For those who have a taste for the finer things in life, a bottle of the world’s “most sought-after Scotch whisky” would definitely be of interest. Especially, the world’s most valuable single-malt – The Macallan Adami 1926. Aged in sherry caskets for 60 years, this exquisite bottle of whisky was sold for a record price of $2.7 million at an auction in London. A heated bidding war took place between the would-be buyers on the phone at Sotheby’s in London. It created an auction record for a bottle of wine or spirits.

A record-breaking sale for the whiskey industry, what is so special about this whisky? Jonny Fowle, the Global Head of Whiskey at Sotheby’s informs that the vintage whiskey lay in super-rich European oak ageing in sherry casks for six decades, making it the oldest Macallan vintage ever produced. And The Macallan 1926 is one of just 40 bottles drawn from that prestigious lot according to the auction house. Jonny calls it unusual for a bottle of whiskey to be produced in 1986, dating back to 60 years.

the macallan 1926 whiskey

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History & Artistry

The 40 bottles were reportedly not made available for purchase; instead, some were offered to The Macallan’s top clients. The appearance of any of these bottles at auction over the years has resulted in extraordinary results – across 2018 and 2019. The auction record was broken three times by three of the different variations (Sir Peter Blake, Michael Dillon, Fine & Rare).

A further 12 were labelled by pop artist Sir Peter Blake, while the remaining two were released unlabelled. Of the unlabelled, one was hand-painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon, and became the first bottle of whiskey to surpass £1 million ($1.2 million) when it sold in 2018 for £1.2 million ($1.5 million), the auction house said on its website.

the macallan 1926 whiskey auction

Sotheby’s had expected it to raise between £750,000 and £1.2 million but were in for a shock when the prized bottle fetched a whooping £2,187,500 ($2,724,967), making it a “new record for any bottle of spirit or wine sold at auction,” said the auction house. What was crowned the most valuable whiskey in 1986, still remains so after 37 years.

Twelve of the 40 bottles produced from Cask No. 263 of The Macallan 1926 had labels designed by the renowned Italian painter Valerio Adami. A bottle of which is also believed to have been destroyed during the 2011 Japanese earthquake. Jonny Fowle calls this the one whiskey that every collector wants to own and that every auctioneer wants to sell. He describes the record-breaking sale of a $2.7 million whiskey bottle as “momentous for the entire whiskey industry”.

The Million-Dollar Flavour

If you’re wondering what a million-dollar whiskey tastes like, Macallan’s Master Whisky Maker Kirsteen Campbell revealed its flavour profile. She stated that the world’s most valuable whiskey contains notes of rich dark fruits, sticky dates and black cherry compote. This is also followed by an intense sweet antique oak. She also says it has flavours of ginger, treacle and dark chocolate.

Kirsteen said it was a very special moment for her to experience the opening of the iconic 60-year-old single malt, first bottled 37 years ago. She hopes the new custodian also enjoys the vintage whiskey. Jonny Fowle had tried a small sample of this prized whisky ahead of the sale. “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.

Interestingly, The Macallan Adami 1926 is the first whiskey bottle to undergo reconditioning by the distillery ahead of the Sotheby’s auction. The bottle’s cork was replaced and new glue was applied to the corners of the labels by The Macallan Distillery in Scotland before the auction. The final price of £2,187,500 includes a buyer’s premium over and above the sale price of £1.75 million.

So whiskey lovers, what do you think about the world’s most sought-after scotch whiskey selling for $2.7 million? Does this leave you wishing to have a taste of vintage whiskey?