Tag Archives: Prince William

Bell’s Decanters: Prince William’s birth (1982) and Queen’s 60th birthday (1986)

Bought: Whisky Auction, 24th May 2017

Ratings:
Birth of Prince William, 1982:
82/100 – Whiskybase (from 1 member vote)

Queen Elizabeth’s 60th Birthday 1986:
Not rated yet but listed on Whiskybase here.

Bell’s Decanters have arrived in my collection and the men in white coats are coming to take me away. Did I just go insane? But no whisky collection would be complete without one, even if the majority of people consider them to be a bit naff. This is probably why they don’t make much money at auction. I paid £11 for Prince William and £18 for the Queen’s 60th. Empty bottles sell for a similar price on Ebay. It seems weird to say they’re “yesterday’s antique” when they only appeared in the 1980s. Perhaps one day their value will bounce back but there seems to be a lot of them about. It’s time to buy them all up and smash them! Let’s reduce the numbers. I’m sure the royal family won’t mind.

The Bell’s decanter first appeared in the 1920s when it was made from blue glass and designed in a more traditional decanter shape. By the late 1930s the bottle began to take on a more bell-like appearance and was made from porcelain. By the 1950s Royal Doulton, a famous British porcelain manufacturer began making the Bell’s decanter in the brown and gold design seen in Ralfy’s video below. By 1960 Stode had taken over production and then in 1966 it was Wade of Stoke. The Christmas decanters (often seen at auction) began life in 1988, which is also the year the decanters started containing ‘Bell’s Extra Special Blended Scotch Whisky’. Prior to that it wasn’t extra special at all!

Both my examples are royal commemorative decanters, which Bell’s first produced for the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981. This was also the first time that white porcelain had been used and all the stock sold out in a matter of months. Given this fact it’s hardly surprising that Bell’s decided to continue the royal theme with a second decanter release in 1982 for the birthday of Prince William. A 3rd release in 1984 commemorated the birth of Prince Harry and a 4th and 5th release in 1986 marked Queen Elizabeth’s 60th birthday and the wedding of Prince Andrew and Miss Sarah Ferguson. Since then Bell’s have done several more regal releases.

I’ve heard Ralfy (of www.ralfy.com) describe himself as eccentric many times but he always comes across as being quite normal. Nevertheless he sometimes shows eccentricity with his purchases and he’s currently the only person I can find that’s done a review of a Bell’s decanter on YouTube. Here’s Ralfy’s decanter advice from October 2012:

Littlemill 2011 20-year-old, Royal Wedding

Bought: Robbie’s Drams, 4th November 2015

Ratings:
88.25/100 – Whiskybase (average from 10 member votes)

Only 820 bottles of this Littlemill were produced by Hart Brothers to commemorate the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April 2011. It’s presented in a box, which is so pathetic it feels like it’s made from balsa wood. It’s lined with something resembling satin but there’s no padding behind it so the bottle can freely rattle about inside when transported. Bubble wrap required!

I’ve noticed over the years that there are a lot of bad examples of Littlemill whisky floating about on the market so it’s important to do some research before buying. Nevertheless even bad whisky can do well as an investment if it’s from a closed distillery and Littlemill stopped production in 1994, was dismantled in 1997 and destroyed in a fire in 2004. Thankfully my 20yo scores a brilliant mark of 88.25/100 on Whiskybase from 10 member votes. A similar 20yo by Hart Brothers bottled in 2012 scores 88.5/100 in the Whisky Bible 2013 so I’m confident that my dram is a good one. Clearly the independent bottlers Hart Brothers know a good Littlemill when they taste it!

Littlemill 20yo Royal Wedding 70cl