Adrian Grenier and Local Scotch Expert Heather Greene Help Set New Whisky Record

Jersey City resident Heather Greene is a rare female scotch expert. A Glenfiddich brand ambassador, she’s also founder of the Mrs. Roberts Society, a scotch sisterhood crafted to introduce women to whisky’s virtues. Her group takes its name from Mrs. Janet Sheed Roberts, granddaughter of Glenfiddich founder William Grant, who is still alive and well at 110 years old in Scotland.

To honor Grant’s granddaughter, Glenfiddich produced 11 bottles of a 55-year-old Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve, and last week the first bottle to reach U.S. soil traveled by ferry to Liberty Island for Glenfiddich’s 125th Anniversary celebration.

The evening was hosted by Entourage star Adrian Grenier, and the bottle’s sale benefited SHFT Initiatives, a charity he co-founded in his commitment to sustainable approaches to living.

After first selling himself for $2,500, Grenier joined guests in observing bidding on the evening’s centerpiece, a 55-year-old bottle of Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve, which sold for $94,000, setting a new world record for whisky unloaded at auction.

One of only 11 bottles in the world, and the first ever sold in the U.S., self-described collector and connoisseur Mahesh Patel took the night’s prize after a 25-minute bidding war.

But it wasn’t Christie’s vice president and auctioneer Rachel Orkin-Ramey’s reminder at the $60,000 mark that the winning bid is a tax write-off, or Grenier’s last-minute offer of a bubble bath to the victor at $85,000, that won over Patel so much as the charm of Greene, who held Patel’s ear – and shoulders – throughout the evening.

“You can do this, I’ll help you. You want to open this bottle, I’ll host it for you. I’ll fly where you need to go,” she told him, firmly declaring herself on “Team 13,” referring to Patel’s lucky paddle number.

Indeed, despite competing bidders in other corners of the room, the cameras, Greene, Grenier and his partner in SHFT, Peter Glatzer, all gathered around Patel from his first raise.

“I’m shocked,” Greene said afterward, pleased not just to see the previous record broken by $20,000, but also for Patel. “It wasn’t about money it was about prestige, it was about owning something beautiful and wonderful, and I didn’t want him to lose this.”

On the ferry back to Manhattan, Grenier, who on stage described a potential record-breaking sale as a symbol to the world of the rebounding American economy, now looked beyond money to the night’s greater meaning.

Speaking of how SHFT is “committed to the art, aesthetics, and beauty of developing space that’s good for communities,” he recognized the significance of hosting the auction under the Statue of Liberty’s gaze.

“There’s nothing like the architecture of her, and the symbolism behind what she represents,” he said. “It embodies the freedom of choice we have to create a better world.”

However, Patel told reporters it wasn’t the sustainability efforts of SHFT that inspired his bidding, so much as the scarcity created by Glenfiddich.

“There’s only 11 bottles in the world,” Patel reminded reporters. “That was my motivation to keep going.”

Photos by Adam Robb

Adam Robb

a frequent contributor to the Jersey Journal and He is a freelance writer living in Jersey City, whose work has appeared in publications including Philadelphia Weekly, Atlantic City Weekly, and Time Out New York. His own blog, The Life Vicarious, has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, and has been featured in The New York Times and on the New York Post‘s Page Six.