A very rare bottle of Springbank, 1993, privately bottled in 2012 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Special Boat Service's contribution to Operation Chariot in 1942, is to be sold at Bonhams whisky sale in Edinburgh on 2 October.
Operation Chariot was the code name of the Commando raid on St Nazaire, a German naval base on the Loire, and was an early test for the newly formed Special Boat Service (SBS).
SBS was inspired by the work of Roger 'Jumbo' Courtney a Commando officer who developed the idea while servicing at the Combined Training Centre in Inverary in 1940. Meeting resistance to his project from Naval high command, Courtney paddled out to a naval vessel anchored in the Clyde, boarded it undetected under the cover of darkness, scribbled a message on the door of the captain's cabin, and stole a deck gun cover which he then presented to a group of senior naval officers meeting in a nearby hotel. They were suitably impressed and Courtney got permission to go ahead.
Operation Chariot has been described as the greatest raid of all time and, despite the heavy casualties, was certainly among the most successful Commando raids of WWII.
Only 200 bottles of the whisky were produced. The one for sale is numbered 74 and is estimated at £1,500-2,000.
Bonhams whisky specialist in Edinburgh, Martin Green, said, "This story has everything - a first class whisky to mark a major contribution to the war effort of a very brave part of our armed services which can trace its origins directly back here to Scotland."
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com