Entering the new year, an inescapable observation for those reflecting upon the previous twelve months is the predominant theme of collaboration in the whisky industry, the popularity of which flows heavily from the brand team-ups that have dominated the fashion world for several years now. However, the practice dates all the way back to 1937, when the designer Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali broke new ground with their creation of ‘Organza Dinner Dress with Painted Lobster’—today, the art world that remains a preferred source of co-contributors for fashion designers.
Such brand collaborations are nothing new in whisky either—The Macallan’s collaboration with Peter Blake last year was the pair’s third, the first having taken place over three decades earlier—and 2021 saw a mass proliferation of this concept, with big names like Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie and Bowmore turning to artists and a host of other brands for inspiration.
The Balvenie 25 Year Old 1950s Justerini & Brooks
From high art to high altruism, our January auction features a particularly noteworthy collaboration between Bruichladdich distillery, Vault City Brewing and Brewgooder.
The sales of this ‘whisky sour’ beer, aged for 9 months in Bruichladdich casks, will directly support Brewgooder’s clean water projects around the world—as will all proceeds from our exclusive auctioning of the first four hand-numbered and signed bottles of this unique and limited batch. A beer collaboration may seem an odd source of excitement at a whisky auction, but a closer look at our January offering proves that the ‘odd couples’ at the party are often the ones with the best stories to tell.
Respectfully the properties of two separate distilling empires, Balvenie and Justerini & Brooks are just two names that, from a contemporary vantage point, make for strange bedfellows on a whisky label. We are delighted to offer a spectacularly rare example of this Speyside single malt
—a Balvenie from another time. Bottled by William Grant & Sons for distribution by the London blender in the later 1950s, this unprecedented “over-25-year-old” should contain some of the oldest Balvenie vintages on the market.
Another curiosity for the collector is an unusual version of the 7-year-old Sherriff’s Bowmore release
. Our January auction features an incredibly rare 1973 rotation, bottled in glass produced specially for Thomas McAndie & Co of Inverness. The company was a Scotch whisky exporter with contracts in the American market rather than with the Islay distillery. When Thomas McAndie & Co ceased trading in 1970, however, their surplus bottles were fire sold for use by companies like Bowmore owner, Stanley P. Morrison. This coalescence of two unrelated brands is truly an artefact of, and a fascinating glimpse into, a very different period in the industry.
Whether historical happenstance, functional partnership or simply slick marketing, the intertwining of names from inside the whisky world and beyond forms deep wells of intrigue within any collection. Even at their most superficial, they are emblematic of one of the founding principals of Whisky Auctioneer: whisky is always better when shared. This article is sponsored by Whisky Auctioneer and is created in partnership with the team at Whisky Magazine. This sponsorship does not influence Whisky Magazine's coverage of auctions and Whisky Auctioneer do not have input on editorial decisions.
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Whisky Auctioneer is one of the global market leaders and trusted authorities on the buying and selling of whisky and spirits at auction. Founded in 2013 and located in Perth, Whisky Auctioneer utilises its expertise and knowledge combined with its auction platform, to increase interest and passion in the whisky and spirits community.
Whisky Auctioneer endeavours to make the market more accessible for buyers and sellers of any background and geography. Its monthly global auctions feature some of the most comprehensive selections of old, rare and collectible whiskies and spirits available online.
Whisky Auctioneer became the first online auction house to sell a million-pound bottle and outperformed the nearest traditional auction house by 200 per cent in value from spirits sales in 2020, showcasing the move that whisky collectors, investors and drinkers have already made online and firmly establishing their leading position within the modern secondary whisky market.