Blair Castle housed one of the recently found world’s oldest Scotch whiskies. Young Queen Victoria and Prince Albert managed to taste the whiskies, distilled 200 years ago.
The 750-year-old Blair Castle in Perthshire, Scotland contains what is believed to be one of the world’s oldest scotch whiskies. Blair Castle served as the ancestral home of the Dukes of Atholl.
Food & Wine reported that in 1844, a then 25-year old Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert spent three weeks at the Scottish castle. Additionally, the queen’s friend Anne Murray, the Duchess of Atholl, came with them. The Household Book for Blair Castle recorded that the royals drank whisky during their visit.
However, the castle’s resident trustee, Bertie Troughton, found 40 bottles of whisky hidden in a room in the castle cellar. The whisky looked aged and was believed to be the same ones that the royals drank years ago.
Blair Castle’s manager Atholl Estates believed the 40 bottles of whisky were distilled in 1833 and bottled eight years later. They noted as well that the whiskies were rebottled in 1932.
Local experts, Scottish research center test the whiskies
The family sampled the bottles and a local expert tested the whiskies. The research in the castle archives proved the early 19th century origin of the whiskies. Also, the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center authenticated this through carbon dating.
Whisky production recorded through documents and ‘bin books’
Blair Castle holds the documents which included extensive references to whisky production throughout history, especially during the early 19th century.
The archives included ‘bin books’ or cellar inventories. One of the bin books dated July 23, 1834, showed whisky recorded in the cellar which was safely in its cask.
The book recorded it ‘Bin 65 – Store Whiskey – 72 bottles = 40 Gallons in wood, therefore becoming one of the earliest known references to whisky maturing in wood.
Offering the whisky at the auction a “once in a lifetime occurrence”
Joe Wilson, Head Curator and Spirits Specialist at Whisky Auctioneer, said that the whisky was made during a fascinating period as whisky production was experiencing massive changes following the 1823 Excise Act.
Wilson said that finding the bottles is exciting for those who are interested in the history as well as the heritage of the Scotch whisky industry. As a matter of fact, Wilson described the phenomenon as “a transcendent discovery that is sure to capture not just the imagination of the whisky industry but also those well beyond.”
“Offering the world’s oldest scotch whisky at auction is truly a once in a lifetime occurrence,” Wilson said. “I’m fortunate to be well acquainted with old and rare liquid, as Whisky Auctioneer handles some of the world’s rarest whisky bottlings.
Banner photo via Whiskey Auctioneer’s official website.