The Special Rare Malts Selection

With over 100 different bottlings released, ‘The Rare Malts Selection’ is one of the most coveted series of whiskies ever released. At McTear’s we have around a quarter of this fantastic range in the upcoming Rare & Fine Whisky auction.



The series was conceived in 1995 when what is now Diageo bottled numerous, primarily closed distillery, bottlings at cask strength. The spirits dating back as early as the late 1960’s are some of the most desirable spirits in the whisky world.

None is more sought after than the Brora 1972 aged 22 years. Bottled at three different strengths (60.02%, 61.1% and 58.7%), the Brora 1972 has been given the highest praise from many of the leading names in the whisky industry, including the likes of Serge Valentine giving it his highest ever score of 97 out of 100. Lot 162, bottled at 58.7% volume, is some of this mythical spirit and is expected to sell for £3,000-£5,000.


The previous whisky in the sale (lot 161) is the sister whisky to the Brora Rare Malts bottling, the Clynelish 1972 aged 24 years, estimated to sell for £600-£800.

Prior to the current Clynelish distillery opening in 1968, the Brora distillery was in fact named ‘Clynelish’, with the current Clynelish distillery being referred to as ‘Clynelish 2’. To prevent any confusion, it was renamed to Brora, and was eventually closed in 1983.

The Rare Malts Selection in 2003 morphed into what we now recognise as the Diageo’s annual ‘Special Releases’, which are some of the oldest and most desirable stocks of whisky released each autumn. Up until the 2017 Special Releases, Brora and Port Ellen had been the focal point of this range each year.

In October 2017 Diageo announced plans to revive the Brora distillery, and for the distillery to be operational again by 2020. Following this announcement Brora and Port Ellen were removed as regulars of the ‘Special Releases’. It is believed Brora was removed from the ‘Special Releases’ line-up to save stock for the re-opening of the distillery.

Fingers crossed that the new spirit is in the same vain as this spectacular 1972 liquid!


Click to view full catalogue >>

Graeme Maxwell


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.




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