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Whisky Galore” rare bottle of Ballantine’s to be auctioned next August

Wednesday, July 21st 2010 - 06:24 UTC
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The bottle was rescued from the remains of SS Politician that went down in 1941 ( Pic: STV) The bottle was rescued from the remains of SS Politician that went down in 1941 ( Pic: STV)

A rare bottle of whisky salvaged from a shipwreck, on which the novel and film Whisky Galore were based, is to go under the hammer in Scotland. The bottle of Ballantine's is thought to have been recovered from the wreck of SS Politician in the 1950s or 1960s.

The cargo ship ran aground in a gale off the Outer Hebrides, near the island of Eriskay, in 1941 - with 264,000 bottles of whisky onboard.

Islanders, deprived of the drink because of war-time rationing, started looting the ship, retrieving some 24,000 bottles from the Politician's hull. Local customs officers eventually blew up the hull in an effort to put a stop to the looting.

In 1947, the Scottish author Compton Mackenzie wrote a novel, Whisky Galore, based on the incident which, two years later, was turned into an Ealing Comedy film of the same name.

Auctioneers said it was an “exciting” discovery because whisky from the Politician rarely appears at auction.

In 1987, eight bottles were retrieved from the wreck, which still lies submerged off the coast of Eriskay, and sold for STG4000 ($A7,000). Despite extensive salvage efforts in 1989, only 24 more bottles were recovered.

Martin Green, the whisky specialist at Bonhams, Edinburgh, said: “These bottles don't come on the market very often and it's always exciting when they do because of the romance behind the story and the famous film - and, of course, the whisky is still very drinkable.”

The bottle is to be sold with photographs of the salvage operation at Bonhams annual Scottish sale in Edinburgh.

It is expected to fetch between £ 1.200 and £ 1.800 at the sale, which is on between August 17 and August 20. In 1987, eight rescued bottles were auctioned at £ 4.000.

Tags: auction, rescue, whisky.

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