Whisky Rescued From 80-Year-Old Shipwreck To Be Sold At Online Auction

A Scotch salvaged from a famous shipwreck is expected to earn as much as $20,000 in an on-going auction now live, online.

The bottle was retrieved from the wreck of the SS Politician. The ill-fated vessel ran aground during WWII and was at the center of a national firestorm shortly thereafter.

On its way to Jamaica, by way of Western Scotland, the cargo ship was carrying some 28,000 cases of whisky when it foundered on rocks along the rugged shoals of the Outer Hebrides.

Nearby islanders made their move on the coveted contents of the Politician after official attempts at salvage had ceased.

The UK government viewed such actions as thievery, but the locals saw it quite differently. According to contemporaneous reports, a widespread effort among the Hebridean communities was labelled a ‘whisky rescue.’ This led to a protracted battle between the accused scallawags and tax collectors from mainland Scotland and, eventually, London. Because no duty had been paid on the whisky, members of HM Customs and Excise eventually went after anyone who might have lifted cargo from the ship.

One local in particular helped immortalize these hijinks, attracting international attention. Compton Mackenzie, of Barra island, sensationalized the circumstances as the background for a novel called Whisky Galore. Published in 1947, it was adapted into a fairly popular British comedy of the same name two years later. A remake debuted at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2016.

But the bottle currently up for sale at the Grand Whisky Auction house isn’t part of that controversially recovered booty. It was raised by George Currie more than fifty years later. The deep sea repairman was working on a subsea cable off the Hebridean coast when he hit pay dirt. Along with a team of divers, they were able to recover a VAT 69, Ballantine’s and four bottles of a now-defunct brand known as Gibbey’s.