A rare Talisker Single Malt Scotch whisky cask, part of Diageo’s exclusive cask ownership programme, Casks of Distinction, is being put up for auction.
It has been donated by Diageo to The Distillers’ Charity, who will include it as the headline item of their ‘One of One’ auction, managed by Sotheby’s at Barnbougle Castle, Edinburgh, on December 3.
This is the first time a Cask of Distinction has been sold at auction and offers the opportunity to own an iconic piece of liquid history.
Selected as a Cask of Distinction on account of its superlative quality, the Talisker Cask of Distinction 1978 is cited as the highlight of the auction as the highest valued item, with an estimate of £350,00 to £500,000. This 43-Year-Old cask of still-maturing Talisker single malt Scotch whisky will be sold paired with a cask-end that has been turned into an original work of art by Turner Prize nominee Callum Innes.
Once the successful bidder chooses to bottle the cask, they will become the sole owner of one of the world’s rarest and most highly respected whiskies, with dedicated packaging featuring the artwork of Callum Innes, another first for Casks of Distinction.
The cask-end artwork, titled Untitled Lamp Black / Quinacridone Gold, is neatly divided into two equal segments around a vertical axis or hinge. The segment on the left is covered with Lamp Black, a lush, velvety pigment in which the individual strokes of the artist’s brush are clearly visible.
Opposite this, light against dark is a shimmering expanse of Quinacridone Gold, a vivid, orange-yellow pigment, intense and diaphanous.
Callum Innes said: ‘Looking at the shimmering Quinacridone Gold in this work it is impossible not to be reminded of the earthy appearance of a Highland heather moorland, the limpid light of a sunset on the Isle of Skye over the Cuillin Hills or the rich caramel of a fine Scotch whisky.
‘Painting on a 60-year-old piece of wood, that has been steeped in liquid for most of its life, was a remarkable challenge. Not only was it my first time experimenting with circular painting and also working directly on wood.’
The Talisker Cask of Distinction is part of the Distillers’ One of One Auction comprising one-off, never to be repeated lots specially curated and donated by companies from across the Scotch whisky industry.
The biennial series of auctions in aid of disadvantaged young people in Scotland, led by The Distiller’s Charity, the philanthropic arm of The Worshipful Company of Distillers.
In addition to funding a number of young people’s livelihoods in Scotland, the successful bidder for this lot will acquire ownership of the original artwork (with a certificate of authenticity), and the option to further age the whisky in cask for up to five more years.
James Mackay, Head of Rare and Exceptional Spirits at Diageo said: ‘Each Cask of Distinction is unique; with the collaboration of Callum Innes, this one is also a work of art that we are proud to put on the One of One stage for the benefit of Scotland.’
Javier Ferrán, Diageo chairman, said: ‘We are delighted to support the Distillers One of One auction with a rare cask of Talisker Scotch whisky. We look forward to seeing our contribution to the auction generate significant funds for the Distillers’ Charity and to help enhance the life-chances of young people in communities the length and breadth of Scotland.’
In addition to this truly unique opportunity, the successful bidder and friends will be welcomed as VIP guests at the home of Casks of Distinction in Royal Deeside, where they can see their cask maturing inside the Casks of Distinction Warehouse.
The charity partnership with Callum Innes also marks the dawn of a new chapter in Diageo’s much-coveted VIP programme, in which clients are offered the chance to purchase a Cask of Distinction for themselves, and, now, to have their cask-end turned into a work of art, by commissioning one of a roster of available artists.
Clients share with their chosen artist what inspired them to pick their particular Cask of Distinction; in turn the artist is moved by the same spark of inspiration to create a unique work of art from the cask-end.
In this way, the Casks of Distinction programme combines patronage of the arts with exclusive ownership of rare and precious single malt Scotch whisky, linked by a single point of inspiration.
Bidding for the Talisker Cask of Distinction 1978 is now open. For more
information, visit https://www.sothebys.com/en/digital-catalogues/the-distillers-one-of-one