Special auction featuring one-off whisky bottles expected to raise over £200k to battle plastic pollution

A 50-year-old Japanese single malt could fetch an astonishing sum at a special auction, which will benefit charities battling plastic pollution, writes Sean Murphy

Published 21st Nov 2018
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

A special online auction that features a ­selection of one-off bottles of whisky and rum is expected to raise more than £200,000 for non-profit organisations around the world dedicated to battling the impact of single-use plastic pollution.

Online spirits auctioneer www.whisky.auction is to host a ­public sale of the impressive selection, which is described as “the most impressive selection of one-off ­bottles of whisky (and rum) to ever come to auction”.

The exceptional collection was on display at The Whisky Show in ­London last month, where the show’s creator, The Whisky Exchange, is actively aiming to eliminate single-use plastic from the show.

The selection of bottles was ­curated in partnership with The Whisky Exchange to mark the 10th edition of The Whisky Show and highlight the push towards helping to reduce plastic pollution.

The auction, which will take place in November, will feature top ­whiskies from distilleries across Scotland, a magnum of the ­legendary Caroni rum from Trinidad and a 50-year-old whisky from Japan’s highly sought-after Karuizawa distillery – one of the oldest ever releases from this iconic producer.

It has been confirmed by the organisers that 11 of the 20 lots will be one-off bottles never to be repeated.

The selection of one-off bottles includes a Balvenie 1973 Vintage Cask, an Ardbeg 37-year-old (one of the only one-off bottlings Ardbeg have ever produced in its history), and a Brora 35-year-old – which is particularly rare due to the fact that the closed distillery has rarely released a single cask bottling, let alone a one-off bottling.

With a large portion of these entirely unique bottles never to be repeated, it is expected that the auction could fetch upwards of £200,000 – though some people are predicting that the Karuizawa could raise that much on its own and potentially set a record for the most expensive Japanese whisky ever sold.

The special auction opened on Sunday and will end on Tuesday 27 November. All profits will be used by chosen charities to actively ­combat the ongoing plight of the world’s oceans.

US-based non-profit organisation Plastic Oceans will use their donation to expand global awareness initiatives, with a goal of reaching another billion people by 2020. The funds will be utilised to develop films and other content that will ­target school children, policy awareness, and consumer behaviour – all with the goal of educating, inspiring, and fostering change.

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Isabel Graham-Yooll, auction director for Whisky.Auction, said: “Every now and then an auction line-up comes along that has spirits collectors and connoisseurs on the edge of their seats with excitement. These bottles are not merely rare, some of them are entirely unique; they have never been seen before and may never be seen again.

“The distilleries and bottlers who have kindly created and donated these lots fully support the work that charities like Plastic Oceans undertake and were committed to helping us raise as much money as possible for this cause. It is difficult to put into words just how remarkable these bottles are, and we’re really hoping that is reflected in their final hammer prices.”

Julie Andersen, global executive director for Plastic Oceans, said: “We are honoured to be a beneficiary of the auction and very excited to see the programmes being implemented by the organisers to reduce their single-use plastic footprint.”
Interested parties can view the special collection at whisky.auction/charity/plasticoceans


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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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