A chance encounter on a fishing trip to Rothiemurchus has paid off for a whisky collector with the news that his rare collection of 66 bottles Aberlour A’bunadh have gone on sale for more than £15,000.
The huge collection of Aberlour A’bunadh has been hailed as one of the largest and most successful ongoing whisky series of all time.
Launched in 2000, the series of Speyside whiskies has attained cult status by those who enjoy a dram.
Jon O’Connell, a biologist and keen fisherman from York was fishing on the banks of the loch when he met another fisherman who introduced him to Aberlour A’bunadh.
After enjoying a dram or two together, O’Connell wondered if it would be possible to collect a bottle from every batch ever made.
What ensued was 10 years of being outbid in auctions and scouring obscure whisky shops across Europe in the hope that he could get his hands on some of Aberlour’s more elusive releases.
The collection of batch produced single malt whisky has been valued at exactly £15,884 and is now up for sale with whisky broker, Mark Littler Ltd.
In 2020, Mark Littler helped 28-year-old Matthew Robson from Taunton sell his 28-bottle collection of Macallan single malt for over £40,000.
Jon said: “What a day it was meeting that fellow fisherman on the banks of the loch.
"I’d never seen anything like the bottle of whisky he produced that day. So after enjoying a dram, I decided to buy myself a bottle and from there, I set myself a challenge to collect a bottle from every batch ever produced.
“It took 10 years to track all the bottles down, with batch 15 being undoubtedly the most difficult.
"When I finally got my hands on the last bottle to complete my collection, I felt a real sense of achievement.
"I’ve decided to put them up for sale because I think they would make for a wonderful present for someone - certainly for that fisherman that inspired me all those years ago.”
Aberlour’s A’bunadh range owes its origins to a bottle buried in the foundation of its still room dating back to 1898.
The bottle was found in 1973 by workers who were said to have drunk half the bottle before its remaining contents were sent to the Aberlour laboratory for analysis. The A’bunadh whisky is a loving recreation of this lost single malt.
Mark Littler, whisky broker and founder of Mark Littler Ltd, said of the collection: “The A’bunadh whisky series is the largest whisky collection that we have ever sold and to have a bottle from every batch ever produced is what makes this so unique and a real selling point for whisky enthusiasts.
“It’s great to see Jon’s affection for Aberlour develop after spending time in the Speyside area.
"His decision to start collecting bottles was a great one and we are seeing more people invest in whisky the way that Jon has.
"If you can amass a collection like his, then it can be extremely rewarding indeed.”