On 24th October this year, a world record for the costliest bottle of wine or spirit was broken at Sotheby’s auction in London. A bottle of 60-year-old Macallan’s single malt that was originally distilled in 1926 fetched a whopping £1.5million ($1.9million).
The predicted price of the bottle was a ‘mere’ £350,000 – £450,000, however the final hammer price far exceeded this estimate as well as the previous record of £1.2million. The previous record had been set last year by the same Macallan single malt, which had been drawn into a bottle painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon.
This most recent whisky auction at Sotheby’s was their first ever single-owner collection and was dubbed ‘The Ultimate Whisky Collection’. An American connoisseur acquired the entire collection over a period of 20 years. The total fetched was £7.6million making it the highest ever for a whisky collection at auction.
The collection was 100% sold with 87% of the lots achieving higher prices than their pre-auction estimates. The pre-sale prediction for the entire collection was £3.3 – 4.6million which was hugely exceeded.
Two complete Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collections, featured in cabinets designed by James Laycock, fetched £665,500 and £629,200. A handmade display unit made of wood, featuring 46 Macallan Fine and Rare miniatures from 1937 – 1991, sold for more than 6 times its predicted price at £338,800. A 50-year-old bottle of Springbank, that was distilled in 1919, nearly doubled its pre-sale estimate by fetching a record £266,200.
With auction lots selling for sums far higher than their estimates, the chairman of Sotheby’s Wine Jamie Ritchie described the atmosphere in the auction house as ‘electric’. He said, ‘This auction marks a historic moment for the spirits market, with the new benchmark prices and fresh approach to selling whisky’.