The prestigious auction house Sotheby’s has launched a sale of a rare whisky collection that has been claimed to be the highest value one they have ever sold at a single auction.
The Timeless Whisky Collection, built up by an unnamed California-based collector who has dedicated large amounts of time and money to whisky investment, consists of 30 bottles over a half-century old and with a pre-sale estimate between £1.38m and £1.82m.
Highlights of the Timeless auction include a bottle of The Macallan 72 Year Old in a Lalique Genesis Decanter, which is expected to be sold for between £60,000 and £77,000 and features a presentation case handcrafted by royal cabinetmakers NEJ Stevenson.
As well as this, there is The Last Cask of Bowmore Black 50 Year Old, one of the rarest and most sought-after single malts ever made, and part of Black Bowmore’s 1964 distillation, with an estimate set between £32,000 and £47,000.
There was also the 70 Year Old Glenlivet Gordon & MacPhail private collection, complete with its presentation case, history book and certificate, which also ranks amongst the most revered rare whiskies and whilst estimated to sell for between £18,000 and £25,000, has sold for as high as £42,000 in auctions previously.
The centrepiece of the collection, however, and one of the finest whiskies ever sold at auction, is The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection, which has been estimated to sell for between £341,000 and £512,000.
Such was the prestige of the six bottles in the collection, which include whiskies that are 50, 55, 57, 60, 62 and 65 years old, that Sotheby’s themselves commissioned a dedicated display platform made from exceptionally rare Burr Elm reclaimed from a bar top in a Scottish private residence.
Elm trees are exceptionally rare in Scotland as a result of a devastating outbreak of Dutch Elm disease, so having this legendary wood used as a display platform is an intensely meaningful display of heritage lost, as well as complementing the ornate crystal bottle designs of The Macallan.
This is a fitting choice, as the six bottles each prominently showcase a single vintage in a world where many whiskies are blended from different barrels and years.
Finally, alongside the six bottles and the dedicated podium, the winning bidder also gets a unique fine dining and luxury villa experience in Alsace, staying at Villa Rene Lalique with a guest and dining at a restaurant with 2 Michelin Stars.
Whilst this incredible collection is the most valuable single auction whisky collection, there has been a sale by Sotheby’s that was even larger than this.
The Ultimate Whisky Collection, sold in two parts in October 2019 and October 2020, raised an almost unfathomable £9.7m at auction, although this collection consisted of 467 bottles, including Macallan 1926 60 Years Old, which set the record for the most valuable single malt ever sold.
With that said, the unpredictability of auctions could lead to some surprises; the Ultimate Whisky Collection was initially expected to sell for £4m but ultimately doubled that figure as it chased history.