A chance encounter on a Highland fishing trip has paid off for one whisky enthusiast as his collection has gone on sale for £15,000.
Jon O’Connell was fishing at Rothiemurchus when he began chatting to another fisherman over a dram or two of Aberlour A’bunadh 10 years ago.
He enjoyed it so much that he began collecting a bottle from every batch ever made – and now his collection of Aberlour A’bunadh – which has been hailed one of the largest and most successful ongoing whisky series of all time – has amassed to 66 bottles.
To build that collection the biologist, from York, has spent years being outbid in auctions and scouring obscure whisky shops across Europe to track down some of the more elusive releases.
Now Mr O’Connell has decided to sell the collection, which has been valued at £15,884.
It is being sold by whisky broker Mark Littler, who last year helped Matthew Robson, 28, from Taunton, sell his 28-bottle collection of Macallan single malt for more than £40,000.
‘To have a bottle from every batch ever produced is what makes this so unique’
Speaking about the chance encounter all those years ago, Mr O’Connell said: “What a day it was meeting that fellow fisherman on the banks of the loch. I’d never seen anything like the bottle of whisky he produced that day.
“So after enjoying a dram, I decided to buy myself a bottle and from there, I set myself a challenge to collect a bottle from every batch ever produced.
“It took 10 years to track all the bottles down, with batch 15 being undoubtedly the most difficult. When I finally got my hands on the last bottle to complete my collection, I felt a real sense of achievement.
“I’ve decided to put them up for sale because I think they would make for a wonderful present for someone – certainly for that fisherman that inspired me all those years ago.”
Aberlour’s A’bunadh range owes its origins to a bottle buried in the foundation of its still room dating back to 1898. After the workers drank half of the bottle, the remaining half was sent to a special laboratory for analysis. The whisky is a recreation of that lost single malt.
Mr Littler said of the collection: “The A’bunadh whisky series is the largest whisky collection that we have ever sold and to have a bottle from every batch ever produced is what makes this so unique and a real selling point for whisky enthusiasts.
“It’s great to see Jon’s affection for Aberlour develop after spending time in the Speyside area. His decision to start collecting bottles was a great one and we are seeing more people invest in whisky the way that Jon has. If you can amass a collection like his, then it can be extremely rewarding indeed.”