This 1926 Macallan Just Became the Most Expensive Whisky Sold at Auction

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Just when it seems like the upper levels of whisky valuation have been reached, another record is shattered when a rare, ultra-aged bottle sells for an astonishing amount at auction. The latest example of this comes from, of course, The Macallan—a 60-year-old bottle of single malt went for nearly three million dollars at a recent Sotheby’s auction.

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This past Saturday, November 18 in London, a bottle of The Macallan Valerio Adami 60 Year Old broke a spirits sales record when it sold for 2,187,500 pounds, or $2,714,250 (which includes a buyer’s premium charge on top of the sale price of 1.75 million pounds, according to a press release). This whisky was distilled in 1926, and just 40 bottles were released in 1986 after six decades maturing in sherry-seasoned casks. The Macallan 1926 carries the Fine and Rare label, a series of vintage releases that spans much of the 20th century, and one set a previous auction record in 2019. Two of the bottles came without the Fine and Rare labels, and one of those was painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon. Twelve others were painted by Sir Peter Blake, and another 12, including the bottle that just sold, by Italian artist Valerio Adami. Of those doze bottles, one was destroyed by an earthquake in Japan in 2011, making this whisky even more of a rarity.

There are a number of counterfeit whiskies floating around, unfortunately, so Edrington, the company that owns The Macallan, wanted to make sure this one was the real deal. A one-ml sample was taken from the bottle to test and compare against another bottle of 1926 Macallan at the company’s headquarters, and the capsule and cork were replaced to match the original. We at Robb Report have obviously not been able to sample this whisky—and neither has Macallan master whisky maker Kirsteen Campbell, although she did nose it to provide the following tasting notes—”rich dark fruits, black cherry compote alongside sticky dates, followed by intense sweet antique oak… 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.”

It’s likely that whoever purchases this bottle will not, in fact, open it and enjoy that privilege, and will instead sell it again at a future auction for twice the amount—unless the entire world of collectible whisky all comes crashing down like so much cryptocurrency. If you’re looking to purchase a bottle of The Macallan for quite a bit less than three million dollars, you’re in luck because ReserveBar has the entire lineup available now.

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