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Diageo Is Auctioning Off a 50-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky from a Ghost Distillery

Brora Iris 50 Year Single Malt 0 Hero
Photo: Diageo | Brora

Not everyone gets a second chance, but every once in a while a lucky distillery benefits from the enthusiasm of those with the power (and money) to do something and their appreciation of heritage. Brora, a Highland distillery in Scotland, had a 164-year history until being mothballed in 1983. It wasn’t until Diageo decided to resurrect the distillery a few years back that it resumed production. Now, the spirits powerhouse has unveiled a 50-year-old single malt from Brora’s vault, but only one decanter is being released.

Auctioned off as part of the annual The Distillers’ One of One Charity Auction in October, Brora Iris was bottled from a cask laid to rest in 1972. As the oldest expression ever to come from the distillery, which was once known for lightly peated whisky, the single malt is said to have a nose that possesses fortified wine, treacle toffee, sea salt, and “a background thread of coal smoke that suggests a vintage railway engine in steam.” On the palate, there is some oak spice and a balance of sweet, savory, and smoky, all giving way to a finish with lingering ginger spice, black pepper, and more smoke.

If the liquid weren’t enough, it will also be presented in a beautiful display that, along with the bespoke stone-crafted art piece, evokes the imagery of a Scottish wildcat’s eye as it’s suspended up at the top, revealing its golden amber color, and comes down to a point. Designed by ​​sculptor Michelle de Bruin, the art piece’s limestone comes from the same stone used to build the current distillery’s walls. The top of the bottle is capped with a wildcat-shaped key that was designed by Jonathan Knight.

We shall have to wait for October 5 to see how much Brora’s Iris will sell for but it’s estimated to get somewhere in the $650,000 range. Head over to Diageo’s website to learn more.