Tuesday, January 11, 2022


Leading spirits auctioneer site Whisky.Auction, has announced that a first edition copy of The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard, has sold for £3450.

Often referred to as the most important book ever written about whisky, it contains an in-depth look at the whisky distilleries of the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as sketches, maps and advertisements.

Rare Alfred Barnard whisky book sells for £3250 at auction

The author, Alfred Barnard embarked on an exhaustive two-year pilgrimage in 1885-1887 around 162 distilleries in Scotland, Ireland and England. A year later, his findings were published. The remarkable account of his journey includes detailed and engaging descriptions of whisky production at each of the UK’s then working distilleries.

Commenting on the news, Isabel Graham-Yooll, Auction Director at Whisky.Auction, said: “We were thrilled to see this book be made available for the public to bid on, it’s a book we often refer to but rarely get the opportunity to read. We were expecting this rare travelogue to do well at auction but it was given an extra boost by having such impeccable and fascinating provenance.”

She went onto say: “The book is engaging throughout, Barnard drew on the local lore and legend told to him by the many characters he met on his travels, ranging from proprietors and chief excise officers to hoteliers and coachmen. He describes the journeys taken to reach each distillery (the journey often more important than the destination) be it by train, steam boat, horse and cart or on foot.”

Isabel concluded by saying: “First editions of The Whisky Distilleries Of The United Kingdom are such a rare find. This is a book that was originally a trade publication and so it’s not something that would have been commonly found in every book shop.”

This historic book serves as an essential reference for old and rare whisky collectors as many of the distilleries no longer exist at all and some of the distillation practices mentioned in this book have changed beyond all recognition.

Posted by Steve Rush