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It's No Big Thing

Jonny looks at whisky miniatures
By Jonny McCormick
Whisky miniatures had their heyday in the 1980s, but like vinyl records, they are experiencing something of a renaissance. Their original purpose was to enable the drinker to sample a particular release before deciding to splash out on a full bottle, and Master of Malt have reinvigorated this approach with their Drinks by the Dram. The contemporary miniature still plays an important role as a souvenir from a visit to a Scotch whisky distillery. However, the volume of miniatures produced these days is a fraction of the number produced a generation ago. They find their place as part of the ultra-premium release, like the Midleton Very Rare Pearl Edition, principally to enable the owner to enjoy a taste of the liquid but spare the full bottle. Some collectors judge those sets as incomplete if the miniature has been consumed. Consequentially, this can push up the price of the isolated miniatures that come on to the market. Many auctions such as Taylor's, Montrose and McTear's, Glasgow are good places to pick up miniatures and track websites such as Whisky Online.


Ardbeg


Galileo

49% ABV

Region: Islay
WM tasting scores: 9.0 & 8.0 (Issue 106)
Recent auction price: £220
Auction: Whisky Online Auctions
Date: February 2015

Comment: Ardbeg miniatures have a superb track record at auction. The Ardbeg Galileo miniature did well here, but the press samples from the London launch complete with the silver rocket Art Deco cocktail shaker can sell for over four times as much.


Highland Park


40 Years Old

48.3% ABV

Region: Islands
WM tasting scores: 9.5 & 9.0 (Issue 72)
Recent auction price: £220
Auction: Scotch Whisky Auctions, Glasgow
Date: March 2015

Comment: These boxed minis produced significant competition and they have increased in value at a greater pace than the full sized bottles. It's well worth reading Dave Broom and Martine Nouet's tasting notes on www.whiskymag.com and persuading yourself that you need one of these in your life.


The Macallan


1974

43% ABV

Region: Speyside
WM tasting scores: N/A
Recent auction price: £45
Auction: Whisky.Auction
Date: April 2015

Comment: A bit of a bargain for a 1970s vintage mini of The Macallan 18 Years Old from this new whisky auction site. David Maund, one of the founding members of the Mini Bottle Club, formerly owned this miniature. The Macallan Fine & Rare, Easter Elchies, and Private Eye are other miniatures worth collecting from this distillery.


Springbank


1919

46% ABV

Region: Campbeltown
WM tasting scores: N/A
Recent auction price: £900
Auction: McTear's Auctioneers, Glasgow
Date: February 2015

Comment: Over the last decade, McTear's have sold several of these individually numbered examples bottled in the 1970s. In case you are wondering, a full sized bottle of Springbank 1919 fetched £20,000 in November 2010.