One of the world's rarest whiskies sells at auction - Oldest official bottling of 1972 Brora sold for £14,500

19 May 2017 | Press release

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The oldest official bottle of Brora whisky, distilled in 1972, has been sold at auction by Bonhams in Hong Kong S.A.R China today (19 May 2017).

The exceptionally rare single bottle, which has spent 44 years ageing in an ex-sherry butt in Scotland, was purchased by an unnamed buyer for £14,500.

As the only bottle to have been drawn from the cask, it offers its new owner a taste of true rarity.

Richard Walker, Global Head of Malts at Diageo, said: “The 1972 Brora is an exquisite single malt with unparalleled history and heritage. It represents the pinnacle of Diageo’s single malt Scotch whisky reserves and appeals to epicureans, collectors and investors alike.

“Over the last few years we’ve seen a rapid growth of interest in rare and collectable whiskies. High-end whisky collection is undoubtedly a growing trend and as such we’ve seen an increase in the auction market for this kind of rare bottling.

“With connoisseurs all over the world aspiring to have a 1972 Brora on their shelves, we decided to give whisky lovers a rare opportunity to bid for this one-off bottle. The fact that it has been sold for over the estimated price speaks volumes about its allure.”

Filled at very high strength, the 44-year-old Brora expression is a rare survivor from a golden age after the Brora Distillery closed in 1983, never to reopen. It is described as “a massive, brooding and drying old Brora that is seemingly made of smoke, oak, pepper, dark fruit all encrusted in sea-salt then wrapped in seaweed and oilskins”.

Martin Green, Bonhams Whisky Specialist in Edinburgh, added: “This was a very special bottle of whisky – a true one off - and I am not surprised that it was contested so fiercely nor that it sold for such an impressive price.”

The 1972 Brora bottle was taken from a single cask that is a part of Diageo’s ‘Casks of Distinction’. As part of this programme, Diageo gives selected private clients the chance to purchase single casks that have extraordinary quality and character. As each cask is entirely unique, patrons become the sole owners of some of the rarest whiskies ever to be released from Diageo’s extensive collection.

Notes for editors

The sale of the 1972 Brora bottle took place on Friday 19 May 2017 at 12.00 GMT (19.00 HKT) as part of Bonham’s ‘Fine & Rare Wine, Cognac and Whisky’ auction. To find out more please visit: The estimate selling price range of the 1972 Brora bottle was £6,000 - £8,000.

Bottle size: 70cl
ABV: 58.6%
Drawn from cask: #4817

Brora 1972 tasting notes
A massive, brooding and drying old Brora, seemingly made of smoke, oak, pepper, dark fruit and fire. Still astonishingly powerful, it takes water well. In colour a burnished honey-gold, it shows smoke, oilskins and rich, dark bittersweet notes on the nose, with hints of the beach and a big, woody bonfire. It has a savoury, earthy, very peppery centre.

With a good splash of water, it is quickly smoky, spicy, peppery and (always) nose-drying. The taste starts bitter-sweet and smooth with sea-salt, pepper and spicy oak-wood. Water (a good splash) brings up the spicy, smoky sweetness and smooth texture, with the pepper now more cooling. Drying on the palate throughout, and in the finish.

About Brora Distillery
Originally known as the Clynelish Distillery, production began in Brora Distillery on the north-east coast of Scotland in 1819 with the backing of the Marquess of Stafford. In the late 1960s it was decided to expand production by building a new distillery, with the old distillery eventually being used to supply a need for heavily peated whisky for blending. Between 1972-74 production of ‘Brora’ was in batches, becoming regular in 1975 when the distillery itself was officially renamed Brora. It was however only produced until 1983, when the distillery was closed, never to reopen.