Near 'Whisky of the Year' Ardbeg leads New Year rare drinks auction

At a time of year when many are buying alcohol in all its forms for Christmas and the New Year - whilst wine and brandy may be at the front of people's minds and drinks cabinets - it is as always a good time to note the chance to buy some investment-grade whisky.

Luckily, Whiskyauction is on hand with a sale ending early in the New Year. The items in their January 2011 auction hail from 61 different sellers out of 10 countries.

With roughly 2,100 bottles going under the hammer, whisky collectors will have a great range to choose from including dozens of examples of The Macallan amongst many other Highland whiskies.

Perhaps Islay whisky is the best represented of all the kinds of Scotch single malts, including 48 examples of Bowmore and 131 of the legendary Ardbeg.

And it is one Ardbeg in particular which is likely to lead the show...

Ardbeg single malt Islay Bourbon Hogshead
Ardbeg single malt Bourbon Hogshead

Reaching the cask in March 1973, it was bottled six years ago this month: December 22, 2004. Bottle number 6 of just 216, the Bourbon Hogshead, at 49.3% by volume for its 70cl, is the auction's star lot.

Its stock was rated at 97 out of 100 by Jim Murray's Whisky Bible and, as Murray has never handed out a perfect score, this is about as close to perfection has the renowned whisky taster has acknowledged.

After musing on the sweet peats, levels of barley and touches of vanilla, mocha and muscovado sugar he concludes: "This is a lithe and living whisky, showing shape and form from nose to the longest of finishes; there'll be another scramble to Copenhagen when the world gets wind of this one...

"Sadly I didn't get this until just after the last Bible went to press: as an October 04 bottling this might have won Whisky of the Year..."

Currently carrying a bid of just €600, the bottle could make a collector a fine investment when they buy it in the auction.


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