Distillers One of One auction raises over £2M for Scottish charities

Bidders spent £2.25M over 39 lots at the old and rare whisky auction which took place at Hopetoun House.

Published 9th Oct 2023
Updated 9 th Oct 2023

The Distillers’ Charity hosted its second biennial Distillers One of One Auction, in partnership with Sotheby’s, in the stately Hopetoun House near Edinburgh on Thursday 5 October.

Comprising a selection of ultra-rare Scotch whiskies, the 39-lot sale – which attracted lively bidding in the room and fierce bidding online – was attended by some 200 guests from across the globe, and brought a total of £2,248,750 - more than double the pre-sale low estimate.

Hammer proceeds of £1.8 million from yesterday’s auction will primarily benefit The Distillers’ Charity’s Youth Action Fund, which aims to transform the lives of young people in Scotland aged between 16 and 25, by helping them to develop knowledge, confidence, resilience, and skills.

The Youth Action Fund – established by The Distillers’ Charity, with the support of Inspiring Scotland, as a vehicle to distribute funds from the One of One Auctions – has assembled a panel of complementary charity partners, each providing expertise and experience in achieving sustainable employability outcomes for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

This result means that the first two Distillers One of One Auctions have raised a combined total of £4.2m for charity.

Bottles which caught the attention of buyers were the Bowmore 55 Years Old, the oldest whisky ever released by the distillery, which sold for £562,500; the Brora Iris 50 Year Old 1972, the oldest Brora single malt that has ever been bottled, presented in a 1.5 litre decanter and suspended within a one-of-a-kind handcrafted stone sculpture, which sold for £400,000 and the The Visionary from the Glen Grant distillery – a one-of-a-kind creation presented in a singular hand blown battuto-cut magnum decanter and one of the oldest whiskies to be released by the distillery – which more than doubled its high estimate, selling for £212,500.

Grant Gordon OBE, Chairman of The Distillers’ Charity, commented that “We’re very proud to see that the Scotch Whisky industry has once more come together and raised an incredible amount in support of disadvantaged young people in Scotland.

Distillers One of One auction

"In the past 21 months, with proceeds from the first One of One Auction, over 800 young people who were isolated, disengaged and inactive, have already benefited from support through the Youth Action Fund.

"This year’s auction has once more raised a substantial amount of funds, which will contribute towards our aspiration of changing the lives of another 1,000 young people across Scotland in the next two years.

"We sincerely thank all our industry leaders, the whisky collectors and the craftspeople that pour their passion into every cask and bottle, for their support and generosity, as well the Youth Action Fund’s charity partners who work tirelessly every day to support the young people in Scotland.”

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Jonathan Driver from The Distillers One of One, added: “We’re overwhelmed to see that our second One
of One Auction has been another resounding success, galvanizing whisky brands old and new, all in the
name of philanthropy.

"To have raised such an exceptional sum for Scotland’s disadvantaged youth this year is very special to us, and we cannot wait to hear about further inspiring stories on how these funds will be used in practice.

"We’re also delighted to announce that the next One of One Auction will be back in 2025, continuing the
momentum of creativity, philanthropy and celebration that we’ve built.

"We look forward to welcoming back our partners, including auctioneers Sotheby’s, and we’re proud to make a long-term commitment to funding and securing a future for young people in Scotland that benefit from the funds raised.

"The Distillers’ Charity would like to thank all who donated to, and bid on, the One of One Auction 2023, and we look forward to seeing them again in 2025.”

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Sotheby’s Global Head of Whisky, Jonny Fowle, said: “In 2021, the inaugural Distillers One of One sale
broke the mould for whisky charity auctions not just through the creativity of the donations but also
through the value generated for The Distillers’ Charity.

"For 2023, the participating distilleries really went above and beyond to stretch the bounds of their generosity and creativity.

"This galvanising feeling of partnership, community and conviviality built a resulting auction that was greater than the sum of its parts and the results have once again exceeded anything that we thought was possible before this project began.

"We would like to thank all of the donors who have worked so generously to make this auction a success and look forward to its development into 2025.”

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Hopetoun House, South Queensferry, UK
Hopetoun House, South Queensferry, UK, EH30 9RW
Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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