A unique bottle of single malt whisky has become the first in the world to sell for more than £1 million.
The 60-year-old Macallan, which comes in a one-off bottle, hand-painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon, fetched the sum – rising to £1.2 million after buyer’s premiums – at Christie’s in London.
The bottle had not been seen in almost 20 years and experts had described it as “the Holy Grail” of whiskies and “the most collectable single malt produced in the 20th Century”.
Only 40 bottles of The Macallan 1926 were released in 1986 following a 60-year maturation period in sherry-seasoned oak casks.
Each came with a £20,000 price tag.
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Twelve were given to artist Peter Blake to design, while another 12 were set aside for artist Valerio Adami.
A single bottle was hand-painted by Dillon.
International expert Tim Triptree, of Christie’s, said that after spending 60 years maturing the “ultra-rare elixir” would be dark in colour and incredibly complex in taste.
He said: “The sale represents a landmark moment in the whisky market – establishing a world auction record for a bottle of whisky.
“The results confirm the strength of the market for whisky.”
A Christie’s spokeswoman added: “The bottle, which beautifully depicts the Easter Elchies House of The Macallan against the backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, is truly one-of-a-kind.”
The previous world record for the most expensive bottle of whisky was only set by in October and again the sum was paid for the Moray distillery’s handiwork.
An example of The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 fetched £848,750 at a Bonhams sale in Edinburgh.
Until earlier this year, the last known sale of a 1926 bottle of The Macallan was through Christie’s in 2007, when it fetched £75,000 US Dollars.