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55-Year-Old Glenfiddich sets World Record price for whisky bottle at Bonhams auction

Sold to honour the life of Janet Sheed Roberts, the 55-Year-Old Glenfiddich bottle brought £46,850

A rare and exclusive bottle of 55 Year Old Glenfiddich commemorating and celebrating the 110th birthday of Janet Sheed Roberts, the granddaughter of William Grant - founder of the Glenfiddich distillery - and the oldest person in Scotland sold for a world record £46,850 at Bonhams Whisky auction in Edinburgh on 14 December.

The previous world record for a bottle of single malt at auction was £29,700. (This excludes the Lalique decanter of The Macallan 64 sold in New York in November 2010 where the value was mostly related to the container rather than the contents, and some private sales.)

The cask was filled on New Year's Eve 1955 and over the past 55 years so much of the liquid has evaporated or soaked into the barrel that there is only enough whisky left to fill 15 bottles. 'Wee Janie' as she is known, was 54 at the time.

Eleven of these - one to celebrate each decade of Roberts' life - will be sold at auctions round the world over the coming 12 months to raise money for charity. The proceeds of the bottle auctioned today will go to support Water Aid.

Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve 1955 Wee Janie World Record
The 'Wee Janie' Glenfiddich Reserve 1955 World Record bottle

Tasting notes accompanying the bottle note that:

"This precious whisky is pale gold in colour, the hue of autumn barley. On the nose, it is light and delicate with aromas of soft orange blossom and delicate violets intermingling with notes of toasted almonds and the subtlest whiff of smoke, the sweetness brought out more with a few drops of water.

"A perfect harmony of fruit and floral aromas, it has a surprisingly light touch of oak, incredible for a whisky that has spent so long in European wood. On the taste, creamy vanilla and a gentle smokiness are beautifully counterbalanced with some sweeter oak notes.

"A drop or two of water releases further zesty orange flavours and an incredible vibrancy. Immediately after tasting, the finish is slightly dry, but grows with time to become extremely long, lively and sweet.

"It seems incredible, but the original Highland character of this precious whisky really shines through, even after so many decades, just like The Wee Janie."

Bonhams Head of Whisky, Martin Green, said, "It's a great privilege to have sold a bottle with such a distinguished pedigree and for such a good cause. We are all delighted."

In total the sale raised £215,000 and 93% the lots were sold.

Recent and related articles

· Western whiskey bottles and flasks could bring '$50 on up to $150,000' | 7 November 2011

· Glenlivet 48-year-old whisky owned by distillery founder brings $29,376 | 13 October 2011

· 1858 Croizet sets $156,740 cognac World Record at China auction | 29 September 2011

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Images: Bonhams

Last updated: 15 December 2011