Bottle of world’s most valuable whisky sells for €950,000

The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 bought by private collector from Asia who bid by phone

Whisky expert Charles MacLean with the  bottle of The Macallan Valerio Adami 60 year-old 1926 to be auctioned in Edinburgh. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Whisky expert Charles MacLean with the bottle of The Macallan Valerio Adami 60 year-old 1926 to be auctioned in Edinburgh. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

 

A bottle of Scotch whisky, thought to be the world’s most valuable, has been sold for just over €950,000.

The bottle of The Macallan Valerio Adami fetched a record £848,750 (€954,500) at auction at Bonhams in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

Described by experts as “the Holy Grail of whisky”, it attracted attention from some of the world’s most serious collectors.

The buyer was a private collector from Asia who bid by phone, auctioneer Bonhams said.

The whisky is officially described as a 60-year-old, having been created in 1926 and bottled in 1986.

The firm sold one of 12 other bottles with a label by the Italian artist Adami in May this year for £814,091.

Such whiskies are collectors’ items because of their rarity and will probably not actually be drunk, said Martin Green, whisky specialist at the auctioneer.

“It’s the Rolls Royce of malts,” he said.”Obviously we don’t know what will happen to it, but anyone who can spend around a million pounds for a bottle of whisky could afford to drink it. But it’s an object of beauty in its own right - almost a museum piece.”

Just 24 bottles of the whisky, bottled in 1986, were produced by Macallan, among the best-known Speyside distillers of Scotland’s flagship product.

It commissioned Adami and Peter Blake, known for co-designing the album sleeve for The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, to each design labels for 12 bottles.

It is not known how many of Adami’s still exist. One is said to have been destroyed in an earthquake in Japan in 2011, and it is believed that at least one of them has been opened and drunk.

Bonhams said the bottle is presented in a specially commissioned cabinet, or tantalus, based on a traditional brass and glass distillery spirit safe. It was bought by the seller direct from the Macallan distillery for an undisclosed sum in 1994.