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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Rare whisky harvests high price
Dan Weiss with the whisky
Dan Weiss with his prized purchase which will not be opened
A US businessman who has never visited Scotland has splashed out $20,000 for a rare bottle of whisky.

Dan Weiss, 44, from New Jersey, was the highest bidder at an auction during Tartan Week to raise money for the City Harvest food charity in New York.

He paid 11,422 for the Glenfiddich, which was casked in 1937, the coronation year of George VI.

Mr Weiss said it would have to be a "heck of a special occasion" before his purchase was opened and drunk.

The bidding at the Scotland Village in Grand Central Station began at $5,000 and rose in $1,000 steps before Mr Weiss, a computer software director, entered the fray at $19,000 and put forward his $20,000 offer.

He explained later that he and a friend began collecting Glenfiddich and Glenlivet whisky after the latter was served at the wedding of Princes Charles and Diana in 1981.

We had to increase it to 75cl which was no mean feat. That was the only one that we will ever bottle
Ian Millar
Distillery manager

Mr Weiss had about 250 bottles in his collection when he stopped counting about five years ago.

The 1937 Glenfiddich, which he described as the "crown jewels" of their amassed whisky, was a joint purchase by the two men.

Despite his pastime, Mr Weiss has never visited Scotland, although he has taken a virtual tour of the Glenfiddich distillery near Dufftown on its website.

The whisky came from cask number 843 which was distilled on 17 July 1937. After it was opened only, 61 bottles were produced, making it the oldest and rarest bottling undertaken at the distillery.

Wood hue

Malt master David Stewart said it was very much the exception to have a cask of that age keep its strength and that the whisky was "woody and bronze" for a Glenfiddich.

The bottles were the standard 70cl but US law forbids the importation and sale of this size, which caused problems with just weeks to go before the auction.

Distillery manager Ian Millar said Glenfiddich had had to work fast to enable the auction to go ahead.

Ian Millar, Dan Weiss and Jack McConnell
Ian Millar, Dan Weiss and First Minister Jack McConnell

"We had to increase it to 75cl which was no mean feat. That was the only one that we will ever bottle - that makes it unique," he said.

Mr Millar tasted the whisky from cask 843 in 2001 and added: "It was a very delightful experience, not just to drink it but to be able to tell other people that I've tasted it - there have to be some bonuses of working in the industry.

"It has a lot of nice pretty notes which is typically Glenfiddich.

"There's also a heady wood intensity there and you get that on the taste as well.

"There are also notes of peat. Back then distilleries were using peat to dry barley and there was no real control exerted over the levels of peat in the process."

The money raised from the auction will go to City Harvest, a New York charity which collects unwanted food from restaurants, hotels and other premises and distributes it to the needy.

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