Perthshire auctioneer to host world's first auction dedicated to women in whisky

The Demeter Collection, which contains only whisky made by women, will be auctioned later this month.

Published 7th Mar 2024
Updated 7 th Mar 2024

Whisky Auctioneer, a global online whisky and spirits auction platform based in Perthshire, will host the world’s very first auction dedicated to recognising the achievements and contributions of women in the sector.

The auction is in partnership with OurWhisky Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting, recognising and empowering professional women in whisky.

It will offer whisky enthusiasts and collectors from around the world the opportunity to acquire rare bottles while supporting a worthy cause.

Named after the goddess of grain, The Demeter Collection will feature a curated selection of unique releases, all of which have been crafted and inspired by the industry's most talented women.

Each bottle in the collection will not only showcase the craft involved in distillation and maturation, but also highlight compelling stories of the women involved in their creation.

The inaugural auction will run from March 29 to April 8 online. Funds raised from the auction, including Whisky Auctioneer’s buyer’s fees, will be donated to the OurWhisky Foundation in support of its work providing initiatives and projects that support women working in whisky.

This includes its widely acclaimed mentorship programme, ground-breaking stock image library, The Modern Face of Whisky, and work with brands and stakeholders to build a more welcoming, diverse and inclusive industry.

Joe Wilson, head curator and spirits specialist at Whisky Auctioneer, said: “Historically, our industry has lacked diversity, and that’s something we’re determined to change.

"To that end, we have been delighted to witness the incredible achievements of The OurWhisky Foundation and are thrilled to host this auction and shine a spotlight on the stories of women within our industry.

“The Demeter Collection is an exciting group of one-of-a-kind and collectible bottlings from very diverse distilleries.

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"Our hope is that this auction will not only catch the attention of enthusiasts and collectors worldwide to raise important funds for The OurWhisky Foundation, but also inspire current and future generations of women in whisky.”

The world’s first survey of women in the global whisky industry conducted by the OurWhisky Foundation last year revealed widespread sexism and bias.

More than 80% of respondents making, selling and promoting whisky reported being asked by both colleagues and consumers if they even like the spirit, with a staggering 89% agreeing that consumers still widely perceive whisky to be a man’s drink.

Becky Paskin, founder of the OurWhisky Foundation, added: “Despite her important role within Greek mythology, Demeter remains one of the lesser-known of the Olympians, her story largely untold in popular culture.

"Yet her heroic tale of overcoming obstacles to support her daughter, all while sharing her knowledge and wisdom with others, embodies many similar values as the OurWhisky Foundation.

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“Just like Demeter’s side-lining in pop culture, women’s contributions to whisky have been vastly under-recognised.

"Through the Demeter Collection we want to honour the grain goddess and tell the untold stories of women in whisky, while raising much-needed funds to enable the OurWhisky Foundation to support, recognise and empower future generations of women in the industry.

"There is a mistaken belief among many that female whisky makers are rare, when in fact the opposite is true. The reality is that women in the industry are rarely highlighted and stories of their achievement remain untold."

A total of 18 lots will be included in Whisky Auctioneer’s March auction.

Highlights include exclusive expressions from distilleries such as a 31 year old blend from House of Hazelwood, The Loch Lomond Sonata Collection, a 44 year old commemorative bottling of Dalmore celebrating whisky maker Margaret Nicol’s 50th anniversary, a 20 year old Ardbeg created by master blender Gillian Macdonald to celebrate 20 years in the industry and an inaugural cask release from Cooper King distillery.

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The auction will be hosted online from March 29, coinciding with Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.

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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