An extremely rare bottle of The Macallan dubbed ‘the Holy Grail of whisky’ could become the first to sell at auction for £1million.
On 28 and 29 November 2018, Christie’s Finest & Rarest Wines & Spirits auction in London will be led by the most collectable single malt produced in the 20th century; The Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old presented in a unique bottle painted by the Irish artist Michael Dillon.
Considered the ‘Holy Grail’ for collectors, it is poised to set a new world auction record for a bottle of whisky.
Several other rare Macallans have sold at auction recently, but The Macallan 60-Year-Old 1926 takes this rarity to new heights for collectors as it is is the only bottle of this ultra-rare elixir to be hand-painted by Dillon.
Tim Triptree MW, Christie’s International Director of Wine, said: ‘Over the past five years we have seen sell-through rates for whisky offerings increase by over 20% and in recent years, along with the consistent interest from US and European collectors, clients from Asia have been highly active in the whisky market.
‘The November auction will mark one of the strongest offerings of whiskies ever presented by Christie’s, including a rare 1919 vintage Springbank, and one of the oldest bottles of single malt scotch whisky we’ve ever offered, The Highland Park Reserve 1902.
‘The Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old will highlight the sale. The Macallan were unsure that this bottle still existed — it was last seen at Fortnum & Mason in London in 1999, and we look forward to presenting this unique bottle to our international collectors and to an exciting moment in whisky auction history.’
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 from this rare cask was commissioned and hand-painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon and offered for sale at Fortnum & Mason in London in 1999.
Christie’s is delighted to bring this unique bottle to market, presenting collectors with the opportunity to acquire a truly one-of-a-kind whisky from arguably the finest cask ever matured.
The sale will also present another example from this exceptional distillery, The Macallan Lalique 50-Year-Old (estimate: £60,000 – 80,000 per lot), the first Macallan to be released in a Lalique crystal bottle specially designed by the legendary French house.
The 50-Year-Old was released in 2006 as an edition of only 470 bottles and today is the most collectable and rare of this singular series. The age statement on the whisky is fifty years of age, but many of the whiskies in the blend may be significantly older than that. As demand for this masterpiece has increased prices continue to rise.
Further highlights of the auction include a 1919 vintage Springbank (estimate £100,000–150,000) and an incredibly rare and very old relic from another era, Berry Brothers & Rudd, Highland Park Reserve 1902 (estimate: £4000–5000 per bottle).
Only 24 bottles from the 1919 vintage were bottled at the Springbank distillery in Campbeltown in 1970. This extremely rare whisky once held the Guinness world record for the most expensive whisky in the world and was ahead of its time in terms of super-premium whisky releases. The lot includes a certificate of authenticity from J & A Mitchell & Company stating this bottle was the fourth bottle of Springbank 1919 released onto the market in 1989 and subsequently sold by Fortnum & Mason prior to purchase by the current owner in May 1997.
Springbank was established in 1828 and the current chairman, Hedley G. Wright, is the fifth generation of the Mitchell family to own and manage Springbank.
The Highland Park Reserve 1902 was distilled at the very start of the 20th century and bottled by Berry Brothers in the 1950s. The ornate label refers to the late King George VI and shows the whisky was a special bottling for Berry Brothers and Rudd. This is one of the oldest bottles of single malt scotch whisky Christie’s has ever offered.