Democratic Bottles

Jonny goes to the polls
By Jonny McCormick
No matter whom you vote for, the government always gets in. Voters will be choosing new governments in the UK and Canada this year, with the next U.S. Presidential election less than 18 months away. Historically, whisky and politics have an uneasy relationship. Between setting the levels of taxation on every bottle, imposing legislation on production, controlling imports and exports, right down to deciding whether liquor can be sold in your town or not, whisky drinkers and politicians do not always see eye to eye.

Two years ago, a pair of whisky bottles from the SS Politician were sold for £12,050 by Scotch Whisky Auctions. They were salvaged from the ship that was wrecked off Eriskay in 1941, inspiring the book and film Whisky Galore! The Glenlivet Prime Minister's Reserve 10 Years Old was bottled for No.10 Downing Street and a bottle signed by Margaret Thatcher and John Major sold for £2,300 at Bonhams in 2011. Following the Scottish Independence Referendum, Cadenhead's Spirit of Freedom 45 was released.


Parliament 21 Years Old 1990

48.0% ABV

Region: Highland
Recent auction price: £78
Auction: Whisky Auctioneer, Perth
Date: November 2014

Comment: Actually, this is named after the parliament of rooks that congregate in the trees near the distillery. I wonder if the birds' presence is linked to the distillery's fortunes like the ravens that reside at the Tower of London? This superb dram was released in 2011 and matured in a combination of Oloroso and PX Sherry casks.

The Macallan

Speaker Martin's Malt

40% ABV

Region: Speyside
Recent auction price: £160
Auction: Scotch Whisky Auctions, Glasgow
Date: November 2014

Comment: Michael Martin was Speaker of the House of Commons from 2000-2009. This special edition of The Macallan features the mace and portcullis symbolising the Speaker's authority and strength. He is a keen bagpipe player, and the label features the tune of Mhairi Bhàn Og (Fair Young Mary), a lament written for the bagpipes.

That Boutique-y Whisky Company


51.4% ABV

Region: Speyside
Recent auction price: £55
Auction: Scotch Whisky Auctions
Date: December 2014

Comment: At the Loch Ness Whisky Parliament at the Fiddler's Inn, Drumnadrochit, the right honourable club members are known as MWPs (Members of the Whisky Parliament). The label of this first batch of 122 bottles features Dick Beach, the MWP for Miltonduff, and world-renowned Miltonduff collector. Fiddler's Inn has hundreds of whiskies on sale.



46% ABV

Region: Highland
Recent auction price: £71
Auction: Just Whisky, Dunfermline
Date: October 2014

Comment: This was the People's whisky of last year, with everything from the liquid, the name, the packaging and the launch party democratically chosen by Glenmorangie fans across the globe through the Cask Masters programme. There were 12,000 bottles produced and although a few were quickly put on the auction sites, the hammer price still hovers around its retail value.