A bottle of whisky recovered from the wreck of a cargo ship which inspired the film Whisky Galore! sold at auction yesterday for £2,200 to a teenager captivated by its remarkable story.
The bottle of Ballantine’s Scotch whisky is one of around 240,000 bottles which sank with the SS Politician after it ran aground off Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides in 1941.
For weeks the Scottish islanders celebrated on the spirits they had looted from the wreck, hiding the bottles before government officials could find them. The sinking of the SS Politician inspired the novel Whisky Galore and later the 1949 Ealing comedy film, helping ensure the tale of the islanders’ raid entered into legend.
In 1970 the Daily Mirror commissioned a team of divers, including Bob Pert, to locate the wreck and together the team retrieved six undamaged Ballantine’s Scotch whisky bottles including the one sold yesterday.
Mr Pert, 61, was allowed by the Receiver of Wrecks to hold on to the only uncontaminated bottle as a keepsake and it has remained unopened ever since. That bottle sold yesterday to the family of 18-year-old gap-year student Tam Burt, from Dollar, Clackmannanshire, in a commission bid placed at Gorringes Auctioneers in Lewes, East Sussex.
Tam said: “You won’t find it being drunk. I like to drink whisky but this one will stay untouched.”