Glenfiddich raises £44,000 for war heroes

Every now and then something happens that makes you stop and have one of those existential crisis moments where you start to question your existence and purpose in life.

You feel dissatisfied, purposeless and, ultimately, in need of a stiff drink.

About £8,000 worth right there

For me, it was not (as may well be assumed) late on a Tuesday night, watching episodes of Lassie and staring at the bottom of a bottle of cheap whisky, empty fast-food wrappers by my side. Rather, it was a couple of Fridays ago (February 10) at the Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve charity auction, an evening designed to raise money for the Walking With The Wounded charity, an organisation dedicated to the re-training and re-education of injured war veterans.

The Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve whisky was made to commemorate the 110-year old granddaughter of the Glenfiddich distillery founder, William Grant. Only 14 bottles of the 55-year old whisky have ever been produced, and, of those, only 11 will be released to the public, one to celebrate each decade of her life.

At Friday’s auction, the bottle sold for a whopping £44,000, just shy of the recording-breaking £46,850, which bottle No.1 sold for in December last year. All of the proceeds go directly to the charity, who are hoping to head up an expedition to Everest this April – a fundraising challenge to put five wounded servicemen on top of the world.

One Lucky Journalist

One lucky journalist won the opportunity to sample a wee nip of the extremely rare whisky – and that one lucky journalist happens to work for BarLifeUK, joining only about a dozen people worldwide who have ever tried the rare spirit. Surprisingly pale in colour for something that has spent so long in European barrels, it has a light and floral nose, with a creamy vanilla taste that lingers on the back of the palate for what could may well have been hours, had I not chosen to join the rest of the group in a toast with the 12-year old Glenfiddich.

The Team heading to the top of Everest

But, it wasn’t that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that brought on that moment of clarity. Rather, it was the opportunity to mingle with the members of Walking With The Wounded, and listen to a talk from Private Jaco van Gass, a war veteran who took part in the Walking With The Wounded expedition to the North Pole last year and who was wounded in Afghanistan at the age of just 23. He was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, resulting in the loss of his left arm, as well as a collapsed lung, punctured internal organs, loss of muscle and tissue from the upper left thigh, multiple shrapnel wounds and a fractured knee, fibula and tibia. “At that moment,” he said, “my life changed forever.”

Glenfiddich’s Malt Master Brian Kinsman said that, while the bottle was most likely bought by a collector and would therefore never be opened, the fact that £44,000 went to the charity was a remarkable thing.

And if Glenfiddich wants to get behind that, well, drink up I say.