Here’s something I didn’t know until today – there’s a whole category of booze known as “sunken scotch,” and it’s all been recovered from the cargo holds of wrecked ships.
The wreckage was discovered along the rocky Outer Hebrides, and once official salvage attempts had ceased, islanders descended on the bones looking for prizes among the carnage.
The practice is technically illegal in the U.K., but I mean…most of us would consider it more criminal to leave whiskey languishing, no one to enjoy it forever.
The “rescue” of said whiskey, and the subsequent hijinks to evade paying taxes on it, has even been immortalized in books and film (Whisky Galore, 1947), with a recent remake making headlines at the Edinburgh Film Festival, as well.
The latest bottle up for sale at the Grand Whisky Auction was recovered by George Currie, a deep sea repairman who was working, at the time, on a subsea cable off the Hebridean coast. He and a team of divers recovered a VAT69, Ballentine’s, and four bottles of a brand that no longer exists, Gibbey’s.
Two bottles of similarly aged bottles from the SS Politician fetched over 12,000 pounds at auction in 2013.
Remember, though, that whiskey ages in barrels, not bottles, so it’s not as if bottled scotch on the bottom of the sea is any older, essentially, than another bottle of booze aged a decade or so in a barrel.
Basically, however it tasted 80 years ago is pretty much how it will taste today.
The offering does come with a diving helmet, bricks from the ship, and an original movie poster from the 2016 remake of Whisky Galore.
Just something to consider, if you’re thinking of taking a secondhand plunge.