Sotheby’s has announced that yesterday’s Distillers One of One charity Scotch whisky auction broke 19 auction records and raised £2.25 million, more than double its pre-sale low estimate.

The 39-lot sale, held at Hopetoun House, near Edinburgh, was the second edition of the auction which sees Sotheby’s partner with The Distillers’ Charity. Anticipation surrounding the event was high, with the line-up of ultra-rare whiskies created specially for it drawing much attention, including the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s The Only Drop and Bowmore’s oldest ever release.

Overall, the results of the sale, which was attended by 200 guests, were £2,248,750 raised and hammer proceeds of £1.8 million, which will go towards The Distillers’ Charity’s Youth Action Fund.

Leading the pack in terms of big results was the sale of the oldest ever Bowmore for a record-breaking £562,500, the end result of a fierce bidding war.

The Brora Iris 50 Year Old 1972, the oldest Brora single malt to ever be bottled, broke the record for the highest price from a bottle of whisky released from the Brora distillery, going for £400,000.

Brora Iris 50 Year Old 1972

The £212,500 bid on The Glen Grant Distillery’s The Visionary, more than double its high estimate of £90,000, was an auction record for a bottle of The Glen Grant. The Glenturret Enduring Spirit also shattered the £80,000 high estimate, bringing in £125,000.

Other lots to break auction records were: Glenglassaugh (Lot 6), Glenmorangie (Lot 7), Macduff (Lot 10), Old Pulteney (Lot 11), Bladnoch (Lot 15), Holyrood (Lot 18), Littlemill (Lot 20), Kilchoman (Lot 25), That Boutique-y Whisky Company (Lot 26), Glen Scotia (Lot 27), House of Hazelwood (Lot 29), Glen Moray (Lot 30), The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (Lot 33), Gordon & MacPhail (Lot 34), and The Last Drop (Lot 38).

A strong result was also seen for Christmas at Hazelwood, a house-shaped advent calendar containing a 50ml measure of every House of Hazelwood whisky released to date behind each of the 24 doors, which more than trebled its pre-sale low estimate, going for £47,500.

The Last Drop Blending Experience, which offered the winning bidder the chance to their very own aged, blended Scotch, more than quadrupled the pre-sale low estimate, reaching a price of £60,000.

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s global head of whisky, said: “In 2021, the inaugural Distillers One of One sale broke the mould for whisky charity auctions not just through the creativity of the donations but also through the value generated for The Distillers’ Charity. For 2023, the participating distilleries really went above and beyond to stretch the bounds of their generosity and creativity.”

Jonny Fowle

“This galvanising feeling of partnership, community and conviviality built a resulting auction that was greater than the sum of its parts and the results have once again exceeded anything that we thought was possible before this project began. We would like to thank all of the donors who have worked so generously to make this auction a success and look forward to its development into 2025,” Fowle concluded.

Jonathan Driver from The Distillers One of One said that he was “overwhelmed” by the “resounding success of the auction” and toasted how the third edition of the auction in 2025 will continue “the momentum of creativity, philanthropy and celebration that we’ve built”.

“We’re overwhelmed to see that our second One of One Auction has been another resounding success, galvanizing whisky brands old and new, all in the name of philanthropy. To have raised such an exceptional sum for Scotland’s disadvantaged youth this year is very special to us, and we cannot wait to hear about further inspiring stories on how these funds will be used in practice.

Grant Gordon, chairman of The Distillers’ Charity, noted how the funds raised will make a difference: “In the past 21 months, with proceeds from the first One of One Auction, over 800 young people who were isolated, disengaged and inactive, have already benefited from support through the Youth Action Fund. This year’s auction has once more raised a substantial amount of funds, which will contribute towards our aspiration of changing the lives of another 1,000 young people across Scotland in the next two years.”

The combined total raised for charity by the 2021 and 2023 Distillers One of One auctions is around the £4.2m mark.

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