Over £370k raised by Scotch whisky industry auction for Scottish cancer charity

An auction launched by the Scotch whisky industry has raised over £370k for a top Scottish cancer charity. 

Published 7th Oct 2019
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The record breaking amount of £371,950 included the hammer price total, plus 100 per cent of the buyer commission donated by auction host Whisky Auctioneer.

The money will be donated to Beatson Cancer Charity, which supports people and families affected by cancer, providing wellbeing and patient care services, as well as funding pioneering research and specialist clinical posts.

The brainchild of former CEO of Edrington and former chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association Ian Curle, the auction was inspired Ian's own first hand experiences with the skill and dedication of the clinicians at The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.

The collection of 103 exceptional whiskies from over 30 different distilleries and independent bottlers generated a significant level of interest globally, with over 4,200 bids placed by 321 bidders from across 35 countries.

The specialist auctioneers stated that of particular interest were the one-of-a-kind whiskies bottled exclusively for the auction. One of these, the Bunnahabhain 50-Year-Old Beatson Sherry Cask No.1 of 1, donated by Distell, is the oldest official bottling ever released by the Islay distillery and raised a stunning £12,650 (inc. buyer commission), which is £7,000 more than the previous auction record for an official Bunnahabhain bottling.

A further unique whisky was specially bottled and donated by Ian MacLeod Distillers, representing their first release in their role as new owners of the soon to be resurrected Rosebank Distillery.

The Rosebank 1989 Single Cask 29 Year Old #2477 No. 1 of 1 raised £17,600 (inc. buyer commission), over £10,000 more than the previous auction record - according to Rare Whisky 101 - for an official Rosebank bottling.

Record UK auction prices were also achieved for The Macallan 1949 Millennium Decanter 50 Year Old, which raised £36,300 (inc. buyer commission) and Dalmore 1978 Constellation 33 Year Old Cask #1, which raised £7,370 (inc. buyers commission).

Martin Cawley, Beatson Cancer Charity CEO said:  “We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the success of this exciting initiative and extremely grateful to
everyone involved in making it happen, whether they donated a bottle, helped with the organisation of the auction, or indeed purchased one of the vintage whiskies.

"Everyone worked together to make this fundraising initiative such a wonderful success. The amount raised exceeded all expectations and we are delighted at the outcome.

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"Our aim is to enhance the lives of people living with cancer and their families by providing practical care and support working closely with our colleagues at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.

"I can assure you this money will make a huge positive contribution to people’s lives.”

Commenting on the auction result, Ian Curle added: “We are delighted with the outcome of the auction, which wouldn’t have been possible without the collaboration of all parties involved. The sum raised is testimony to the generosity and support of my former colleagues and friends across the Scotch Whisky industry.

"A special thanks must go to Whisky Auctioneer who provided their services free of charge and donated their commissions to Beatson Cancer Charity. We were proud to come together to support the exceptional work of Beatson Cancer Charity which supports people through their cancer journey every step of the way.”

Iain McClune, Whisky Auctione er Founder, said: “We are blown away by the results of the auction and could not be more delighted to see Beatson Cancer Charity receive £371,950 towards their vital work.

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"The Scotch Whisky industry has been unreserved in their generosity, donating some truly incredible whiskies that have attracted interest from around the world, achieving deserved record prices. We are truly honoured to have been asked to host the auction and would like to thank everyone involved in making it such a huge success. ”

Karen Betts, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, added: “It’s fabulous news that so much money has been raised for the Beatson Cancer Charity through the generosity of the Scotch Whisky industry and Whisky Auctioneer.

"The industry’s commitment to supporting organisations such as the Beatson in their provision of outstanding support to cancer patients in Scotland is testament to its spirit of generosity and collaboration. Our congratulations go to everyone who was involved.”

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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