NEW YORK: A bottle of Scotch dating back to 1926 is tipped to set a new record in New York on Saturday for most expensive bottle of alcohol sold at auction, valued at up to US$1.2 million by Sotheby’s.
The whisky aged 60 years in a casket at Scottish distillery The Macallan before being bottled in 1986, its maturing process complete.
The Macallan, in Craigellachie, northern Scotland only ever produced 40 bottles from the 1926 vintage that had matured for 60 years.
Twelve of them — Saturday’s lot included — were given a label by English pop artist Peter Blake, best known for co-designing the cover of 1967 Beatles album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.
The label references key events in 1926 such as the attempted assassination of Italian Fascist ruler Benito Mussolini and the death of Hollywood actor Rudolph Valentino.
Sotheby’s estimates the value of the bottle at between US$700,000 and US$1.2 million, with three other Macallan 1926 bottles sold at auction in the last six months for just over a million dollars each.
“The reason it is so special is because it combines rarity and quality,” says Jamie Ritchie, worldwide head of Sotheby’s Wine.
By comparison, the auction record for a standard sized bottle of wine is $223,000, paid for a 1869 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild in Hong Kong in 2010.
The same year, a six-litre bottle of Cheval Blanc 1947 fetched $304,000 at auction in Geneva.
The recent flurry of headline-grabbing whisky actions are benefiting from a drink increasingly popular around the world and valued increasingly highly by the super rich in Asia.
The Macallan is “very, very concentrated, rich, viscous spirit which has a great capacity to age and to give complexity in the whisky,” says Ritchie.