Rare Scotch back from U.S., at a price

From the Scottish newspaper The Courier:

A rare bottle of 100-year-old Brechin whisky, hidden in a cupboard during the American Prohibition era, was sold for £3,240 ($4,792 US) at auction in Edinburgh yesterday. It was bought by a private UK bidder, who wishes to remain anonymous.

The single malt was exported to America from the Glencadam distillery in Brechin after the turn of the 20th Century. It was stashed away in the secret cupboard of a house in Washington state and forgotten about during the Prohibition period between 1920 and 1933, when the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol for consumption was made illegal throughout the United States. It was discovered in the 1950s by the U.S. seller when renovating his father’s house.

A wall was taken down during the work and the bottle found stashed behind a trapdoor. Since the whisky was discovered it has been stored in Sweden where the vendor now lives.

Martin Green, whisky consultant for Bonhams auction house, described the bottle of Old Pot Still Scotch Viking (Glencadam) as “one of the rarest early 20th century malt whiskies to appear at auction in recent years.

“It’s an amazing story. While it is impossible to establish how it got to the United States, it may have been an export brand at that time. It’s a very desirable product and one that any whisky producer would be glad to own…It is possible the bottle is the only one of its kind in existence.”

... Founded in 1825 by George Cooper, the Glencadam distillery secured its own soft hill water supply from Loch Lee in Glen Esk, some 12 miles away. In 1827 it was sold to David Scott. In 1895, the distillery was taken over by Edinburgh blender Gilmour Thomson and Co. The distillery was bought and modernised in 1954 by Hiram Walker and Son through its daughter society Ballantine’s which used the whisky in its blends. In 2000 the distillery was mothballed by Allied Distillers, and in 2003 it was bought by Angus Dundee Distillers which started up production again.

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