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
In your capacity as guru of all things collectible, one of my son's friends sent me a photo of a bottle of Springbank. I was wondering if I might be able to tell him something about it. Is this bottle something you are aware of?
E. Simon

This is a bottle of Fossicker's Springbank 10 Years Old Cask No 538 bottled at 59% ABV. As far as I know, it's one of the many private cask sales sold by the distillery, especially in the early 1990s. Some cask owners have done well selling their Springbank casks at auction or agreeing a price with an independent bottler. At auction, unless there is a known distillation year, or it's a particularly heavily sherried example from Campbeltown, then it is likely to go for £70-£100 at best.

I have an unopened bottle of The Macallan Cask Strength (red label) and I'm trying to get a read on the rarity and value. Any insight?
CJG on the Whisky Magazine Forum

There has been a number of NAS The Macallan Cask Strength releases in different packaging, but the use of red to signify the stronger alcohol strength of 57.8% has been retained throughout the different iterations. The most recent foil cartons covered a 1L and 75cl bottle, but the red label editions on your bottle date from packaging used in the 1990s and early 21st Century. These had a gold bordered cherry red label with a separate neck label, and the strength was shown in the bottom left hand corner of the label and varied with different bottlings. Although The Macallan Cask Strength is not an infrequent sight at auction, the red label versions are scarcer and there will be natural variations in flavour between different bottlings. You could anticipate a hammer price of £400-£600 at auction.

I'm looking for Highland Park single casks released for the USA in 2000-2008. It's quite hard to find them.
Thorleifs on the Whisky Magazine Forum

There is no predicting where these will next turn up, though Highland Park released numerous single cask releases in different markets during this period. Whisky Hammer sold a bottle of Highland Park 1971 34 Years Old for Binny's for £880 in July 2016, and Bonhams, New York made £461 for a bottle of Highland Park Single Cask for Park Avenue Liquors 24 Years Old 1980 in 2015. Keep hunting and you will get your chance.

I am researching a really nice bottle of Very Old Fitzgerald barreled in 1960 and bottled in 1968 that I found tucked away in a cabinet. It is sealed, and in the original box. Do you have any advice on value? Should I keep or should I sell?

Very Old Fitzgerald from this era originated at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery during the time of Julian van Winkle. Those two names are sufficient to generate a great deal of excitement when bottles such as this are consigned to auction. The top prices are usually reserved for distillates from the 1950s or the older aged statements but prices are higher than ever for these old Kentucky Bourbons. Full sized bottles in good conditions can make £1,500 or more, though it is advisable to sell at an auction house in the US if you can, such as Skinner in Boston or Hart David Hart, Chicago, both of whom have experience with handling Very Old Fitzgerald bottles.

My father recently passed away and we found a bottle of The Macallan 25 Years Old Anniversary Malt 1968 bottled 1994 in its box behind the bar. We were wondering about the possible current value?
Chazman on the Whisky Magazine Forum

Auction prices of these Anniversary editions of The Macallan matured in sherry wood have climbed. Just Whisky sold one for £2,425 in November 2016, Whisky Auctioneer sold one for £2,400 in January 2017 but only got £2,000 for another example in February 2017. It will likely appreciate further, but perhaps a good strategy would be to wait until there has been a gap in sales after all this recent activity. This bottling is rare enough to make only a handful of appearances, so bide your time, your father left you a valuable heirloom.