An 81-year-old single malt whisky offered by legendary distillery The Macallan has sold for over three times its original buying price and nearly triple its estimate.
The Reach 81 Years Old, dating back to 1940 was sold at the prestigious Sotheby’s auction house, complete with an exclusive red leather-lined display cabinet and a distillery experience where the winner can visit The Macallan Estate and taste this exceptionally rare whisky.
It would finally sell for £300,000, much higher than its typical selling price of £92,000 when it was bottled in February and more than its estimate price of £110,000 – £200,000, largely because it has all three of the most valuable traits for whisky investment: rarity, provenance and especially age.
Only 288 bottles have been bottled from a single sherry-seasoned oak cask. The decanters were made from mouth-blown glasswork and are held aloft by three bronze hands in a leather-lined cabinet made with wood from a fallen elm tree claimed to have stood on the Estate in 1940.
What makes this particular bottle so fascinating and desirable besides the sheer age of distillation is that the 288 bottles from this cask are the only bottles left prior to The Macallan’s shutdown in 1940.
During the height of the Battle Of Britain, many businesses were shut down and their facilities repurposed for the war effort. Distillation at the time relied on a lot of coal which not only was needed for more vital industries but created devastating targets for the Luftwaffe.
It was the first and only time the distillery has been completely shut down and given the devastation caused by the Second World War, there was a chance that it may never have reopened again.
It ultimately would, and The Reach represents the ambition and constant pursuit of artisan excellence, with the proceeds of the auction going towards The Macallan’s own Artisan Apprenticeship Fund, supporting generational crafts and skills.