A rare bottle of Scotch whisky has been sold for $2.7 million/Ksh411 million breaking the record for the most expensive wine or spirit sold at auction.
The Macallan 1926 single malt is one of the world’s most sought-after bottles of Scotch whisky. It was sold by Sotheby’s on Saturday, at more than double its estimated price.
The auction house’s head of whisky said he had been allowed to taste “a tiny drop” of it beforehand.
“It’s very rich, it’s got a lot of dried fruit as you would expect, a lot of spice, a lot of wood,” Jonny Fowle told the AFP news agency.
A bottle of The Macallan 1926, described by Sotheby's as "the most valuable whiskey in the world", went under the hammer on Saturday for a record £2.1 million
The sale set "a new record for any bottle of spirit or wine sold at auction,"https://t.co/eRYQmCO82X pic.twitter.com/W8LsKpjBI0— What - Where - How much (@runcominvest) November 19, 2023
The whisky spent 60 years maturing in dark oak sherry casks before becoming one of just 40 bottled in 1986.
The 40 bottles were reportedly not made available for purchase – instead, some were offered to The Macallan’s top clients.
And whenever any of the bottles have been auctioned over the years there have been extraordinary results – a similar bottle was sold in 2019 for £1.5m.
Speaking last month in the run-up to the auction, Fowle said The Macallan 1926 “is the one whisky that every auctioneer wants to sell and every collector wants to own”.
Sotheby’s said the 40 bottles from the 1926 cask had been labeled in different ways.
Two bottles had no labels at all, a maximum of 14 were decorated with the iconic Fine and Rare labels and 12 were labeled by pop artist Sir Peter Blake. A further 12 bottles – including the record-breaking one sold on Saturday – were designed by Italian painter Valerio Adami.
It is not known how many of the 12 bottles of The Macallan Adami 1926 still exist. One is said to have been destroyed in an earthquake in Japan in 2011, and it is believed at least one other has been opened and consumed.
The Macallan is generally considered to be the second or third highest-selling single-malt scotch, next to Glenfiddich and, by some accounts, Glenlivet.
Originally, the Macallan was matured only in oak sherry casks brought to the distillery from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Beginning in 2004, Macallan introduced a new main product, the Fine Oak series, with the whisky mellowed in bourbon oak casks as well as sherry ones. In 2018, the Fine Oak series was renamed as the Triple Cask Matured range.
The distillery produces a number of expressions in its core Sherry Oak series, the most generally available being the 12-year-old, although the 18-year-old is widely distributed, alongside a 10-year-old cask strength expression at 58% ABV. Expensive 25, 30, and 40-year-old versions can also be found.