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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 November 2006, 19:07 GMT
'Oldest whisky' sells for 15,000
The bottle of Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky
The bottle holds about 14 fluid ounces of whisky
A bottle of whisky which experts believe could be the oldest in existence has sold at a Bonhams auction house in London for 14,850.

The Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky is believed to have been bottled about 150 years ago at the Glenavon Distillery, which was located in Banffshire.

There was gobal interest in the sale, with bidders from the Far East and US.

The bottle, which has been owned by an Irish family for generations, eventually went to an anonymous bidder.

The distillery, in Ballindalloch, ceased operating in the 1850s.

The green bottle is unusually small in size and holds about 14fl oz (about 400ml) of pale gold liquid.

Even if it had been bottled after the closure of Glenavon, authentic bottles of Scotch from the 1870s are extremely rare
Charles MacLean
Bonhams

It is believed to have been bottled by the Glenavon Distillery between 1851 and 1858.

However, uncertainty surrounds its exact age.

The label reads "Glenavon - Special Liqueur Whisky Bottled by the Distillers," but Glenavon stopped operating in the 1850s.

Experts have said that if the whisky was indeed "bottled by the distillers", it could be the oldest to come to auction.

The Glenavon Distillery was licensed to John Smith, son of George Smith, founder of the nearby Glenlivet Distillery.

John Smith joined his father in the business in 1846 and established a small distillery at Delnabo in 1849.

Consolidated distilleries

Bonhams' consultant Charles MacLean said: "It has been suggested that Delnabo and Glenavon may have been one and the same.

"What is certain is that the Smiths closed Delnabo in 1858, and in the following year they consolidated all their distilleries - including Glenavon/ Delnabo - at Minmore, the site of the present Glenlivet Distillery."

Mr MacLean said the label implied that it was bottled before the move to Minmore.

"Yet even if it had been bottled by the Smiths after the closure of Glenavon, authentic bottles of Scotch from the 1870s are extremely rare," he said.

"John Smith died in 1901, so we know it was bottled before then."


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The whisky is expected to fetch up to 10,000



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