Whisky direct from The Queen’s private cellar is going on the auction block this weekend in the United States.
Two bottles of 1980 Bowmore Single Malt Whisky from Buckingham Palace will be auctioned off in St Paul, Minnesota as part of Regions Hospital Foundation’s 26th annual Wine Auction.
In previous auctions, the bottles have sold for more than £41,853 ($65,000 USD). Saturday’s auction will be the first time that bottles were donated to a U.S. charity.
The bottles come from The Queen’s Cask, which is the barrel of whisky Her Majesty received during a 1980 visit to the Bowmore Distillery in Scotland. In 1779, Bowmore was as the first distillery on Islay (pronounced ‘eye-lah’).
Since the whisky was bottled in 2002, she has given away three bottles to charity each year.
“In 2002 for her Golden Jubilee, she had been promised a cask from that visit. And in fact, they bottled 648 of this whisky,” revealed Sarah Bazey, co-chair of the Wine Auction.
Money raised will help the Regions Hospital Burn Center. In 1994, Bazey spent 50 days at the center after a helicopter crash in which she suffered severe burns to 40 percent of her body.
During a dinner party, Bazey asked former Harvard classmate Simon Berry if he would be willing to donate a bottle of wine for the auction. Berry is from the famous Berry Bros. & Rudd in London and The Queen’s Clerk of the Royal Cellars.
Since 1698, Berry Bros & Rudd has traded in London. It has been a supplier to the Royal family since the reign of King George III. If you are wondering how long ago that would be, George III became King in 1760.
“Simon said if it didn’t need to be wine, in fact, he thought that a bottle of the Queen’s private collection of whiskey would be appropriate,” Bazey stated.
One bottle will be auctioned Saturday during the Wine Auction. A minimum reserve bid of $50,000 must be reached for it to sell. If not, both bottles will be auctioned off on 20 November at Bonham’s, an international auction house in New York.
Her Majesty donates three bottles every year to charities.
The Clerk of the Royal Cellars is a part-time member of the Royal Household. They are usually an experienced senior wine merchant. The Clerk advises and supervises the purchasing and maintenance of the liquor for the Household, focusing on spirits and wines. Simon Berry was appointed by The Queen in 2007.
The Clerk will give advice on wine pairings for State banquets and other events. The Clerk of the Cellar also supervises the Yeoman of the Royal Cellars.
Along with a deputy and an assistant, the Yeoman is a staff member of the Master of the Household Department.
This position requires the holder to handle the procurement of spirits, wines and beers for meals as well as for entertaining whether it be private or official in the Royal residences.
The Yeoman of the Royal Cellars keeps inventory and along with the Clerk of the Royal Cellars, makes certain an ample stock is at hand.
Robert Lange is the current Yeoman of the Royal Cellars. Lange received the Royal Victorian Medal (RVM) as part of the Queen’s 2014 New Years Honours List.
Featured photo credit: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills via Flickr
Photo Credit: Cindy Stockman 2015