Here's Your Chance to Own a Bottle of Shipwrecked Scotch Whisky

Over 20,000 cases of whisky sunk with the SS Politician in 1941. One of those bottles can be yours.

Shipwreck Whisky from The Grand Whisky Auction
Photo: Courtesy of The Grand Whisky Auction

How much would you pay for an unmarked bottle of Scotch that was lost at the bottom of the sea nearly 80 years ago? $20,000? What if the auctioneer threw in a diving helmet and a movie poster?

Whisky Galore has been many things: a 1947 novel, a successful 1949 British comedy film, and a less successful 2016 remake. But before all of that, it was a real event. In 1941, the SS Politician ran aground near Eriskay, one of the last islands off Scotland’s western coast before sailors are free to navigate the Atlantic. The ship contained over 20,000 cases of whisky headed for Jamaica, but much of the booze ended up in the hands of local Scotsmen instead, many of whom faced legal action for their salvaging efforts. However, now, anyone with an interest in history and alcohol can purchase a bottle for themselves without running afoul of customs officials.

As reported by Forbes, Scottish online seller The Grand Whisky Auction is currently taking bids on Lot 160320: “S.S Politician - Whisky Galore 1940's.” The auction features an unopened but also unlabeled bottle recovered from the famed shipwreck back in 1987.

George Currie—who served as director of Currie Brothers Limited, a former marine engineering company—was apparently working on a subsea cable repair in the area when his diving team located the wreck and grabbed this particular bottle for themselves. “It was a great days diving,” Currie quipped.

The contents of the bottle, however, remain a mystery, with The Grand Whisky Auction simply stating, “The whisky onboard ranged from Gilbey’s, Ballantine’s, VAT 69 and more.” The auction house also adds, “This bottle is not suitable for human consumption.” That doesn’t necessarily mean you couldn’t drink the bottle: Whisky doesn’t really go bad. Rather, it’s more likely that if you did choose to crack open this unlabeled booze, The Great Whisky Auction wants you to know they aren’t vouching for what’s inside.

Also included in the auction is a diving helmet, two bricks recovered from the ship, and an original poster of the 2016 Whisky Galore! movie—just in case you look at the label-less bottle and wonder why the heck you bought it.

According to Forbes, the whole package is expected to sell for about $20,000. Currently, the bid is under $8,000 with five days left to go in the online sale.

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