Buried in a Whisky Book

Jonny turns over a new page with some novel whiskies
By Jonny McCormick
With summer on the horizon, it's time to wriggle your toes in the sand and lose yourself in a good book. Rare whisky books have become collectable, and you don't need to be selling an original Alfred Barnard to attract the bidders. Recently, McTear's sold a copy of the Scotch Whisky Industry Record by H. Charles Craig for £85 whilst Ardbeg - A Peaty Provenance by Gavin D. Smith and Graeme Wallace made £160 at Scotch Whisky Auctions.

Glenfarclas 40 Years Old Millennium Edition celebrated the works of Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Robert Burns. The new Authors' Series from Hunter Laing & Co. Ltd. adds to this liquid literary canon with their new range of aged single cask releases including a Macallan and Ardbeg. The First Editions include Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, and Edgar Allan Poe, with more to come.

Here, we bring you whiskies inspired by characters and ancient texts, whisky buried in books, and even bottles shaped like books. Read on...

The Macallan

Master of Photography Elliott Erwin


Region: Speyside
Recent auction price: £900
Auction: Scotch Whisky Auctions, Glasgow
Date: September 2014

Comment: This was the fourth edition in the Master of Photography series. For the Erwin edition, a 35cl hip flask is buried deep within the pages of the accompanying book and includes an original print of Master Blender Kirsteen C­­ampbell (@KCBlends).


50 Years Old 1936 Book of Kells


Region: Speyside
Recent auction price: £1,350
Auction: Scotch Whisky Auctions, Glasgow
Date: November 2014

Comment: The Book of Kells is on public display in Trinity College Library, Dublin, and inspired the celtic imagery of this G&M label from 1986. The packaging includes a certificate with the late George Urquhart's signature. G&M produced a number of these 'Book of Kells' label decanters from named and undisclosed distilleries.

Highland Park

20 Years Old Rebus Edition


Region: Islands
Recent auction price: £900
Auction: Bonhams, Edinburgh
Date: March 2015

Comment: This rare bottle was gifted to the crime writer Ian Rankin to mark 20 years of Inspector John Rebus. The packaging includes the crosses used on the jacket cover of the first Rebus novel Knots & Crosses. Hammer prices have reached £1,200 at times.


Ceramic Book Miniatures


Region: Campbeltown
Recent auction price: £50
Auction: McTear's Auctioneers, Glasgow
Date: August 2014

Comment: The full sized bottles in the Ceramic Book Series I - IV contained Springbank single malt whiskies aged for 8, 10, 12, and 15 Years Old. Although these were miniatures, McTear's have sold a set of the full-sized ceramics for £330 back in 2006.