Four Sailing Collectables

Inspired by the sea and boats
By Jonny McCormick
Kenneth Grahame once wrote "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats".

At this time of year, you cannot beat the feeling of planting your feet on deck, listening to the water slapping the hull and feeling the wind in your hair.

That spirit has inspired our four sailing-themed, collectable bottles of whisky this month. No space to include the Sherriff's Bowmore editions after a couple of recent auction appearances, the Old Pulteney Travel Retail bottles named after Wick fishing vessels, the Talisker 25 Years Old Sea Chest or the Signatory Sailing Ships series. We could have mentioned the saluting old sailor on the Bunnahabhain label, steadying the wheel of his trawler as he goes 'Westering Home'. Instead, we have one shaped like a boat, one built for sailing, one that's been sailing, and one named for the ocean. Drink deeply.


34 Years Old

45.1% ABV

Bottler: Diageo
Region: Islands
WM tasting scores: N/A
Recent auction price: £990
Auction: Whisky Online Auctions
Date: August 2012

Comment: One of my favourite packaging endeavours of recent years, this single cask Talisker distilled in 1975 came in a distinctive wooden box designed to resemble the bow of a boat. Only 250 of these nautical sets were produced. With an original retail price of £875, this has a chequered history at auction.

Johnnie Walker

Swing Superior

43% ABV

Bottler: John Walker & Sons
Region: Blended Scotch
WM tasting scores: N/A
Recent auction price: £45
Auction: Scotch Whisky Auctions
Date: April 2014

Comment: The Johnnie Walker Swing bottle rocks like weeble, but it is expressly designed to self-stabilise making it the ideal whisky to take on the water. The bottle design has been utilised on the Swing. The same righting dynamics were employed for the Johnnie Walker Odyssey, though the heavy stopper makes it less stable the more you drink it.


Cape of Storms 16 Years Old/12 Years Old

48% ABV

Bottler: The BenRiach Distillery Co. Ltd.
Region: Speyside
WM tasting scores: N/A
Recent auction price: £500
Auction: McTear's, Glasgow
Date: October 2013

Comment: The Cape of Storms relates to the historical use of whisky barrels as ship's ballast. There were 225 bottles of the 12 Years Old, and 195 of the 16 Years Old. The price range at auction varies from £400-700.


An Cuan Mór

48% ABV

Bottler: Beam Suntory
Region: Islay
WM tasting scores: N/A
Recent auction price: £60
Date: May 2014

Comment: The name for this third Laphroaig Travel Retail exclusive comes from the Gaelic for 'Big Ocean'. The flavours originate from a first maturation in fresh bourbon barrels. Laphroaig diverted a few hundred bottles on to the Friends of Laphroaig website, but this would normally cost £70 at the airport.