When it comes to the most expensive spirits ever sold, there’s no surprise that the top spots are all reserved for single malt whisky. Especially in recent years, a certain enigma has been tied to Scotch, due to the longevity with which it can age and the mythos that accompanies many of its distilleries. Easily the most storied and coveted of Scotch houses is The Macallan, whose bottles have broken records, continuously, over the years. Now, Sotheby’s is hosting an auction for yet another grail bottle from the Speyside distillery that has a chance of claiming the top spot for itself.
There’s no liquor expression more revered in the world than The Macallan’s 1926 60-Year-Old, a single malt that got a limited run of 40 bottles in 1986, which were given as gifts to the brand’s most loyal customers. But since whisky is made to be drunk, and over time glass containers can wind up broken or even lost, the rarity of this release increases even more, with several lots in the past eclipsing the $1 million mark at auction. With one getting destroyed in an earthquake and the other actually getting consumed by a thirsty human, there are only a maximum of 38 bottles left — not all of which are accounted for. Originally, 14 of the bottles got the “Fine and Rare” label, 2 got no label at all, another 12 received artwork from British artist Peter Blake (known for helping create The Beatles’ iconic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover), while 12 more bottles got a design from Italian post-impressionist painter Valerio Adami in 1993 — one of which is the bottle that’s going up for auction.
Numbered 12 out of 12, this 60-year-old single malt is the only bottle of the set to be reconditioned by The Macallan itself. The distillery replaced the capsule and cork, applied new glue to the corners of the labels, and took out 1mL of liquid as a sample to test against another 1926 bottle.
If your pockets are deep enough, keep an eye out on November 1 for this very rare 1926 Valerio Adami bottle from The Macallan, which is expected to sell for up to $1.47 million, but may go higher. The current auction record for a single bottle came back in 2019, when a “Fine and Rare” variant of the 1926 was sold for around $1.8 million.