Prohibition-era bottle of Macallan whisky auctioned at Sotheby’s for $2.7M

The record for the world’s most expensive bottle of whisky has been broken after a bottle of Macallan 1926 went for £2.1m ($2.7m) at a Sotheby’s auction in London. It was sold on Saturday, at more than double its estimated price.

The nearly 100-year-old bottle sold after an intense bidding war between potential buyers in the room and brokers who called in stakes by phone. The bottles are among only 40 that Macallan, based in Moray, northern Scotland, has confirmed were bottled from Cask 263 in 1986. A dozen of those bottles featured labels designed by Italian painter Valerio Adami, including the one that sold on Saturday.

Sotheby’s head of whisky Jonny Fowle reportedly told ahead of the sale that he had been allowed to sample the prized whisky.

“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. He added it had spent 60 years in dark European oak, which was reflected in the colour. “It’s not a whisky to take lightly. It’s a rich, rich dram, but it is incredible,” Fowle said.

Records are broken each time one appears at auction: between 2018 and 2019, the record was broken three times by three of the different variations: Sir Peter Blake, Michael Dillon, and Fine and Rare.