Rare pair of Macallans set a new world record

Two of the rarest vintage Macallan bottles made history by setting new world auction records for any whisky sold at auction in Hong Kong.

Unseen in public in over three decades, the Macallan Peter Blake-1926-60 Year Old went under the hammer first for £751,703 to a phone bidder, and the record was further pushed when the Macallan Valerio Adami-1926-60 Year Old later sold for £814,081 to a bidder in the room, surpassing the original estimates.

Daniel Lam, head of fine wine and whisky, Bonhams Asia, said: ‘These two bottles are the most significant whiskies ever produced in 20th century and truly presented a once-in-a-generation opportunity for collectors to acquire the Holy Grail of Macallan.

‘Active bidding came in from around the world but we saw new bidders from Southeast Asia including Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia reflecting the growing appetite and appreciation for whisky among Asian collectors and further reinforcing Bonhams market leadership in Hong Kong in the field of Whisky.’

The record breaking whisky was bottled in 1986, and Macallan commissioned Peter Blake and Valerio Adami to design labels for very limited editions, to offer as corporate gifts to the distillery’s most valued customers. Only 24 bottles–12 of the Blake label and 12 of the Adami label–were ever produced. They are elegantly presented in specially commissioned cabinets or Tantaluses, based on the traditional ‘Brass and Glass’ distillery spirit safe.

Alongside these bottles, impressive prices were also achieved throughout the auction including the oldest Expression of Karuizawa-1960-52 year old-The Dragon, one of 41 bottles, which went for £231,035.

The Hong Kong sale concluded with a robust total of £4,406,694 with close to 91% sold by lot and 95% sold by value of the 645 lots. All top lots sold for two or three times their estimates, indicating a positive sign for market demand among private collectors in Hong Kong and Asia.
The benchmark of the Macallan-1926-60 year old (Peter Blake and Valerio Adami Labels) was set with the recent sale in April this year of two similar bottles by the Dubai-Airport retailer, Le Clos, for a combined £861,120 – $1.2million.

Before this, the last known sale taking place at auction was in 2007 where a bottle of the Macallan Valerio Adami-1926-60 year old sold for US$75,000.

The previous auction record for any Single Malt Whisky was last seen in 2014 in Hong Kong with the sale of the Macallan 6-litre “M” Decanter by Lalique, which fetched HK$4.9 million.

Upcoming auctions at Bonhams include Fine and Rare Wines on 24 May in London; Whisky on 6 June in Edinburgh ; and, Fine and Rare Wines on 8 June in San Francisco.

New World Records Set at Bonhams Hong Kong for Macallan Peter Blake-1926-60 Year Old (right) and Macallan Valerio Adami 1926-60 year old (left) at Bonhams Fine and Rare Wine and Whisky sale in Hong Kong