The proceeds of the sale, which was sponsored by Glenfiddich in aid of Walking with the Wounded, a charity set up to support injured service men and women, will go towards funding an expedition to Everest later this year; a fundraising challenge to put five wounded servicemen ‘on top of the world'.
Excitement levels, buoyed by generous snifters of Glenfiddich and plenty of Champagne, were elevated by the prospect of smashing the world record for the most expensive single malt Scotch whisky sold at auction, which previously stood at a whopping £46,850.
Senior Christie's auctioneer James Bruce-Gardyne kicked off the bidding for the whiskey – described that evening as ‘dynamite in a bottle' - at an already staggering £20,000. Emotions had already been ignited by a talk given by a remarkable young soldier, Private Jaco van Gass, severely injured on duty, and the crowd were vociferous in their encouragement.
The bids quickly escalated, with several unlikely looking bidders upping the stakes with imperceptible nods. Unfortunately, the world record was not broken in this particular auction, with a mystery telephone bidder clinching the sale at an impressive £44,000.
Outside, traipsing miserably through patches of grey slushy snow, were bedraggled office workers taking part in military fitness sessions. While soldiers bellowed orders (to pick up the pace), haranguing the unfortunates, a drinks reception merrily unfolded upstairs, where be-suited bidders mingled with uniformed soldiers and members of the Everest Expedition summit team treated to canapés and warming slugs of whiskey.
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