In a historic auction held by Sotheby's in London on November 18, The Macallan Adami 1926 claimed the title of the world's most expensive whisky, fetching an astonishing £2,187,500 (US$2,714,250). This remarkable sale far exceeded the pre-sale estimates, marking a groundbreaking moment in the spirits industry and reaffirming The Macallan's unparalleled reputation.
The Macallan 1926 Adami, named after the renowned artist Valerio Adami who designed its label, is one of only 40 bottles produced in 1986. Aged for an astounding 60 years in Sherry casks, this expression stands as the oldest ever released by The Macallan at that time. The scarcity of this liquid gold, combined with its exceptional aging process, has elevated it to the status of the "holy grail of single malts."
Sotheby's had initially projected a sale between £750,000 and £1.2 million, but the bidding war that unfolded surpassed all expectations. The winning bid, made by an online bidder from Asia, set a new world record for the highest amount ever paid for a bottle of wine or spirits at auction, exceeding the previous record of £1.5 million set by Sotheby's in 2019 for the Fine & Rare version of the Macallan 1926.
Jonny Fowle, Sotheby's global head of spirits, expressed the magnitude of this achievement, stating, "This record-breaking result for The Macallan 1926 is nothing short of momentous for the whisky industry as a whole." Fowle, who had been involved in the reconditioning and authentication process of the bottle, highlighted the emotional connection to this particular sale, emphasizing the journey from working with the consignor and distillery to the final triumphant moment on the auction floor.
Of the 40 bottles produced, only 12 were adorned with labels designed by Valerio Adami, making them highly sought after by collectors. The meticulous process of reconditioning undertaken by Sotheby's and The Macallan, including the replacement of the capsule and cork, application of new glue to the labels, and a detailed liquid sample analysis, has elevated the authenticity of this specific bottle to unprecedented levels.
This auction not only signifies a financial milestone but also reflects the enduring allure of rare and aged whiskies. The Macallan 1926 Adami, with its rich and complex flavor profile, has become a symbol of luxury and exclusivity, transcending the boundaries of traditional spirits appreciation.
As the whisky industry continues to evolve, fueled by the passion of collectors and connoisseurs, the legacy of The Macallan 1926 Adami will undoubtedly endure as a testament to the craftsmanship, artistry, and timeless value encapsulated within each precious drop of this extraordinary elixir.