When Sotheby’s refers to an upcoming auction as “The World’s Most Valuable Whisky,” they mean it. On November 18, the storied auction house is set to sell a bottle of The Macallan Adami 1926 — the same whisky which, as per Sotheby’s, sold for £1.5 million (or $1.8 million, depending on your preferred currency) at auction in 2018. This new bottle is estimated to sell for a bit less than that — between £750,000 and £1.2 million, specifically. (Or between $900,000 and $1.5 million, if you’d prefer that in U.S. currency.)
What is it about this whisky that makes it so in-demand? The Associated Press has some details, starting with the fact that there are only 40 bottles total, and that the whisky in question spent over half a century in sherry casks. After bottling the whisky, Macallan offered some of the bottles to an exclusive list of customers; that scarcity helps explain the prices a bottle can command.
Twelve of those 40 have labels featuring art from painter Valerio Adami, while others (including the record-setting bottle) have “Fine & Rare” labels. (Adami wasn’t the only artist to illustrate this whisky; Sir Peter Blake and Michael Dillon also used labels and bottles, respectively, as their canvases.) Macallan reconditioned this particular bottle, which — as per the AP — involved replacing its cork and keeping the label properly adhered to the bottle. It’s the first to undergo such treatment.
Jonny Fowle of Sotheby’s called this whisky “one whisky that every auctioneer wants to sell and every collector wants to own” in comments made to the Associated Press.
The Highlights From Sotheby’s Record-Breaking Whisky AuctionAdvance bidding starts today on a collection that includes 30 bottles exceeding 50 years of age
This in-demand bottle will be on display at Sotheby’s in London for several days leading up to the auction. It’s a rare occasion where the art of distilling and fine art converge — and it’s one of the rarest bottles of Scotch you’re likely to encounter. Of the 40 bottles produced, Sotheby’s notes that one has gone missing, at least one has been consumed and one is believed to have been destroyed in an earthquake. It’s a rare Scotch indeed — and it’s getting even rarer.
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