Whiskey blessed for spirit of kindness goes to auction at €15,000

Unopened bottle of Irish single pot from Bandon Distillery in 1916 for sale at Adams

The whiskey was distilled at the long-gone Bandon Distillery in west Cork

The whiskey was distilled at the long-gone Bandon Distillery in west Cork

 

A bottle of 1916 whiskey with a blessing from a priest and bottled on Nun’s Island is expected to sell for more than €15,000 when it goes under the hammer next month.

The Allman’s whiskey to be sold at auction by Adams is one of the oldest unopened bottles of Irish single pot still whiskey to come on the market.

It was distilled at the long-gone Bandon Distillery in west Cork for a Cpt RE Palmer. It was bottled by the also long-vanished Nun’s Island Distillery in Galway, which was owned by the Persse family who supplied whiskeys to the House of Commons.

The bottle was bought last year in the UK by Willie Murphy, a Wexford collector. “It is utterly unique,” he told The Irish Times. “There are older bottles of Irish whiskey out there but nothing with the provenance of this.”

Richard Allman, the owner of the Bandon Distillery, was a Liberal MP during the years of Charles Stewart Parnell’s Home Rule movement and, legend has it, owed his whiskey fortune to the blessing of a Catholic priest.

In 1820 a Fr Collins was pursued by an Orange mob and given sanctuary for three days by the Allman family.

To thank the woman of the house for her kindness, he prayed “that your children may make riches out of water”.

Six years later her son James C Allman converted a mill in Bandon to a distillery and made his fortune from the water of life.

And what a fortune he made. At its peak it had 15 warehouses storing 9,000 casks of whiskey and the second-largest malt house in Ireland behind the Guinness operation at St James’s Gate. As it did to so many Irish distillers, American prohibition brought the distillery to its knees and it closed in 1929.