The bottle of the Macallan 1926 has sold for US$1.1 million at Edinburgh, setting a new record as the most expensive single standard bottle of whisky ever.

The whisky had been bottled in 1986 and is part of a limited edition of just 24 bottles. The seller had purchased it directly from the distiller in 1994 for an undisclosed amount.

Half of the limited run featured specially commissioned labels by pop artist Valerio Adami with the other had label art from Peter Blake, who famously co-created the cover art for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The bottle that sold at Bonhams featured a Valerio Adami label and was presented in a cabinet based on the old ‘Brass and Glass’ distillery spirit safes.

One of just a dozen bottles of the Valerio Adami Macallan 1926

Previously in 2018, two bottles of The Macallan 1926, one from each artist, were auctioned for then world record prices of US$1.01 and US$1.1 million at Bonhams Hong Kong.

The whereabouts of the rest of the precious dozen are unclear. At least one bottle is thought to have been destroyed in an earthquake in Japan in 2011.

“All the appeal of Scotch whisky; the myth, the tradition and the romance, find its ultimate expression in this bottle,” said whisky expert Charles MacLean.

One of the most storied names in all of Scotch whisky, The Macallan also produces some of the most exclusive limited run liquids of any distiller. In June this year, it released 600 bottles of its 72-year-old spirit, the oldest whisky it had ever produced. Bottles went for around US$65,000 each.

The distillery’s output continues to be a hit on the secondary market and its most recent release saw the road to the distillery temporarily shut down as afficianados clambered to purchase bottles.

“Exceptional rarity and quality”

Bonhams Whisky specialist Martin Green described The Macallan 1926 60-Year-Od as “the Holy Grail of whisky”.

“Its exceptional rarity and quality puts it in a league of its own, and the world’s most serious whisky collectors will wait patiently for many years for a bottle to come onto the market.”

It is believed the bottle has been purchased as an investment rather than to drink. Rare whisky has proven a surprisingly steady investment recently; prices for bottles of the 50 rarest whiskies have appreciated 140% over the past five years.

(Header image: Andrew Seaman [@amseaman])