A bottle of whisky adorned by pop artist Valerio Ademi has set a new world record after selling for an eye-watering £2.1 million.
One of just 40 bottles that were drawn in 1986 after spending 60 years ageing in sherry casks, the Macallan 1926 was the oldest whisky esteemed manufacturer Edrington has ever produced.
Last week’s Sotheby’s auction saw the winning bidder cough up £2,187,500, breezing past its estimated £750,000 – £1.2 million.
After the sale concluded, Sotheby’s told the AFP news agency it had set a “new record for any bottle of spirit or wine sold at auction,” outstripping the previous record of £1.5 million which was set in September 2019 – also a Macallan 1926.
Before the sale, Sotheby’s head of whisky Jonny Fowle was lucky enough to taste a small sample of the whisky, which he was suitably impressed by.
Speaking to AFP New, he said: “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, calling it an “incredible” whisky that should not be taken lightly.
Why So Valuable?
If you’re unfamiliar with the often colossal numbers involved in high-end whisky investment, you might be staggered by the amount of money some are prepared to spend. So why are some bidders willing to go so high?
Much comes down to the rarity of this particular whisky. Of the 40 bottles produced almost four decades ago, none of them were made available for purchase. Instead, some of them were offered to The Macallan’s top clients, which merely adds to the luxurious appeal.
Furthermore, this bottle is one of just 12 that was covered with a label drawn by Italian artist Valerio Ademi. Sadly, another one of these was reportedly destroyed in an earthquake in Japan in 2011.
Other bottles were handed out unlabelled, while one that was hand-painted by an Irish artist named Michael Dillon was the first bottle of whisky to sell for more than £1 million when it sold in 2018 for £1.2 million. Almost six years on, it would be interesting to see what that particular bottle would sell for in the current market.
What would you do with this whisky if you’d splashed a cool £2.1 million on it? There’s a good chance the winning bidder will keep the bottle unopened to sell on for an even bigger fee in a few years time. However, the temptation to pop the cork and sample the most valuable bottle of whisky in history would prove tempting even for the best of us!