A bottle of The Macallan Adami 1926, described by Sotheby’s auction house as the “most valuable whisky in the world,” on Saturday went under the hammer for a record ￡2,187,500 (US$2.72 million).
The rare bottle had been expected to raise between ￡750,000 to ￡1.2 million, but outstripped estimates to set a “new record for any bottle of spirit or wine sold at auction,” after a bidding war between would-be buyers on the telephone and in the room, Sotheby’s said.
Just 40 bottles of The Macallan 1926 were bottled in 1986 after being aged in a sherry cask, Cask 263, for 60 years, said Macallan, based in Moray, Scotland.
Photo: AFP Photo: AFP
Twelve of the bottles, including the one sold on Saturday, had labels designed by Italian painter Valerio Adami.
One of The Macallan 1926 bottles had set a previous record for the most expensive bottle of wine or spirits ever sold in 2019, when it fetched ￡1.5 million at the same London auction house.
The bottle sold on Saturday is the first to have undergone reconditioning by the distillery ahead of auction. This included replacing the cork and applying new glue to the corners of the bottle labels.
The final price included a charge known as the buyer’s premium on top of the sale price of ￡1.75 million.
Sotheby’s head of whisky Jonny Fowle said ahead of the sale that he had been allowed to sample the prized whisky.
“I tasted a tiny drop — a tiny drop — of this. It’s very rich, it’s got a lot of dried fruit as you would expect, a lot of spice, a lot of wood,” he said.
He said it had spent 60 years in dark European oak, which was reflected in the color.
“It’s not a whisky to take lightly. It’s a rich, rich dram, but it is incredible,” he said.
Macallan’s master whisky maker Kirsteen Campbell, who gave the tipple a sniff during the reconditioning, said it contained notes of “rich dark fruits, black cherry compote alongside sticky dates, followed by intense sweet antique oak.”
“Dark chocolate, treacle, ginger ... the notes go on and on,” she said. “It was a very special moment to experience the opening of this iconic 60-years-old single malt, first bottled 37 years ago, and I hope the new custodian will enjoy the same privilege.”
Additional reporting by AP
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