In 2019, Sotheby’s called The Macallan 1926 the “holy grail” of whisky. At the time, the 1926 Fine and Rare scotch became the most expensive wine or spirit ever sold at an auction—it went for £1.5 million (about Rs15 crores). Now, four years later, The Macallan Adami 1926 will be leading the lot at Sotheby’s November Whisky Auction. Regarded as the world’s most sought-after whisky, the bottle is estimated to sell at a price of up to £1.2 million (about Rs12 crores).
The world’s most valuable whisky
Just 40 bottles of The Macallan 1926 were bottled in 1986—the oldest Macallan vintage ever produced. These bottles were not made available for sale to the public, and were instead offered to The Macallan’s top clients. Three variations from this collection have each broken auction records between 2018 and 2019. Of the 40 bottles, two were released without any labels. However, the rest carried labels that were hand painted by renowned artists of the time. One bottle, hand painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon, became the first bottle of whisky to surpass £1 million (about Rs10 crores) when it was sold in 2018. There were also 12 bottles with labels by pop artist Sir Peter Blake, and 12 with labels by Italian painter Valerio Adami.
One of the Adami-labelled bottles is believed to have been destroyed during a Japanese earthquake in 2011, while the whereabouts of the other unlabelled bottle are unknown. The Macallan Adami 1926, which will go for auction on 17 and 18 November, is the first such bottle to have undergone reconditioning by The Macallan Distillery ahead of being presented at auction. “The Macallan 1926 is the one whisky that every auctioneer wants to sell and every collector wants to own,” said Jonny Fowle, Global Head of Whisky at Sotheby’s, in a press release. The bottle is estimated to sell for between £750,000 and £1.2m (approximately between Rs7.5 crore and Rs12 crore). That means a standard 30ml shot of the whisky would cost between £30,000 and £48,000—approximately between Rs30 lakh to Rs48 lakh a shot.