Whisky expert Joe Wilson's highlights Five Whiskies To Look For with Joe Wilson

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Have you ever wondered what the whisky experts and auction curators would have their eye on at auction? Well, we asked our Head of Auction Content, Joe Wilson, to let us know! So here it is, Joe has selected five whiskies in our live European Bottlers Auction that he would have his eye on. 

Covering a nice variety of price-points (at the time of writing!) from some legendary independent bottlers and outstanding distilleries, we hope that this will be of interest to you.


"Despite the many differing cultures that these bottlings emerge from, there are always two constants: These are whiskies selected by people, regardless of background, who all know and love the spirit, and what follows from this is an understanding of what makes people want to collect them." 

Joe Wilson, Head of Auction Content


Longrow 1987 Samaroli & Moon Import / Dreams

A meeting of two great whisky minds, this series was revealed by Mongiardino to be his favourite of all he had done. The labels art was created by long-time Moon Import collaborator, Nadia Pini alongside Hans Piu. Nowadays the distinctly computer art brut style looks incredibly dated, and maybe it did in 1999 too. The pixelation of both Samaroli and Mongiardino’s names is however believed to be a printing error!


Talisker 1988 Samaroli Coilltean

This Coilltean series represents Silvano Samaroli’s transition to a true independent bottler in the early 2000s, and was the name he selected for his own bottling operation in Scotland, set up after his partnership with R.W. Duthie came to an end. Bottled in 2000, this was one of the first releases in the new black bottle style, a hallmark of the modern day Samaroli company. Thankfully Silvano took more care in his whisky selection than with proof-reading his labels; watch out for a trademark gaffe on this “Orkney Single Malt.”


Bruichladdich 1969 Jack Wiebers 32 Year Old / Old Train Line

When we view Samaroli and Moon Import as trail blazers for a generation of European independent bottlers, we cannot underplay the role of Bruichladdich in the history of either. Both companies owe much of their success to their early imports from the Islay distillery, and this Black Bruichladdich from Jack Wiebers is a reminder of some of those sought-after sherry cask releases, and bottled from casks of a similar vintage.


St Magdalene 1983 Part Des Anges 27 Year Old

Part des Anges are a small French wine and spirits retailer, established in 2005 by Thierry Richard and Laurent Buob. Their Closed Distilleries series boasts a number of impressive releases like this, as well as a sought-after bottling from lost Japanese distillery, Hanyu. Featuring several Glen Keith, the series joins Signatory Vintage’s Silent Stills in having egg on its face after several of the distilleries in the range re-opened subsequent to their release. Demolished in 1983, St Magdalene however is not likely to become one of them.


Laphroaig 1995 High Spirits 19 Year Old / Life is a Circus

Established in the mid-2000s, High Spirits is the second independent bottling company of Nadi Fiori, a contemporary of Samaroli and Mongiardino, and another legendary Italian bottler. His approach to bottling differed from theirs in the early days however, preferring his whiskies to have demure “Scottish looking” labels in contrast to the bright colours of Moon Import or the prominent branding of Samaroli. This Life is a Circus range is of particular note as it sees him break free from the shackles of that approach; the vibrant box and energetic scenes depicted providing an intense juxtaposition from previous series such as Loch & Castles. While he may finally be having some fun with his labels here, Fiori’s whisky selection has always been a serious business, and his name goes hand in hand with some exceptional independent bottlings of Laphroaig from over the years.