In what will be a ‘first’, the renowned auction house Aguttes will be offering the entire contents of an oloroso puncheon cask of Glendronach whisky in Neuilly-sur-Seine, outside Paris, on 23 October 2023.
The auction house, Aguttes, is to sell the 630 bottles drawn from this unique cask, lovingly aged for 30 years. This whisky, called “The One And Only”, celebrates the bicentenary of the Excise Act passed in 1823, which marked the official birth of Scotch whisky.
The Act marked the birth of Scotch whisky by legalising its production and establishing its taxation by the British government. So, this year marks the 200th anniversary of this milestone in the history of whisky as we know it today.
Pierre-Luc Nourry, the Aguttes specialist in the “Wines and Spirits” department, commented, “We are offering you the unique opportunity to acquire the entire contents of an oloroso puncheon cask – namely, an exclusive lot of one of the most representative single malts in the style of whisky produced by The Glendronach, much prized by whisky lovers the world over.
Glendronach is one of the five most sought-after brands at auction worldwide. In this instance, this 30-year-old whisky characteristic of the distillery’s expertise offers high investment potential.”
A cask of Glendronach at auction for the first time since the distillery’s creation in 1826
On 23 October 2023, Aguttes will be celebrating one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries, The Glendronach, founded by James Allardice in 1826. For almost two centuries, tradition has been perpetuated there in the production of Highland Single Malts, marked by the use of oak casks previously used for Spanish fortified wines, thanks to ancestral methods handed down through the generations.
- The wood of the cask impregnated by the oloroso reveals, after slow ageing, a whisky with a deep mahogany colour and a nose marked by notes of dried fruit, hawthorn, wild honey and dark chocolate-covered cherry.
- The sweet aroma of nuts, grapes and spicy notes of nutmeg and cinnamon add to the complexity of this malt, which has been infused for three decades. These aromas continue on the palate, with notes of baked apple, kirsch cherry and walnut.
- The finish reveals a beautiful acidity, tannic, rounded by the grape notes and the sweetness of the cherry. A whisky to be savoured, with which every second is a pleasure for the senses.
Estimated at €300,000/400,000 and 30 years old, this will be the first time that the contents of such a cask are going up for auction. It is the first to go under the hammer since the distillery was founded. The Glendronach 30YO “The One and Only” provides an opportunity to celebrate this twofold event.
Distilled in 1992, when stills were still heated with coal and traditional malting floors were still in use, The Glendronach 30YO “The One and Only” is a testament to this expertise, embodying the character of Highland single malts in the most authentic way possible.
The unique cask provides an exceptional opportunity to discover part of the history of Glendronach, for this single malt has been matured for 30 years in a truly remarkable oloroso cask. The natural reduction of the spirit during maturation has given it an incomparable aromatic concentration that has been enhanced over the decades by the Spanish oak.
Seven reasons to buy this cask
- A very rare product of one cask. Distilleries usually mix up the contents of casks, but this is a unique, intact product.
- A single cask. This whisky has been matured in a single cask, whereas whisky often changes barrels.
- A single malt: The Glendronach 30YO “The One and Only” is not blended in any way.
- The uniqueness and consistency of this whisky: a rare opportunity to acquire the entire contents of this single cask – a unique whisky in a single historic lot.
- A vintage whisky: 1992
- A technique from another age. This is one of the last casks to have benefited from wood-heated stills. This makes for a more authentic alcohol.
- A whisky is essential to any connoisseur’s cellar. Glendronach, meaning “blackberry valley” in Gaelic, is famous the world over for its consummate mastery of the use of sherry casks.
Each cask produces a unique whisky, as the wood influences the maturing of the spirit, revealing different flavours and levels of intensity. Like the choice of wood, the dormancy of the cask is crucial; as Aguttes specialist Pierre-Luc Nourry points out, “After casking and all the distillers’ efforts, nature is left to do its work.
This is a long-term process that involves handing on knowledge and much patience. A cellar master often works for their successor or even their successor’s successor.”
There are many different types of whisky in Scotland, produced in several regions. On the islands, whiskies are often influenced by sea spray, while in the Highlands, they have an earthier character, close to the “classic” Scotch whisky we have long known. So the use of foreign casks (Portuguese, Spanish or French) for ageing means that some distilleries can get off the beaten track, giving their whiskies originality and character.
This tradition adds aromatic richness and originality to a traditional product that can sometimes be a little subdued. The more time passes, the more the whisky acquires concentrated aromas in contact with the wood, which is one of the specialities of The Glendronach distillery.
An oloroso cask imported from Jerez (Andalusia) became home to The Glendronach 30YO “The One and Only”, distilled in November 1992, ensuring the finest possible maturation over three decades. Only a very small number of casks with exceptional character can be used for as long as 30 years.
This rare bottling is thus an event in the almost two-hundred-year history of The Glendronach Distillery. The master blender, in this case, Rachel Barrie, plays a crucial role in deciding when to bottle the whisky. Because once bottled, it no longer evolves. The buyer of a whisky like this gains a precious piece of history, for time is suspended in this elixir.
Selected by Rachel Barrie, this is the first single cask to go to auction since The Glendronach Distillery was founded. Each bottle of this limited release has been individually numbered to reflect its rarity and a highly distinctive certificate of authenticity features in the packaging.
Bottling a whisky makes it possible to assess the angels’ share – a proportion of varying levels that evaporates from the cask – and to sell the precise volume contained while making it easier to transport and arrest the ageing process.
The first woman to become Cellar Master in 2003, Rachel Barrie joined The Glendronach distillery in 2015, having previously worked in other major Scottish distilleries. It has decided that this whisky would reach its peak at 30 years of age, so it was bottled in June 2023. Bottled “Glendronach ‘The One and Only’ is bottled ‘brut de fût’, i.e. without reduction (dilution), but left at its natural alcohol content, offering a unique power and aromatic intensity.
Four tips for investing in whisky
- The most expensive bottle in the world, wine and spirits combined, is a Scotch whisky: The Macallan, 60 years old 1926, sold for €1.7 million in 2019 in London.
- The whisky market is by far the largest spirits market in the world, representing more than €2 billion in volume and global trade value in 2020.
- Vintage single malts represent the most popular investment products for investors, collectors and enthusiasts, for their rarity, to the point where producers sometimes find it difficult to keep up with demand.
- Whiskies produced in Scotland and Japan are the must-haves for the premium segment. Japanese whisky exports reached 56 billion yen (around €400 million) in 2022, a 14-fold increase in ten years. For the first time in its history, in 2022, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) announced that exports of Scotch whiskies have passed the €7 billion mark in a single year. And that’s thanks to an increase of 37% from the previous year.
- Vintage: 12 November 1992, stake 2023 (30 years old)
- Cask #7417
- Type of barrel: Oloroso Puncheon
- This single cask is a testament to the great finesse and complexity achieved by maturing single malt in oloroso sherry casks.
It is a testament to The Glendronach Distillery’s expertise and commitment to age-old methods and traditions since it was founded in 1826 when sherry and port casks were first imported and used to mature single malt whiskies, a practice that this small Highland distillery adopted early on to give body and originality to its traditional whiskies.
This whisky is the archetype of the formidable richness of aromatic notes linked to its maturation in a single sherry cask, which has made The Glendronach famous and popular with connoisseurs the world over.
- Public auction
- Glendronach The One & Only sale
- 23 October 2023 in Neuilly-sur-Seine
- Aguttes – 164 bis avenue Charles-de-Gaulle – Neuilly-sur-Seine
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