On October 12 in New York, The Macallan Distillery will attempt to beat its own record—that is, to sell the most expensive bottle of whisky in the world. The star lot of Sotheby’s Finest & Rarest Wines sale, The Macallan 1926 60 Year Old Sir Peter Blake is the stuff of legend, practically redefining rare. The whisky, aged in sherry casks for six decades (with only 40 bottles ever created), represents one of the oldest vintages the Scottish distillery ever produced. And the jaw-dropping anticipated figure—somewhere between US$700,000 (£535,339*) and US$1.2 million (£917,724*)—represents the highest estimate ever placed on a bottle of whisky or wine at Sotheby’s.
Macallan is no stranger to the top spot at Sotheby’s. Last year its Macallan in Lalique—The Legacy Collection pulled in US$989,423 in Hong Kong. At the time, it was a world record for any lot of whisky sold at auction. Both spirits are beyond “fine and rare,” of course, but these sums can be read as a phenomenon. Consider that in 2017, the top three prices for Sotheby’s “Wine” (auction and retail) went to whisky. Clearly demand for the world’s finest is surging.
The Macallan 1926 60 Year Old is actually part of a lineup of multiple lots from the distillery, dubbed Macallan: A Pioneer’s Collection. The rest of the lineup is being offered as part of Sotheby’s first-ever online sale. For those with special space in their back bar, treasures await. But current bidding (already open), clearly reflects remarkable demand. The Macallan Millennium Fifty Year Old, for instance, is estimated at $18,000 (£13,762.80*) to $26,000 (£19,879.60*), with the current bid at $26,000 (£19,879.60*).
Online bidding wraps up on October 16. But all eyes will be on The Macallan 1926 60 Year Old when it goes on the live block October 12.
* Pricing according to current exchange rates.