THERE’S SOME valuable whisky gone missing and its owner would like it back. Poor Stuart Wilson of Birmingham, England waited ten long years for his own cask of single malt Scotch from Islay’s Kilchoman Distillery to mature and be bottled. Unfortunately, a shipping company’s mistake led to the theft of all 257 bottles of his personal bottling of Kilchoman before he ever even got a sip. The theft took place last summer but the distillery has come forward to ask for help in tracking down the missing whisky after a police investigation over the last several months failed to solve the case. The pallet was apparently unloaded at a delivery yard used by multiple people, and the delivery company had several pallets of shipments to be dropped off at the site. The lorry driver unloaded all of them, the shipment was signed for, and then he drove off. Each bottle and box was labeled with “Bottled exclusively for Stuart Wilson.” Even though the mistake was reported immediately, the pallet of whisky had disappeared by the time the delivery company returned to reclaim it, and West Midlands Police were unable to track down any clues before closing the case. ScotchWhisky.com, which first reported the theft, has estimated the value of the stolen bottles at around £15O GBP each (US $187) based on retail prices for private cask bottlings of Kilchoman, placing the overall value of the stolen whisky at more than £38,OOO (US $47,382).
Stuart Wilson’s personal cask was number 142/2OO6, an ex-Bourbon barrel filled on July 12, 2OO6 and bottled on July 24, 2O16 at 57.1% ABV, with a total of 257 7OOml bottles. Three bottles of the stolen whisky have turned up so far. A person who bought the bottles from an unidentified seller became suspicious after he saw Wilson’s name on the labels and contacted the distillery, which confirmed that they came from the stolen cask. That person was compensated for turning in the stolen bottles, and the distillery will do the same for anyone else who turns in bottles from Wilson’s cask. As for Wilson, he is being compensated with another cask of whisky from 2OO6, but remains very frustrated. Kilchoman sold a number of casks to individuals during 2OO6 and 2OO7 as part of the early financing for the distillery, and Wilson’s cask was among the first to be bottled. Cask buyers receive samples from their maturing barrels, generally on an annual basis, allowing them to decide when their specific cask of whisky is ready for bottling.