Rare and old Islay whiskies up for auction ahead of Fèis Ìle - including 1982 single cask Port Ellen

A 'treasure trove' of Islay whiskies are now on sale.

Published 17th May 2021
Updated 20 th Sep 2023

An extensive collection of old and rare Islay whiskies is up for auction, ahead of the second virtual Fèis Ìle festival.

Established almost 30 years ago, the festival of music and malt draws visitors from across the globe to the thriving shores of the island each year to experience its community, culture, and its world-renowned whisky.

Now, the most extensive and complete collection of whiskies produced by the island’s legendary distilleries to commemorate the festival are being sold by Whisky Auctioneer - with a proportion of the proceeds from the sale being donated to Islay-based charities and projects to support the local community.

From Friday (14 May) until Monday 24 May, over 240 limited-edition Fèis Ìle expressions from distilleries including Port Ellen, Laphroaig, Bruichladdich and Ardbeg will go under the hammer.

The sale will celebrate the history of this iconic whisky region, the world famous festival and the incredible bottlings it has inspired over the years.

The treasure trove of bottles are part of Pat’s Whisky Collection - the largest private collection of whisky ever to come to auction.

Known only to the world mysteriously as ‘Pat’, he decided to part with his 9,000 bottle library last year through a series of auctions with a mission to share his passion for whisky with the world by passing his bottles on to new owners.

Whiskies in the Islay Festival Auction

  • The 1982 single cask Port Ellen - arguably one of the rarest Port Ellen’s around (only 220 bottles in existence), this is the only Fèis Ìle release from the closed distillery.
  • Bowmore 25 Year Old 25th Anniversary - bottled to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the annual Fèis Ìle festivities on Islay, Bowmore released a mere 100 of this limited edition signed 25 year old in 2010.
  • Bruichladdich 1994 Valinch 'Festival Valinch' - bottled for the Fèis Ìle 2008, this is one of only 20 bottles.
  • Early Fèis Ìle releases from Bunnahabhain and Ardbeg including their very sought-after 1960s and 1970s vintage single casks, respectively.

Joe Wilson, head of auction content at Whisky Auctioneer, said: “Fèis Ìle is an iconic celebration of whisky and Islay culture that draws people back to the island year after year.

"From Port Ellen to Bowmore and Bruichladdich to Ardbeg, this collection of Fèis Ìle bottlings is without a doubt the largest and most complete that we have ever encountered.

"The auction presents the rare opportunity for collectors and whisky drinkers to acquire some incredibly scarce malts that have been produced to celebrate the history of this iconic whisky region."

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Examples from each of Islay’s eight single-malt producing distilleries will feature in the sale, including complete collections of every single limited edition festival bottling from legendary distilleries such as Bowmore, Laphroaig and Lagavulin.

A percentage of the proceeds raised during the auction will be donated to Islay-based charities and projects that support the Island community.

The sale will also feature bottles that have been donated to the Fèis Ìle Committee by distilleries in order to raise charitable funds for the island through their Islay Wave Project, which will focus on ways to support culture, artists and youth.

Included in the charity lots will be the oldest and rarest release direct from the iconic Islay distillery, Port Ellen.

The Port Ellen 40 Year Old ‘9 Rogue Casks’ is the second release in the ‘Untold Stories’ series, which explores the intriguing history of the Islay distillery ahead of its reopening after closure almost three decades ago.

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Florence Grey, chairperson at the Fèis Ìle Committee added: “Fèis Ìle was delighted to be given the bottles in this charity auction from Diageo, plus a signed bottle from the legendary Islay whisky maker Jim McEwan.

"All the proceeds raised from these bottles will benefit our island community as the funds will kickstart our Islay Wave Project - an ongoing project that will begin after this year's virtual festival.

"Focusing on ways to support our island's culture, artists and youth, The Islay Wave Project concentrates on everything we celebrate throughout Fèis Ìle.

"We are very grateful to Whisky Auctioneer for their support in bringing these bottles to auction.”

To find out more and view the auction, visit the Whisky Auctioneer website.

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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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