The Ultimate Whisky Collection – Sotheby’s, October 2019

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A few weeks ago a ground-breaking private collection of some of the greatest whiskies in the world, much of it Macallan, was sold at auction. This is one of the first sales of its kind, with whisky taking centre stage instead of playing second fiddle to wine. It shows how important whisky has become as both a collectable and alternative investment. Prices on almost every single bottle went above their estimate and there wasn’t a single unsold lot. Although it’s best to take auction prices with a pinch of salt, this has definitely helped set the current market for the top whisky brands in the world.

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First and foremost, Macallan re-established its dominance as the most sought-after whisky brand in all markets, both established and emerging. The most significant sale of the auction was a bottle of the Macallan Fine and Rare 1926 which sold for a £1.2m hammer price.  Beyond Macallan (which made up over half of the lots) there were impressive prices for other great whiskies such as Dalmore, Port Ellen, Bowmore and Brora. The Port Ellen 16th release 37-year-old 1978 bottle was estimated to go for £1500-2000 and sold for £6000. Meanwhile the Dalmore 50 year old release in 2017 sold for £66,500 for a bottle released two years ago for £25,000.

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The Macallan Fine & Rare 60 Year Old 1926 | Bowmore 54 Year Old, 1957, “Crashing Waves” |  Brora Limited Edition, 40 Year Old, 1972

This seminal auction has shown how substantial and global the demand for top whiskies is, from the seller (American) to buyers (European, Japanese and Chinese). It’s an exciting new world of taste and collecting which is already seeing rare bottles sell out on special release and one that will continue to grow with time and experience.