Ghost whisky casks go on auction
Two recently reopened distilleries will be releasing casks that are valued up to £1.2 million a piece. Brora and Port Ellen closed back in 1983 only to receive multi-million-pound investments to see them reopen in 2021. As part of the process to get them back into the limelight, Brora is selling a cask of a 30-year-old whisky and Port Ellen a cask of 33-year-old whisky.
Sotheby’s in Mayfair has managed to scoop up both rare whisky casks and has given their estimation that each cask will sell for at least £700,000. The auction itself will take place on the 14th of this month.
Sotheby’s auctions can be accessed through their showroom, the Sotheby website or their iOS app.
The beverage company Diageo wants to use this not only to gain attention to their reopened distilleries but also to help others during these unprecedented times. Diageo will hand 5% of the proceeds from these lots to be donated to CARE International. CARE has recently been using its donations to aid the Ukrainian humanitarian appeal. If both casks sell for their estimated £1.2 million then £120,000 will head to Ukraine to provide emergency food and water.
What are ghost whisky distilleries?
Both Brora and Port Ellen were considered to be ghost distilleries. For those with vast knowledge in this industry, you may have heard this term or know what it means. For those that don’t, a ghost distillery is a closed distillery that isn’t currently producing more stock. If you are a renowned manufacturer, then your whisky stock becomes increasingly rare with every year that passes.
Although these distilleries have passed on from being productive, their whiskies still exist. Like ghosts, their body passes but their spirit continues to live on.
So, what are ghost casks?
Ghost casks, therefore, are the spirits that continue to live on past the end of the distillery. These casks are kept in perfect condition.
The barrels are examples of ghost casks that Sotheby’s claims are among the rarest and most valuable in existence from Brora and Port Ellen’s since they are from before both distilleries went silent.
Jonny Fowle of Sotheby had the chance to taste a sample from both casks. He stated, “On trying the 1982 Brora, I was astounded by its quality – the rich cooked fruit flavours elevating its signature lightly peated character.” He described the other barrel as “a masterclass in 1970s Islay smoke with significant cask influence, which, especially when from a closed distillery, is precisely the style the world’s top whisky collectors seek out.”
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