A bottle of the world’s oldest single malt is set to breathe new life into Highland woodlands, as the proceeds from its sale are to be spent on tree planting.
The landmark bottle of 80-year-old whisky from the Glenlivet Distillery went under the hammer last month in Hong Kong.
As part of a package including a tasting experience and framed cask end, the whisky sold for £142,000.
After costs, the full £80,000 auction proceeds are being donated to Trees for Life to restore woodlands in the Scottish Highlands.
Turning rare whisky into rare trees
The donation comes from Elgin-based spirits firm Gordon & MacPhail who owned the original dram and arranged the auction.
It is the first of 250 similar 80-year-old whisky decanters to be sold and the £80,000 is heading to Scottish tree planting charity Trees for Life.
Based in Findhorn, Trees for Life is working to rewild the Scottish Highlands.
Their mission is to restore the Caledonian Forest, a vast woodland that once covered most of the Highlands with Scots pine, birch, rowan, juniper and aspen trees, but is now reduced to about 2% of its former size.
The charity has planted nearly two million trees since it launched in 1993, but the volunteers are not finished yet.
To the west of Loch Ness in a place called Dundreggan, Trees for Life have a large nursery where rare and hard to propagate trees grow.
This is where the bulk of the whisky cash will be heading.
Steve Micklewright, CEO of Trees for Life, said: “The partnership and generous contribution will have a significant, positive impact on our nursery at Dundreggan.
“Funding will help us to grow more than 80,000 rare, native trees from seed each year, restoring and enhancing Scotland’s natural environment for all.”
Decades in the making
The whisky itself was distilled at the Glenlivet Distillery and poured into its cask on February 3, 1940.
Internationally renowned architect and designer, Sir David Adjaye OBE, was entrusted with designing the decanter and oak box for it.
The eventual jewel-like decanter came with a guide price of between £90,000 to £140,000, eventually selling for £142,000.
“We chose to partner with Trees for Life because we believe our organisations are closely aligned,” said Ewen Mackintosh, managing director of Gordon & MacPhail.
“Much like a golden anniversary is symbolised with gold, an 80th is traditionally commemorated by oak, so the theme and partnership was a natural fit.”
“Our whiskies are often decades, if not generations, in the making and Trees for Life are also planning for the long term so we are very proud to support their mission.”