The Macallan Adami 1926 sold at Sotheby’s in London, after a bidding war between would-be buyers on the phone and in the room.
Just 40 bottles of The Macallan 1926 were bottled in 1986 after being aged in sherry casks for 60 years. Twelve of the bottles, including the one sold at the weekend, had labels designed by Italian painter Valerio Adami.
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Another bottle from the same cask was sold by Sotheby’s in 2019 for almost £1.5 million, which was a record for wine or spirits until Saturday.
“The Macallan 1926 is the one whisky that every auctioneer wants to sell and every collector wants to own,” said Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s global head of spirits.
He said the record-breaking sale was “nothing short of momentous for the whisky industry as a whole”.
The bottle is the first to have undergone reconditioning by the distillery ahead of auction. This included replacing the cork and applying new glue to the corners of the bottle labels.
The final price of £2,187,500 includes a charge known as the buyer’s premium on top of the sale price of £1.75 million. The price well exceeded the pre-sale estimate of £750,000 to £1.2 million.
And how does such an expensive whisky taste? Macallan’s master whisky maker Kirsteen Campbell, who gave the tipple a sniff during the reconditioning, said it contained notes of “rich dark fruits, black cherry compote alongside sticky dates, followed by intense sweet antique oak”.
“Dark chocolate, treacle, ginger … the notes go on and on,” she said. “It was a very special moment to experience the opening of this iconic 60 Years Old single malt, first bottled 37 years ago, and I hope the new custodian will enjoy the same privilege.”