Illicit still set to fire up whisky auction

McTear’s may have a reputation for selling some of the rarest single malt whiskies on the planet, however, it is a tool of the spirits trade that is set to take centre stage at this week's Rare & Fine Whisky Auction.

Unearthed in a New Galloway barn, the mid-19th Century copper still is already attracting global interest ahead of its appearance in the Rare & Fine Whisky Auction on 18 January.  The piece, which stands 110cm high, to fetch between £5000 and £6000.  

Commenting on the unusual lot, McTear’s whisky expert, Graeme Maxwell, said: “This is a fascinating piece that gives a rare insight into the world of illicit distilling in the Victorian era.   

“Many farmers in the mid-19th Century owned small stills which they could distil their own spirit out of sight from the exciseman.  Compared to the setups used by modern, commercial legal distilleries, this is a very primitive piece of equipment, which would have produced strong and questionable spirits to be shared among friends and family.”

In addition to the copper still, the auction will include a selection of hugely collectable single malts, including a rare bottle of Black Bowmore 1964 Final Edition which is expected to sell for between £8,000 and £12,000, and a Macallan 1946 Select Reserve 52 years old which could fetch £12,000.

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McTear’s sells more whisky than any other traditional auction house in the dedicated whisky auctions that take place monthly, run concurrently live online on a platform that attracts six million visitors annually from over 120 countries worldwide. Come along to the Valuation Days at McTear’s on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week for complimentary auction advice. 

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