era. There is a tax strip visible in your photos, which might be helpful in dating the bottle more precisely. An individual bottle was sold at Bonhams, Edinburgh for £60 in June 2009. In November 2010, McTear's Auctioneers sold a bottle like this as part of a lot that included six bottles and three miniatures of Haig whiskies, which made £200. Bonhams, New York sold a more unusual Haig & Haig Five Star 8 years old bottling for $550, but this is a harder bottle to find. Using an online auction in the UK, your bottle might fetch £80-120 on a good day.


I have a sealed 4/5 quart bottle of Canadian Masterpiece 1962 in a lined red case. I was interested in knowing its market value as well as where I could sell it. I live in Massachusetts, USA. Is it legal for me to sell alcohol?
M. Picardi

These splendid looking bottles of Canadian Masterpiece win the prize for being the most asked about bottle on this page over the years. Sometimes, it seems to make more appearances in Whisky Magazine than it does in the auction salerooms. Whenever it does appear, the results are a little disappointing and it generally sells for £30-50. As you live in Massachusetts, you can only sell alcohol if you have a retail license to do so. State law prohibits sale without a license, and you can be prosecuted if you violate the Liquor Control Act. Given that the bottle is not worth a great deal of money (nor the risk of a fine or jail term), my solution involves a few glasses, some good friends, and a sunny weekend. Enjoy it!


I would be very grateful if you could tell me anything about this whisky. I sent a photo of it to McTear's, but they could not find any information on it.
L. McLaren

You have a bottle of single cask McLaren Special Reserve 20 Years Old 54.5% distilled on 18 February 1972. Nothing to do with the Formula One team unfortunately, this was bottled from Cask No. 95 for McLaren Packaging Limited by Cockburn & Co (Leith) Ltd. I have contacted McLaren Packaging, and they were able to tell me that it was likely bottled in the 1990s and given as a gift from the company to valued customers. The Chairman of McLaren went the extra mile to answer your question and personally contacted the bottling company, but unfortunately, they were not able to discover any further information to identify the bottle's distillery of origin.


I acquired a bottle of Allan & Poynter's Gun Club whisky from a work colleague a few years ago. Could you possibly give me any information on the whisky?
A. Gilchrist

This is a modern blended Scotch whisky likely worth £20-£40 that I've not seen before, but the company name carries some historical weight. Allan & Poynter were founded in 1843 and provided warehousing to major distillers and bankrolled expansion projects for the likes of Strathclyde, Talisker, and Tobermory distilleries. Allan & Poynter's sole partner was William Scott who employed James Whyte and Charles MacKay in 1875, though six years later Scott passed away and the two men bought the wine and spirits part of the business from his widow, but denied the new owners the rights to the company name. Undeterred, the pair named their new acquisition Whyte & MacKay.