Toasting the royals at Mealy's


Bottles of booze commemorating British royal events go under the hammer next week, writes MICHAEL PARSONS

IF THE royal wedding has driven you to drink, then a forthcoming auction may offer just the right cure. Fine art auctioneers Mealy’s is to sell special limited edition commemorative bottles of brandy and whiskey produced to mark significant British royal occasions.

The family-run firm said the royal booze would go under the hammer during its fine art sale next Wednesday, May 4th, in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny

French Camus brandy, described as “Fine Cognac Royale”, in a Limoges flask modelled in the shape of a book, made to commemorate the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on 29th July, 1981, is estimated at €120 to €180.

Bottles of Bells whisky, made to commemorate the births of Prince William (June 21st, 1982) and Prince Harry (September 15th, 1984), are described in the auction catalogue as “both in excellent condition”. Just like the princes. The bottles will be sold as a pair with an estimate of €80-€150.

William and Kate – or, indeed, any couple – might enjoy the must-have remedy for occasional bouts of marital disharmony: His Hers Duelling Pistols. Described as “also useful for shooting parties on the Scottish grouse moors”, the novelty set contains: His large pistol filled with Clan Tartan Scotch Whiskey and, Hers – a small pistol – containing coffee rum liqueur. Estimate, €20-€40.

A Wade porcelain decanter, also filled with Bells to commemorate the wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson in Westminster Abbey July 23rd, 1986 has a lower estimate of just €40-€60. The whiskey is described as being in excellent condition. Only the most hard-core royalist is likely to want a decanter, also filled with Bells, and decorated with “22 carat gold mounts, in a colourful tin presentation box”, made to mark the birth of Princess Eugenie on March 23rd, 1990. Anyone toasting royal longevity might enjoy a drop of Scotch bottled to celebrate “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother – 90th Birthday, 4th August 1990”. Two bell-shaped bottles, decorated with a portrait of the Queen Mother and packed in a presentation case are valued at €50–€70.

According to auctioneer George Gerard Mealy all bottles are unopened and in pristine condition and the vendor was an elderly Dublin gentleman who never touched a drop in his life but instead, delighted in this collection which he assembled over 20 years.

Queen Elizabeth might be amused. Or not. She once famously demoted a footman for feeding her corgis whiskey.

If British royals are not your cup of tea, Mealy’s other offerings include a Spanish Gran Reserve brandy in an 11in-high bottle modelled as a drunken man with beer belly leaning against lamppost with large beer keg and cat at his feet” (€ 40–€60).

But remember, Spain also has a monarchy. To revive republican spirits, there’s a very rare bottle of Midleton whiskey (Cork’s not Kate’s) from 1984 (€250-€350).