£1.45mn Macallan bottle sets auction record for highest price for any wine or spirit

£1.45mn Macallan bottle sets auction record for highest price for any wine or spirit

Sotheby's breaks multiple records including highest sale value for any single bottle of wine or spirit, highest value sale of a single collection, and a new record for Brora Ltd Ed 40 Years Old.

News | 25 Oct 2019

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A new auction record for a bottle of whisky was set at Sotheby’s yesterday when a bottle of The Macallan 60 Years Old 1926 with a pre-sale estimate of £350,000-450,000 soared to a final sale price of £1,452,000 / $1,873,951, .

This was just one item in a sale of more than 460 bottles of Scotch whisky from the collection of a private American individual, put together over some 20 years. Buyers from across the world drove prices well above estimate, with all items sold.

This new price surpasses the record set last year in November by the sale by Christie's of The Macallan 1926 60 Years Old in a unique bottle painted by Michael Dillon , which achieved £1.2 million.

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Spirits Specialist, said: “This fantastic result is testament to the quality of the collection. It was remarkable to see so many iconic bottles break records – homage to the importance of distilleries such as Bowmore, Brora, Springbank and, of course, The Macallan. The electricity in the auction room was palpable. There were cheers when the hammer fell on the Macallan Fine and Rare 1926, in one has to be one of the most exciting moments in the history of whisky sales. The final hammer dropped just in time for our friends at RM Sotheby’s to start their sale of collectible motor cars. Our clients were delighted to share their enjoyment and passion for both cars and whisky in the same space.”

Full information provided by Sotheby's is detailed below.


  • The Ultimate Whisky Collection totals £7,635,619/$9,854,530 (pre-sale estimate:£3.3-4.6m/$4.3- 5.9m)

  • Sale is 100% sold

  • 87% of lots achieve prices above pre-sale estimates

  • Bidders from around the world , with pronounced interest from Asia

  • The most comprehensive catalogue of whisky ever to be offered by a single owner in a single auction, spanning whiskies from each of Scotland’s key whisky-producing regions: Speyside, Highland, Lowland, Islay and Campbeltown


  • The record-breaking Macallan mentioned above was part of a 178-bottle-strong collection of the Fine and Rare series, spanning seven decades from 1926 through to 1991, which sold for a combined total of £5.1m / $6.6m – this is the most extensive collection of Macallan Fine and Rare ever to be seen at auction.

  • Two complete Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection, offered in specially designed cabinets by James Laycock, doubled their low estimate to achieve £665,500 / $858,984 and £629,200 / $812,046 respectively.

  • A bespoke, hand-crafted wooden display case containing 46 bottles from the Macallan Fine and Rare miniature collection, ranging from 1937 to 1991 sparked a flurry of bids, pushing the final price over six times above the high estimate to £338,800 / $437,255. These 46 bottles represent the complete collection of miniatures in the Fine and Rare series, as the series existed when the Ultimate Whisky Collector stopped collecting them in 2018.

  • The four top lots of The Macallan sell for a combined total of £3m/$4m.


  • Distilled in 1919, bottled in 1970, this Springbank is undoubtedly one of the rarest whiskies ever to be released, with only 24 bottles produced and once listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold.

  • The appearance on the market of one of these bottles caused a great deal of excitement, driving the final sale price to £266,200 / $343,558, almost double the pre-sale high estimate.

  • Distilled a year after the end of the First World War, at a time when distilleries throughoutScotland had ceased operations, the bottle contains a snapshot of history.


  • Brora’s first release to exceed 40 years, one of only 160 bottles to have been produced reached new heights, selling for a record £54,450 / $70,273, in the year of the distillery’s 200th anniversary, and just ahead of its reopening next year.

  • The full set of Brora Annual Releases, sold as individual bottles, achieved for a combined total of £30,129 / $38,884.


  • Bottle number 1 of Bowmore’s “Crashing Waves”, the oldest whisky to be released from the legendary distiller after 54 long years if maturation, swelled to £363,000 / $468,488. One of only 12 ever released in a hand-blown sculpted bottle depicting the crashing waves of the Atlantic against Islay’s shores, this is arguably the finest bottle of Islay whisky ever produced.

  • Bottles from each of the Bowmore Black releases (First, Second, Final and Bowmore Black 50 Year Old) met with significant demand to sell for a combined total of £119,790 / $154,601.

  • The Bowmore Trilogy series, all of which were distilled in 1964, achieved an overall total of £62,920/ $81,205.


  • Headlined by The Dalmore Eos 59 year old, which achieved £99,220/$128,053. With at tiny release of just 20 bottles, this single malt was created from casks 1781 and 1782.


  • Nine casks of single malts were pursued by multiple bidders, selling for a combined total of £399,300/ $515,337. The Highland Park First Fill Oloroso Sherry Cask commanded the highest price, selling for £72,600 / $93,698.

  • An entire vertical of Port Ellen’s Annual Releases (1st to 17th), sold as individual bottles, achieved a combined double-estimate total of £63,404 / $81,829. These bottlings are amongst the most sought after of all Scotland’s closed distilleries, with annual releases a must-own for collectors. In 2017 Diageo announced they would cease further Annual Releases, but that they planned to revive the distillery – which closed in 1983 – back to its former glory, with production due to recommence in the near future.

  • A range of legendary Silvano Samaroli bottlings was led by Bowmore Bouquet Samaroli 18 Years Old, which sold for a record £72,600 / $93,698.

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