Whisky collection rescued from 130-year-old shipwreck sold at auction

A whisky collection rescued by divers from a 130-year-old shipwreck has sold for £3,200.

The SS Wallachia sank in the Firth of Clyde in 1895 while carrying a collection of whisky and beer, with the precious cargo thought to have been lost forever.

But nearly 100 years later a group of divers found the wreck and salvaged the haul of bottles.

One of the divers sold his find – including what is believed to be one of only two decanters of Wilkinson’s Famous Liqueur Whisky recovered from the wreck – at McTear’s auction.

The lot included seven bottles and half bottles of whisky from historic brands Robert Brown’s Four Crowns blend – a popular brand that received a Royal Warrant from Edward VII – and Charles Wilkinson, along with two bottles of McEwan’s Export beer.

McTear’s whisky specialist, Ewan Thomson said: ‘This was a wonderful collection, with a truly historic story to tell.  

‘Although individual bottles of ‘Wallachia whisky’ have been sold in the past, this is the largest and best preserved selection to go under the hammer.  

‘The decanter was a particularly notable find, being one of only two recovered from the ship; and, as far as we know, it is the only one to ever come to auction.’

Mr Thomson said there has been a lot of interest in the collection, but he believed most were interested in the bottles as collectors’ items rather than for drinking.

‘There was a lot of interest in the collection although I suspect most were interested in the bottles as collectors’ items rather than for drinking,’ he said.

‘Reports from those who have been brave enough to sample these whiskies in the past range from “elegant and moving” to an “utter abomination”, suggesting that anyone looking to sample this particular 125 year old amber nectar should tread carefully.’

Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s food and drink pages, in association with Cask & Still magazine.