Offered at Ramsay Cornish (17% buyer’s premium) in Edinburgh on December 9, the bottle bore a label inscribed Specially Selected Lagavulin Distillery – Island of Islay, Argyllshire. Guaranteed Pure Malt – 10 Years Old. Walter Ballantyne & Son. St. Boswells.
The latter was a shop which supplied the gentry riding with the Duke of Buccleuch’s Hunt in the Borders, and a radiocarbon dating report by the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre identified the whisky as having been distilled c.1920.
These scientific assurances are becoming more and more necessary in a market where fraud is not unknown. After testing, the bottle, with cork stopper and bar-top type closure, was professionally resealed with black wax.
Estimated at £3000-5000, it sold over the phone at £11,500 – believed to be a record price for Lagavulin.