Tomas, tell us about your love for St. Magdalene. What appeals to you about this distillery?

There are a couple of reasons. First, it's a beautiful name of course, and I love the whisky. I started collecting lost distilleries, and then when I started to taste St. Magdalene, I found that it was my kind of dram. It is a Lowland whisky, so it's quite easy drinking.

How big is your collection?

I have about 212 different editions of St. Magdalene, and in total almost 400 bottles.

Are there other distilleries you are interested in, or is just St. Magdalene?

No, I drink mostly old blends; that is my kind of thing. The blends I drink go back to the 1960s and 1970s. Current blends are not quite the same.

How do you think the quality of whisky from those years compares to the quality of whisky now?

Today's whisky is probably better in quality and more consistent, but it's a computer that has made it. It is no longer as handmade as it was; today the machines do everything.

When did you purchase your first bottle of St. Magdalene?

I bought my first bottle around 2000, and I started collecting St. Magdalene properly in 2004. It was easy to find then, but not today. It has increased in price a lot in the last five years. St. Magdalene is still a rare, largely unknown distillery because it was closed in 1983. And people can still get confused because it can be known as Linlithgow Distillery as well as St. Magdalene.

Do you drink your bottles?

The one thing that I learned from the beginning is that whisky is made to be drunk and enjoyed. You just need to just find the right moment to drink it - it could be any morning, afternoon, or evening. I have duplicates of most of my bottles, so I can keep one and open one up to taste. I haven't tried everything yet because I only have one copy of some bottles.

What is your most prized bottle?

An 18-year-old St. Magdalene from 1964 is one of my favourite bottles, while the oldest bottle I have dates back to 1891.

With St. Magdalene closing its doors in 1983, do you know if there is any liquid left that is still to be bottled?

Yes, I know that Beam Suntory still has one cask up in Pitlochry. They say Diageo also has some, and Gordon & MacPhail has a couple of casks as well - I think its next release will probably be a 40-year-old.

Do you think you are the biggest collector of St. Magdalene?

I know for sure that I am the biggest collector of St. Magdalene in the world; but I have decided I am going to sell it all soon.

I'm going to keep some bottles for drinking purposes, but I would like to find a buyer that can purchase the whole collection. I want more people talking about St. Magdalene and being educated about the distillery.

Absolutely. Do you know what you would like to do with the money?

I've already decided that I'm going to buy a house in the Canary Islands. I found one that I fell in love with and asked the broker if they would take my whisky collection for the price, because it's probably worth more than the property. She said it was the first time she has ever been offered a whisky collection for a house!

We cannot ignore our surroundings; what an incredible place to live! Do you know what the history of the castle is?

It was built around 1800, and then after ten years a ship owner bought it and built the tower because he wanted to see his ships coming and going along the River Clyde. I have lived here for five years, moving to Scotland from Sweden.

Do you remember your first taste of whisky in your native Sweden?

I didn't like whisky at all, I was not a whisky drinker. Then, when I was much older, I started mixing it with Coca-Cola, and I began to get into it.

Isn't it funny that now one of your favourite things to do is pour yourself a neat dram?

Yes, I just regret that I didn't discover my love for whisky earlier, because then I'd be a rich man!

The original feature is from the Winter 2021 edition of Whiskeria, delivered to the door of W Club subscribers and also free with any Whisky Shop purchase in store or online. Click here to read the full Winter 2021 issue of Whiskeria online for free.