Lifting the Spirits at TW Gaze Diss Auction Rooms

Lifting the Spirits at TW Gaze Diss Auction Rooms

By Elizabeth Talbot


As one year ended and the New Year was ushered in, the beverage of choice, or at very least, of traditional association for many people, is champagne. However, for many more it is whisky. Could this be because, whilst New Year's Eve is a big celebration for millions of people all over the world, it is particularly significant in Scotland? Festivities take place all over Scotland and last for up to three days, beginning at the end of December and ending on 2 January. The festival is called Hogmanay and is a time of national celebration which draws from a fascinating historical, social, and cultural legacy. The national drink of Scotland is whisky and so raising a “a wee dram” to toast the year seems highly appropriate. True Scotch - the golden nectar from Scotland - is spelt whisky, without an "e". This comes from whiskybae which is derived from the Gaelic “uisge beatha”, literally meaning “water of life”. If it is spelt with an "e" then it's either Irish or American.


Therefore, whisky is not unique to Scotland and whilst Scottish whisky has been selling strongly in the specialist Wines & Spirits auctions held regularly at TW Gaze in Diss, this year’s top-selling whiskey was Irish. Featuring in day one of a two-day fine Christmas Special Sale, the bottle of Midleton Very Rare Irish Whiskey, 1989, complete with box, sold for £5,600.

Midleton’s Distillery was founded on the banks of the Dungourney River in 1825. Like the rest of the Irish distilling industry, the West Cork company had its times of difficulties over the generations, but a resurgence in the market in the 1980’s saw the launch of the Midleton Very Rare range of vintages. The first Midleton Very Rare bottling was released in 1984, to critical acclaim, and a new vintage is released every year. The Master Distillers use their exceptional expertise and creative experience with individuality which means that each year’s vintage provides its own unique character; there are subtle but recognisable differences between the years.

The tasting notes for the 1989 bottling are: Aroma - Immediate green granny smith apples with a cereal element apparent. Lemon verbena and hawthorn, spiced vanilla. Oily, with pot still character to the fore; Taste - The thick palate is concentrated, showing darker fruits and set honey, but a tang of acidity maintains balance; Finish - Waves of vanilla spice gently fade to old oak.

Such bottles full of craftsmanship and artistry are limited, highly prized, and greatly sought after. International interest leads to some stunning auction results and Lisa West of TW Gaze is available to give advice and guidance on future consignments and sales. Contact her With 2022 already seemingly full of exciting promise, and instructions being taken for the marketing and sale of some private cellars, spirits are high at TW Gaze. The next sale from this department is schedule for March and is set to feature a private cellar including a 1983 Leroy La Tache, a 1921 Clos del la Roche also vintage Port, Whiskies and Brandy. Find all the latest details on, including full sales calendar and four illustrated catalogues every week.