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Scotch miniature ‘sets world record’ at £4,000

A 50ml bottle of the Old Orkney Real Liqueur Whisky has set what is thought to be the world record for most expensive whisky miniature sold at auction after fetching £4,000 (US$5,317).

This rare miniature was produced at the silent Stromness Distillery on the Mainland of Scotland’s Orkney islands

Bottled in the 1920s or 1930s, the Old Orkney ‘0.0’ Real Liqueur Whisky went under the hammer in an online auction held by Whisky.Auction, which was dedicated to miniature bottlings.

The 50ml bottle was part of a collection of 84 miniatures from one seller who paid £100 (US$129) for the whole lot during an auction in Brighton in 1979.

The collection comprised of mainly blended Scotch whiskies and single malts bottled in the first half of the 20th century.

“I thought they were worth something but had no idea,” the unnamed collector said. “I started collecting in 1979. I worked with a friend and we were talking about hobbies, he said that he collected Scotch whisky miniatures. I thought that was something different so I had a go and was hooked.

“I was lucky to find an auction that had a collection. I didn’t know what was in it so I bid £100 and they phoned me the next day to say I had won it.”

The whisky was produced at the silent Stromness Distillery in the south-western part of Mainland Orkney in Scotland.

Stromness Distillery, which operated from 1817 until 1928, produced 7,000 gallons annually. It made whisky called ‘Man O Hoy’, named after one of the island’s landmarks and was retitled ‘Old Orkney’ when it was revived in 1878 by the MacPherson brothers.

In the early 1990s, Stromness was purchased by J & J McConnell (McConnell’s Distillery), which operated the site until its closure in 1928. It was then moved to the ownership of Booths Distilleries and demolished in the 1940s.

Auction director for Whisky.Auction, Isabel Graham-Yooll, said: “As soon as this auction went live last week, there were some very keen bidders for this rare mini, but even we have been wide-eyed watching this one, seeing the bids gradually creep up over the course of the auction.

“This is the perfect illustration of the interest that exists in old and rare whisky. Much of the liquid we see coming to auction in miniatures is simply unavailable in full bottles, having been consumed many years before. Miniatures often outlive their full-size counterparts in ‘souvenir’ style.”

The auction closed on 22 October and featured rare miniatures from brands such as The Macallan, Johnnie Walker, The Tomatin and The Dalmore.

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