Swede snaps up historic whisky safe 258


BY Alexander Lawrie

A PIECE of Scotch whisky history has sold at auction for almost £4000.

Loch Fyne Whiskies have recently sold the ultimate slice of whisky memorabilia – a 100 year-old spirit safe.

The unusual collector’s item was sold to an anonymous buyer from Sweden for a whopping £3800.

The safe is thought to be the original one used at the Glenlochy Distillery in Fort William which closed its doors in 1983.

Richard Joynson, owner of Loch Fyne Whiskies, said: “This safe really was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to own a piece of Scotch Whisky history.

“I’ve never seen anything like this come on the market before.

“It originally came from the Glenlochy Distillery in Fort William, which opened in 1898. And although I can’t be 100 per cent positive, it certainly looks like it is the original safe.

“The distillery closed down in 1983 and the safe has been gathering dust since then. A friend of mine acquired it and didn’t have anywhere to keep it, and so he thought that a whisky enthusiast might enjoy the chance to own something as unusual as this.

“We had quite a few bids, but a Swedish gentleman came up with the best offer and he is travelling over to Scotland at the weekend to pick it up.”

The safe is designed to allow the distiller to analysis and manage the destination of the product of the spirit still as it emerges from the spirit condenser, but without ever coming into contact with the spirit itself.

Its origins date back to 1823 when the alcohol duty laws were changed to allow small Highland distilleries to compete with the larger Lowland distilleries.

The main reason for the introduction of the whisky safe was to stop distillers avoiding paying duty on the alcoholic drink by ‘tapping off’.

Its use in the whisky making process was made compulsory in 1823.

Thought to have been made between the years of 1880 and 1890, the brass-clad safe was designed by Archibald McMillan and Co Ltd in Edinburgh.

The coppersmiths are still in existence and have gathered an international reputation for the design, manufacture and installation of copper stills for the production of whisky, gin, rum, and other potable alcohols.

Situated near to the banks of Loch Lochy, the old Glenlochy Distillery building has recently been converted into a large guest house and residential home complex.