Connoisseurs and speculators snap up €500 bottles of Irish whiskey in hours

Redbreast 32-year-old whiskey was sold on members-only website

More than 800 bottles of a rare Irish whiskey were snapped up by connoisseurs and speculators in less than two hours over the weekend despite having a price tag of €500 each.

The cask of 32-year-old Single Pot Still Redbreast Whiskey was cracked open by makers Irish Distillers and put into 816 500ml bottles before being put up for sale on a members-only website at 4pm on Saturday to mark World Whiskey Day. By 6pm all the bottles were gone.

While Irish whiskey devotees had anticipated such a sale for months, many were caught off guard by the speed at which the Redbreast sold out.

"I certainly did not think it was going to sell out that quickly," said collector Will Murphy. "I figured it would take at least three months for the whole lot to sell. It is unprecedented for an Irish whiskey to sell this fast at this sort of price. I certainly have never heard of it happening before."


Mr Murphy suggested that the fast sale was a measure of the high regard in which Irish whiskey is now held.


“It’s a real rags to riches tale of Irish whiskey revival and especially Irish Pot Still. In 1985 the brand was finished and has been reborn in 1991 to grow to its popularity today,” he said.

It certainly represents quite a mark up for Irish Distillers. The whiskey which sold on Saturday was first put into casks in 1986 and would have cost the company less than £1,000 – or some €400,000 less than it sold for.

Mr Murphy – who owns at least one bottle of every variation of the brand known – said that while some of the whiskey will have gone to genuine whiskey lovers he suggested that many of the buyers were speculators.

"While €500 might seem like a lot of money to spend on a bottle of whiskey, this will be appearing at auctions in the US and Asia and even for sale on Facebook at two or three times the original price within weeks."

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor