Nearly £50k raised in first auction devoted to women in whisky  

The Demeter Collection captured at The Grandtully Hotel by Ballintaggart

A whisky collection created to recognise the work of women in the whisky sector has raised nearly £50,000 at auction for the OurWhisky Foundation, the non-profit organisation dedicated to inclusivity in both whisky careers and consumers.

The inaugural Demeter Collection, named after the Greek goddess of grain, was hosted by global whisky auction platform Whisky Auctioneer, and achieved a final hammer price of £43,614 from its 19 specially curated lots, with winning bids coming from the UK, USA, Ireland, Latvia and Belgium.

As well as waiving its auction seller fees, Whisky Auctioneer’s buyer’s commission was also donated to the OurWhisky Foundation, bringing the total raised to £49,065.75.

The top bid was for a rare 44-year-old Dalmore, created to honour Margaret Nicol’s remarkable five decades of dedication to the whisky industry as a blend controller at Whyte & Mackay. That achieved a hammer price of £12,500, paying a fitting tribute to Nicol’s illustrious career.

OurWhisky Mentorship Programme members

All funds raised will allow the OurWhisky Foundation to further its work providing initiatives and projects that support women working in whisky. Ongoing projects include its widely acclaimed mentorship programme, which by the end of this year will have directly supported 200 women in their careers.

The foundation is also planning a new, enhanced series of trade and consumer networking and tasting events; and the development of its online magazine, The Cut, into an educational resource. Applications for the next mentorship intake have opened this week.

Head curator and spirits specialist at Whisky Auctioneer, Joe Wilson, said: “It has been a privilege for us to support the OurWhisky Foundation in providing not just a platform for this ground-breaking sale, but also to promote the contributions of women to the industry as a whole.

“From the distilleries and independent bottlers who generously donated to the bidders from across the world, it is incredible to see whisky lovers come together to make a real difference.”

Becky Paskin

Founder of the OurWhisky Foundation, Becky Paskin, added: “We’re blown away by the fantastic amount raised from the inaugural Demeter Collection.

“The OurWhisky Foundation provides much-needed support and guidance for women in whisky as well as the wider industry, but we are in desperate need of funding if we’re to continue providing our services.

“Thanks to Whisky Auctioneer, all our lot donors and the hundreds of bidders coming together over a shared love of a dram, the fantastic amount raised will help us continue making whisky an inclusive space for everyone.”

Among other noteworthy outcomes from the auction was the hammer price of £9700 for a unique 20-year-old Ardbeg, crafted as a tribute to the 20-year legacy of master blender Gillian MacDonald.

In addition, the first bottle drawn from the inaugural cask at Derbyshire’s White Peak Distillery, Wire Works’ Love, Sweat & Tears, fetched £3350, and the Loch Lomond Sonata Collection, a creative trio of whiskies curated to explore peat, sold for  £2200.

Atonia’s Legacy, the inaugural blend in a series of whiskies to celebrate the Demeter Collection, reached a hammer price of £1650, having been blended by Sarah Burgess of The Lakes Distillery.