Someone Just Dropped Over $1.5 Million On An Old Macallan Scotch Whisky - The Whiskey Wash

Someone Just Dropped Over $1.5 Million On An Old Macallan Scotch Whisky

There’s been an arms race of sorts going on in the Scotch whisky world this year, specifically the rare bottlings auction sub-section. The focus has been increasingly higher closing gavel prices tied to a range of rare The Macallan whiskies from the 1920s. The latest throwdown has now just happened, with a single bottle netting over $1.5 million USD.

The auctioned bottle, according to officials from auction house Christie’s, achieved a world record price of £ 1,200,000/$1,528,800/ €1,352,400 at a rare wines and spirits auction held in London on November 29th. The expression in question is The Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old, presented in a unique bottle painted by the Irish artist Michael Dillon. As the story goes around the history of this and other Macallan offerings tied to this mini bidding war craze:

Peter Blake, the renowned artist responsible for the album cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Valerio Adami were each asked to design a label for this special 1926 Macallan 60-Year-Old malt, and 12 individually numbered bottles from each artist were released after the whisky had spent 60 years maturing in ex-sherry casks prior to bottling in 1986.

Less well-known was that one bottle of this ultra-rare elixir was commissioned and hand-painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon. The bottle, which beautifully depicts the Easter Elchies House of The Macallan against the backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, is truly one-of-a-kind.

Previously the world record happened when auction house Bonham’s had sold a The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926, with the final bid when the gavel fell being £848,750, or a little over $1.1 million USD. The over $400,000 spread from this previous record to the current one is staggering to consider, regardless of the rarity of the whisky at hand.

Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old

Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old (image via Christie’s)

“The sale represents a landmark moment in the whisky market with The Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old achieving £1,200,000 / $1,528,800 / €1,352,400 and establishing a world auction record for a bottle of whisky,” said Tim Triptree MW, Christie’s International Director of Wine, in a prepared statement. “The results confirm the strength of the market for whisky and the continued success of Christie’s in offering the finest spirits to our collectors across the globe.

“We were delighted to collaborate with The Macallan to present a selection of whiskies direct from the distillery, highlighted by The Macallan 50-Year-Old (price realised: £72,000 / $91,728 / €81,144) and a selection of The Macallan Exceptional Single Cask including a VIP visit to The Macallan (price realised: £66,000 / $84,084 / €74,382). Five bottles of The Macallan Genesis, a limited-edition released to celebrate the 2018 opening of the new distillery and visitor experience, achieved a combined total of £11,400 / $14,524 / €12,848, the proceeds of which will be donated to selected Speyside community support organisations.”

“This 1926 60-Year-Old bottle of The Macallan, hand-painted by the Irish artist Michael Dillon is very rare,” added Scott McCroskie, Managing Director, The Macallan, “so it is exciting to see it come to market and establish another auction record for Single Malt Scotch. The Macallan is renowned for its quality and desirability, and the Christie’s auction marks a significant achievement for the brand.”

About the author

Nino Marchetti

Nino Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.