Bottle from real-life Whisky Galore ship for sale

A BOTTLE of whisky salvaged from the shipwreck that inspired the book and film Whisky Galore will be sold at auction tomorrow.

The SS Politician lost its cargo off Eriskay. Picture: Kenny Davidson/WikiMedia Commons (CC)
The SS Politician lost its cargo off Eriskay. Picture: Kenny Davidson/WikiMedia Commons (CC)

It was part of the cargo on the SS Politician, which sank off Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides in 1941.

The Dornoch Castle Hotel in Sutherland has put the bottle of Black & White up for online auction, which ends at 8pm.

The bottle fetched £1400 at auction held by Christies in London in 1997. It has lost its label and is thick with sediment.

Philip Thompson of the hotel - which bought the bottle from a collector - said: “It would be good if it stayed in Scotland but we just don’t know. There could be global interest in it as it is so rare.”

It is being sold by Whisky-Online Auctions based in Glasgow.

“This bottle was one of many that were retrieved from the cargo that washed ashore following the wreck and subsequently hidden by locals. This bottle was found by an Islander digging their garden path in 1997 and was subsequently submitted for sale to Christies in Glasgow at the time,” said the auctioneers.


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“The bottle is missing all its labels and has a spring cap seal. The wax seal was added by Christies after the sale once it was noted that the level had begun to decrease. Level in the bottle is currently at the mid shoulder.”

Last year two bottles from the wreck sold for £12,050 after an online auction.

They were among eight bottles recovered from the wreck in 1987 by Donald MacPhee, from South Uist.

The whisky is not thought to be fit for human consumption.

The SS Politician was headed for Jamaica with 28,000 cases of whisky when it ran aground on the northern side of Eriskay in bad weather.

Islanders recovered hundreds of cases of whisky from the wreck and some of the bottles were buried to keep them hidden from customs officers.


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Other bottles have since been found washed up on the island’s shores and also recovered by divers.

Scottish author Compton Mackenzie, published the novel Whisky Galore in 1947, which was loosely based on the SS Politician wreck.

It was adapted for the cinema in a 1949 Ealing comedy starring Basil Radford.