2021 has seen some remarkable sales in the rare whisky market already and another notable event is coming this Spring with the oldest and rarest Scotch from Bladnoch Distillery set to go on sale in the USA.
The Scotch is called the Bicentennial and was launched in 2018 in the UK to celebrate Bladnoch’s 200th anniversary. Now that the US Government has allowed 700ml imports to the States, 200 limited-edition bottles are due to be made available there.
Every drop of this special single malt dates back to 1988 in two barrels that were produced by Bladnoch and matured in Oloroso Sherry casks before being finished for the last 18 months in ex-Moscatel casks.
This process leaves it with notes of sweet vanilla and ginger, with soft sherry flavours and dark chocolate as well as sweet oak and a hint of ground black pepper.
When it goes on sale in America, each bottle will cost $7,550, which will get you a personally-numbered set with a gold-plated decanter. At 29 years old, it’s the oldest single malt to be available from Bladnoch.
One of the oldest distilleries in Scotland as well as the most southerly of its Lowland region, Bladnoch was founded in 1817 by John and Thomas McClelland. They applied for and received a license to distil whisky on their farm and generations of their family ran the distillery, producing up to 230,000 litres of alcohol. Bladnoch was known as ‘Queen of the Lowlands’.
In 1911, they sold it to the Irish firm Dunville & Co. but the distillery fell on hard times and between 1926 and 1937 there was just one year of whisky production before Dunvilles went into liquidation. New owners Ross & Coulter sold off the distillery’s two stills and no whisky was produced until 1956.
Bladnoch had mixed fortunes over the next few decades, culminating in the purchase by Raymond Armstrong in 1993 on the understanding that no distillation would take place. His aim was to convert it into a guest house but after a change of heart, he received permission in 2002 to bring Bladnoch back to life. In 2015, it was bought again and refurbished before reopening in 2017.
These limited edition bottles will certainly make a big splash when they go on sale in the American market but 2021 has already seen some even bigger prices being spent on whisky, most notably at the auction for the Perfect Collection.
That was the second half of a sale of a collection of Scotch from a man called Richard Goodings, who spent two decades building it up. One bottle of Macallan 1926 Fine & Rare 60-Year-Old was bought for £1m, the first time a single bottle of whisky has sold for that much in an online-only auction.
The collection as a whole went for £6.7m while other bottles that went for notable prices included The Macallan 1926 Valerio Adami 60-Year-Old for £825,000 and a Dallas Dhu 1921 Private Cask 64 Year Old that sold for £15,500.
In other sales this year, a 40-Year-Old Dalmore 1966 went for £5,600 in January while a Macallan 40-Year-Old (The Red Collection) sold for £19,300. Similar to the Bladnoch release, the last golden decanter of The Glenrothes 50-year-old Single Malt sold for £39,000 in February.
2021 is proving to be a bumper year for whisky sales, despite everything else that has been going on and the release in the USA of this limited Bladnoch range is another reason for investors to celebrate.