Single malt whisky
Single malt whisky is a whisky produced by one particular distillery, making each one unique in its own right. They are normally made from a mash (ingredients for brewing and fermenting) which uses one type of malted grain, usually barley.
Most single malts are associated with Scotland, known as Scotch whisky, although other countries like America do produce their own varieties.
Scotch Single Malt Whisky production is highly regulated, and must be distilled using a pot still (specifically designed for spirits) and aged for at least three years.
Whisky has become a popular collectors item and can reach extremely high prices at auctions, with some bottles selling for hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Single malt whiskies have become particularly sought after items, especially ones made by what are considered to be the finest distilleries, such as Ballantine's, Ardbeg and Highland Park.
Collectors may collect whisky from certain time periods or focus on whiskies produced by certain distilleries. What makes certain bottles worth much more than others can also be affected by how rare it is, as some whiskies are only produced for short amounts of time.
Last November, 2010, an extremely rare bottle of 1974 Double Barrel single-cask malt whisky - one of just 250 ever produced - was auctioned off for $16,103 by Bonhams in Hong Kong. The rare lot consisted of two bottles of Ardbeg and eight silver drinking cups, presented in a bespoke leather gun case.
In March 2011, a Scottish whisky bottler, Gordon & MacPhail, donated a Generations Glenlivet single malt to Bonhams in London to raise funds to help victims of the Japanese earthquake. It sold for $24,159.
Two bottles of Macallans single malt whisky were sold at Bonhams' Edinburgh sale in March, 2010. A Macallan 1938 and a 52-year-old 1946 were sold, reaching prices of $4,100 and $4,500 respectively.
Hobart's Lark Distillery sold a bottle of one of its 1998 whiskies for $1,600 in spring this year - the highest price paid for Australian whisky to date, and one which compares well to many Bowmore or Springbank classics.
In a recent auction of rare and collectible whiskies by Scottish firm McTear's on June 15, 2011, a bottle of Ardbeg 10-year-old Single Islay Malt was expected to sell for a price of between $1,955-2,444. A rare bottle of Black Bowmore 1964 Single Islay Malt Whisky sold in the same auction for $3,222.
Types and manufacturers
There are a number of different types of whisky, which can vary depending on the grain, the particular distillation process used and the country of origin.
Main article: List of whisky collecting terms
The world’s most expensive whisky
The world’s most expensive whisky ever sold is a bottle of Macallan Lalique 64-year old whisky contained in a unique Cire Perdue crystal decanter, created especially for Macallam by Lalique.
It was sold at auction in November 2010 for $460,000.
Other notable whiskies
Main article: List of notable whiskies
Notable whisky collections and collectors
Main article: List of specialist whisky dealers
Clubs and societies
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