View all newsletters
Latest in Luxury - Sign up to our weekly newsletter
  1. Food & Drink
  2. Wine & Spirits
June 1, 2022updated Jul 15, 2022

Sotheby’s Auctions Rare Brora and Port Ellen Whisky Casks

The two auction lots, each worth an estimated $1.5m, come with extraordinary experiences attached.

By Alex Martin

Sotheby’s has announced the start of a first-of-its-kind auction featuring two of the rarest and most valuable whisky casks in existence. Taken from revered ghost distilleries Brora and Port Ellen, the casks are expected to sell for $1.5m each.

Launched in line with the Platinum Jubilee season, which marks Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th year on the throne, the casks contain whisky aged in excess of 40 years and are some of the last remaining from the distilleries’ original stocks.

Both distilleries were closed down in the 1980s (although Brora has since reopened and Port Ellen is not far behind) but have since gone on to achieve legendary status among whisky aficionados. Individual bottles regularly sell for over $10,000 with the most sought-after sometimes reaching six figures. With each cask containing over 100 bottles, a high estimate of $1.5m is well justified.

[See also: Gordon & MacPhail 70 YO Whisky Marks Platinum Jubilee]

Brora whisky cask at sotheby's
The Brora cask is expected to sell for upwards of $1.5m / ©Sotheby’s

Diageo, which owns both distilleries, will offer the winning bidders the opportunity to either bottle their whisky straight away or to age it for up to five further years with the help of its Cask of Distinction experts. The latter will require constant monitoring of the liquid as it evolves in the cask.

Winning bidders won’t just get a cask of extraordinary whisky, but will also be invited to create one-off pieces with acclaimed artists. Photographer Trey Ratcliff and industrial artist Ini Archibong will work with the new owners on a piece of art that reflects the distilleries and their whisky.

[See also: The Most Expensive Whisky Ever Sold at Auction]

Archibong plans to create a one-off sculpture that will act as a physical expression of Port Ellen’s dreamy location on the shores of the island of Islay as well as its distinctive spirit color. Once complete, the sculpture will be presented to the cask owner at the Port Ellen distillery following its reopening.

Ratcliff, a landscape photographer renowned for his stunning images, will travel to Scotland for the first time for his project. Accompanied by the Brora cask owner, he will capture the distillery’s stunning landscape in its best light. The owner will then select one image, which will be used to create a set of bespoke labels for the bottles drawn from the cask.

Content from our partners
Indulge Your Senses at Resorts World Las Vegas
Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort: A Desert Oasis Awaits
The Most Beautiful Biosphere Reserves in Spain

Replicas of the casks will be displayed at Sotheby’s London from May 31 through June 14, when the live auction takes place. Diageo will also donate 5% of the hammer price from both casks to Care International to support their work in Ukraine.

Trey Ratcliff in the mountains
Trey Ratcliff is a landscape photographer renowned for his stunning images / / ©Sotheby’s

Port Ellen 1979 Cask of Distinction

Cask No: 1145
Filled on: 15th February 1979
Est. ABV: 52.9%
Est Bottles: 102
Estimated Value: $900,000 to $1,500,000

Brora 1982 Cask of Distinction:

Cask No: 480
Filled on: 25th March 1982
Est. ABV:  52.8%
Est. Bottles: 145
Estimated Value: $900,000 to $1,500,000

For more information on the whisky auction, visit

Select and enter your email address Be the first to know about the latest in luxury lifestyle. Get the latest news on hotel openings and in-depth travel guides. Get insider access to exclusive promotions and special offers from our luxury partners.
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thank you for subscribing to Elite Traveler.

Websites in our network