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But the bottle illustrated right does contain the genuine article, which last appeared in liquor stores 100 years ago. This is one of only three surviving bottles of whisky from the last distillery in Wales. Frongoch was a short-lived enterprise, founded in 1889 by R.J. Lloyd-Price and closed in 1890 as the Temperance movement took a firmer grip on the morals of Welshmen – only in the past few decades has it been possible to buy a drink in Wales on a Sunday. The disused distillery is probably more famous as the internment camp where Irish freedom fighter Michael Collins spent the First World War.

Welsh Whisky may have to be
taken seriously once more: in June 2000 businessman Brian Morgan established a new distillery at Penderyn, using fresh peaty water from the Breacon Beacons. But until the first whisky matures in 2003, the Frongoch vintage will remain the only opportunity to sample the indigenous hard stuff.

Consigned to Phillips’ Welsh sale in Newport on September 26, along with ephemera relating to its manufacture and the history of Frongoch, the bottle sold to a collector at £1350 plus 15/10% premium.