A decanter of whisky rescued from a 130-year-old sunken shipwreck is set to headline an auction of rare and collectable spirits in Glasgow next month.
When the SS Wallachia went down in the Firth of Clyde in 1895, it was believed the ship’s precious cargo of whisky and beer was lost forever.
However, almost 100 years on, a group of courageous divers took on the challenge of visiting the wreck, resulting in a haul of bottles.
One of the divers has now consigned his find - including what is believed to be one of only two decanters of Wilkinson’s Famous Liqueur Whisky recovered from the wreck - to McTear's in Glasgow.
Experts at the auction house anticipate that the collection could sell for between £3,000 and £5,000 when it goes under the hammer in the Whisky: Timeless Treasures auction on April 14.
Commenting on the auction, McTear’s whisky specialist Ewan Thomson said: “This is a wonderful collection, with a truly historic story to tell. Although individual bottles of ‘Wallachia whisky’ have been sold in the past, this is the largest and best preserved selection to go under the hammer. The decanter is a particularly notable find, being one of only two recovered from the ship; and, as far as we know, it is the only one to ever come to auction.”
The lot includes seven bottles and half bottles of whisky from historic brands Robert Brown’s Four Crowns blend - a popular brand that received a Royal Warrant from Edward VII - and Charles Wilkinson, along with two bottles of McEwan’s Export beer.
Ewan added: “There has been a lot of interest in the collection although I suspect most are interested in the bottles as collectors’ items rather than for drinking. Reports from those who have been brave enough to sample these whiskies in the past range from ‘elegant and moving’ to an ‘utter abomination’, suggesting that anyone looking to sample this particular 125 year old amber nectar should tread carefully.”