Unopened bottle of whisky taken to WWI front line expected to make at least £2000 at auction

The bottle comes with a handwritten note from the soldier who took the drink to war

An unopened bottle of whisky which was taken to the front line of the First World War is to be auctioned, with a starting price of £2,000.

Corporal William Mill, who served with the 3rd Volunteer Battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers, took the bottle of Croft Blend Fine Old Scotch to France in 1914.

However, the soldier did not open the spirit while he was at war, and instead returned with it when he went home to Dumfriesshire.

The bottle remained under his bed in a suitcase, before being passed down through his family.

A note written by Cpl Mill on the back of a photograph of him taken in 1908 is also part of the lot.

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A note written by Cpl Mill (Image: PA/Scottish Whisky Auctions)

Little is known about the blend of whisky, but experts believe it was produced between 1892 and 1913.

The drink, which is over a hundred years old, will be sold off at an online auction which will remain open for 10 days.

Those interested in bidding for a piece of history will be able to see what the current price is before making an offer. 

Auctioneers are expecting “some interesting bidding” when bidding opens on Friday as it is the oldest bottle ever sold on the site, and auctioneer Peter Burns believes it remains in good condition despite its age.

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The bottle was taken to France by Corporal William Mill in 1914 but was never opened and he brought it home with him when he returned to Dumfriesshire.

"The bottle was produced between 1892 and 1913, as the glass bottle manufacturer, Cannington, Shaw & Co were using a particular stamp format during this period which is present on the base of the bottle," he said.

"Apart from that, nothing is known about this bottle and the whisky inside it. It is truly a mystery and, despite casting the net far and wide for answers, through archivists, whisky writers, historical institutions and other knowledgeable individuals, not one single person has been able to shed any light on it.

"There is a very high likelihood that this is a one of kind and, when it appears on our website later this week, it could make for some interesting bidding activity.”

Based in Glasgow, Scotch Whisky Auctions is the UK's biggest online auction site, with 10-day sales held each month.

Additional reporting by PA

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