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Those Rare Irish Whiskies

Jonny McCormick chooses four of the best
By Jonny McCormick
A resurgent Irish whiskey industry is good news for drinkers and collectors alike. Availability has improved, and finally a wider range of single pot still whiskies are making it to the US and elsewhere. Tomorrow's collectable Irish whiskies are being bottled today and we are being treated to tempting offerings. Popularity does wonders for flushing out old bottles and delivering them under the beady eye of the auctioneer. Last year there were several individual Irish whiskies that were auctioned for several thousand pounds. McTear's, Glasgow proved to be the most reliable source, unearthing new curiosities nearly every sale. They provided the top bottle of the year shown below, and sold the second and third place bottles too with the Persse's Galway whiskey 20 Years Old selling for £3,000 in June and the Avery's Supreme 40 Years Old going for £2,800 last January.


HS Persse


Galway Whiskey

4 Years Old

Region: Ireland
Recent auction price: £3,300
Auction: McTear's Auctioneers, Glasgow
Date: April 2014

Comment: This was the most expensive Irish whiskey auctioned this year. It is reputedly from a curious, island distillery, which operated in Galway from the mid 19th Century until 1915. A second bottle sold by McTear's noted that the whiskey was supplied to his Majesty King Edward VII.


Taylor's


Old Irish HC Whisky


Region: Ireland
Recent auction price: £1,500
Auction: Whisky Online Auctions
Date: October 2014

Comment: This whisky originated from Coleraine distillery (1820 - 1978) and the auction house listed this 10 Years Old as circa 1930s. Interestingly, records show Coleraine distillery to have been silent from the early 1920s to the late 1930s. The whisky was supplied to the House of Commons beginning in 1843, hence the H.C. on the label. The absence of the 'e' on the label may have been done to appease the political classes.


Midleton


10 Years Old

70 proof

Region: Ireland
Recent auction price: £900
Auction: McTear's Auctioneers, Glasgow
Date: October 2014

Comment: This rare age statement Midleton was distilled and matured by the Cork Distilleries Company. They were one of the founding companies to form the Irish Distillers Group in 1966. For reference, the modern Midleton distillery was only opened in 1973.


Locke's


Liqueur Irish Whiskey

70 proof

Region: Ireland
Recent auction price: £875
Auction: Whisky Online Auctions
Date: December 2014

Comment: This example hailed from Brusna distillery, Co Westmeath named after the river Brosna, although the distillery is better known these days as Kilbeggan. The distillery managed to reach its bicentenary in 1957 though production had halted by then and it closed one year later.