The world’s ‘most sought-after’ whiskey sells for $2.7 million

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Sotheby’s global whiskey chief Jonny Fowle unveils a bottle of The Macallan 1926, the world’s most expensive whiskey, on October 19, 2023, in London, England.

London CNN –

For those who appreciate life’s finer drops, a bottle of the world’s “most coveted Scotch whiskey” sold for more than 2.1 million pounds ($2.7 million) at Sotheby’s in London on Saturday.

The Macallan 1926 is one of just 40 bottles bottled after 60 years of maturation in sherry casks, making it the oldest vintage of Macallan ever produced, according to the auction house.

Sotheby’s had expected it to fetch between £750,000 and £1.2 million (US$934,274 and US$1.4 million), but was in for a shock when the coveted bottle fetched a whopping £2,187,500 (US$2,724,967), making it a “new record for any bottle of spirits or wine sold at auction,” the auction house told AFP.

Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

This bottle of The Macallan 1926 is one of twelve labeled by Italian painter Valerio Adami.

Before the sale, Sotheby’s whiskey boss Jonny Fowle told AFP that he had tried a small sample.

“I tried a tiny drop – a tiny drop – of it. “It’s very rich, has a lot of dried fruits as expected, a lot of spice, a lot of wood,” he said, calling it an “incredible” whiskey that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Of the 40 bottles bottled in 1986, none were made available for purchase, some were instead offered to The Macallan’s top customers, a luxury that adds to its appeal, as evidenced by previous sales of the bottles, the description says on the Sotheby’s website.

In 2019, Sotheby’s sold a bottle of The Macallan 1926 with one of 14 “Fine and Rare” labels for 1.5 million pounds ($1.9 million), making it the most expensive bottle of wine or spirits ever sold at auction .

Saturday’s sale was one of 12 bottles bearing a label designed by Italian painter Valerio Adami. A bottle of it is also believed to have been destroyed during the 2011 earthquake in Japan. This bottle is also the first of The Macallan 1926 bottles to undergo pre-auction processing carried out by the Macallan Distillery in Scotland.

A further twelve were labeled by pop artist Sir Peter Blake, while the remaining two were released without a label. Of the unlabeled bottle, one was hand-painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon and became the first bottle of whiskey to sell for over £1 million ($1.2 million) in 2018 the auction house announced on its website.