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That’s dram expensive – rare whisky goes up for auction

Whisky expert Charles MacLean with the worlds rarest and most valuable whisky
Whisky expert Charles MacLean with the worlds rarest and most valuable whisky

A whisky considered to be the world’s most rare and valuable dram is going under the hammer next week.

The 92-year-old bottle of The Macallan Valerio Adami is estimated to fetch between £700,000 and £900,000 when it comes up for auction at Bonhams in Edinburgh.

Described by experts as “the Holy Grail of whisky”, it is expected to attract the attention of some of the world’s most serious collectors at the sale on Wednesday October 3.

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

Macallan commissioned two famous pop artists, Valerio Adami and Peter Blake, to design labels for a very limited edition of 24 bottles – 12 of the Adami and 12 with the Blake labels.

The Macallan Valerio Adami 60 year-old 1926

Bonhams said the bottle being offered 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.

Martin Green, Bonhams’ whisky specialist in Edinburgh, said: “The Macallan 1926 60-year-old has been described as the Holy Grail of whisky.


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“Its exceptional rarity and quality puts it in a league of its own, and the world’s most serious whisky collectors will wait patiently for many years for a bottle to come on to the market.

“It is a great honour to be offering this amazingly rare whisky at our Edinburgh sale.”

Another bottle of The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 was sold at Bonhams Hong Kong in May for a world record price of £814,081, the most paid for a bottle of Scotch whisky at public auction.

At the same sale, Bonhams also sold a bottle of The Macallan Peter Blake 1926 60-year-old for £751,703.

Whisky expert Charles MacLean with The Macallan Valerio Adami

A number of other important bottles are also being offered for sale at the Edinburgh auction next week.

They include three bottles of Black Bowmore 1964, estimated to fetch £42,000-£51,000; a Macallan 62-year-old from 1950, valued at up to £35,000; and a Dalmore 50-year-old from 1926, with an estimated hammer price of £20,000-£25,000.

Expensive tastes

There have been a number of headline-hitting bottles of whisky going under the hammer this year.

In February, an unnamed buyer paid £82,619 at auction for a rare edition of The Dalmore, produced at Alness in Easter Ross.

With only 20 bottles released in 2011, The Dalmore Eos 59-year-old is highly sought after by private collectors and the amount is thought to be a world record for a near standard-sized bottle of Scotch.

Danny McIlwraith from Bonhams cleans the cabinet which houses The Macallan Valerio Adami

In August, meanwhile, 360 of a limited release of 2,500 bottles of the Macallan Genesis Limited Edition were put up for sale.

Hundreds arrived at the Macallan distillery near Craigellachie to get their hands on the malt, bringing roads to a standstill.

Within hours, a number were being offered for re-sale at more than ten times their original asking price.

Five bottles were subsequently sold through online auction by private sellers for a collective £23,750.

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