The Scottish Maritime Museum has bought an eighty year old bottle of whisky salvaged from one of Scotland’s most famous shipwrecks and the inspiration for the Ealing Studio comedy Whisky Galore!

The unlabelled bottle of blended whisky from the 1923 SS Politician, which ran aground off the Isle of Eriskay in 1941, was purchased by the museum with the support of the National Fund for Acquisitions at The Grand Whisky Auction.

It will become part of the museum’s collection of maritime heritage, which is housed in Irvine and Dumbarton.

The whisky, which is now believed to be undrinkable and which was one of 264,000 bottles stowed onboard the wartime cargo vessel, was recovered from the shipwreck by George Currie of Orkney in June 1987.

The North Sea diver and his colleagues went looking for the wreck after completing a subsea cable repair between South Uist and Eriskay and the bottle was in his possession up until now.

Laden with goods to be sold to raise funds for the war, the 800 tonne SS Politician set sail from Liverpool on February 3, 1941. Bound for Kingston, Jamaica, and New Orleans, it was brimming with motor cars, bicycles, cotton, medicines, tobacco and around £145,000 in Jamaican bank notes.

It was the 22,000 cases of malt whisky from bonded warehouses in Leith and Glasgow, in Hold Number 5 which inspired Compton Mackenzie’s famous 1947 novel Whisky Galore!

Two years later, Mackenzie’s romantic comedy featuring the ‘SS Cabinet Minister’ and the islanders of ‘Great and Little Todday’ was made into the Ealing comedy starring Gordon Jackson, Joan Greenwood and Basil Radford.

On receiving the bottle, David Mann, Director of the Scottish Maritime Museum, said: “This bottle of shipwrecked whisky may be small in size but the colourful story behind it provides us with a powerful and enthralling link with our cultural and social maritime past.

“Intact and in good condition, which is amazing considering 46 years submerged in saltwater, the bottle complements our nationally recognised collection of Scottish shipbuilding, boatbuilding, engineering and design perfectly.

“It will play a leading role in helping us tell the stories behind the collection and exploring our social and cultural relationship with the sea with visitors.”