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The Macallan smashes world records with two rare bottles sold for S$2.82 million

The recently released market report Sotheby’s Wine and Spirits 2017 auction valued The Macallan as one of the world’s most valuable spirit brands, what with its sales increasing 4,000 percent in the span of a year.

This rapid escalation of the already-reputable and highly sought-after whiskies from Speyside distillery has cast the eyes of the fine spirits industry on The Macallan, and at the latest Bonhams Hong Kong 2018 auction, the house delivered.

the macallan bonhams hong kong
The Blake (left) and the Adami (right) versions of The Macallan 1926.

Two extremely rare bottles of The Macallan 1926 were sold for a collective total of US$2.11 million (S$2.82 million) at the auction, topping the previous world record for a whisky sold at auction.

The earlier record was set in 2014, by (surprise, surprise!) The Macallan as well, where the six-litre Lalique crystal decanter of The Macallan M sold for US$628,000 (S$845,226).

the macallan auction world record
The previous record-holder, The Macallan M six-litre Imperiale.

The Macallan 1926 expressions were never intended to be sold. Distilled in 1926 and matured for 60 years in the distillery’s signature sherry-seasoned oak casks, the liquid is the stuff of legends.

Forty bottles were released in 1986, and out of that, 12 were given to artists Sir Peter Blake, the designer of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album coverand Italian pop artist Valerio Adami each. Blake and Adami created labels for the bottles, which explains why the whisky fetched top dollar. The buyers were acquiring art and history in two guises — the legendary whisky, and the equally illustrious works that adorned the bottles.

Daniel Lam On-Tai, head of fine wine and whisky for Bonhams Hong Kong told the South China Morning Post, “These bottles are some of the oldest whiskies produced by Macallan in the 20th century. They were not meant for sale. They were given to very important clients of Macallan.”

the macallan bonhams hong kong
The bottles are housed in tantulas — a specially designed whisky safe.

Sold by the Dubai-based luxury spirit retailers, Le Clos, the Blake version of The Macallan 1926 sold for US$1.01 million (S$1.36 million), while the Adami piece raked in US$1.1 million (S$1.49 million).

This record-breaking instance is not the apotheosis for The Macallan’s supremity at auctions, but remains a firm stamp that proves how coveted its liquid treasures are.

Beatrice Bowers
Features Editor
Beatrice Bowers writes about beauty, drinks, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she moonlights as a Niffler for novels and can be found en route to bankruptcy at your nearest bookstore. Don't tell her boss.
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