The Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old Malt: Achieves a World Auction Record for a bottle of whisky

Magnus Speyside

On 29 November 2018, The Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old presented in a unique bottle painted by the Irish artist Michael Dillon (estimate on request) sold for £1,200,000 / $1,528,800 / €1,352,400 in Christie’s Finest & Rarest Wines & Spirits auction in London, achieving a world auction record for a bottle of whisky.

In 1926 John Logie Baird gave the first public demonstration of television; Route 66 was established between Chicago and Los Angeles; and Agatha Christie mysteriously disappeared for 11 days. Meanwhile, the whisky-makers at The Macallan distillery filled cask no. 263 — which had begun its life in Jerez de la Frontera in Spain — with clear, ‘new make’ spirit from one of its famous ‘Curiously Small Stills’. Then they left it, and they waited for the Spanish oak — which had been ‘seasoned’ with Oloroso sherry — to work its magic.

The Macallan distillery located near the river Spey in North East Scotland was founded in 1824 and produces stunning examples of cask-matured single malts, particularly their highly prized single-cask, limited edition bottlings and Fine & Rare Collection. The Macallan 60-Year-Old 1926 takes this rarity to new heights for collectors of Macallan whisky. Peter Blake, the renowned artist responsible for the album cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Valerio Adami were each asked to design a label for this special 1926 Macallan 60-Year-Old malt, and 12 individually numbered bottles from each artist were released after the whisky had spent 60 years maturing in ex-sherry casks prior to bottling in 1986.

Less well-known was that one bottle of this ultra-rare elixir was commissioned and hand-painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon. 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.

Tim Triptree MW, Christie’s International Director of Wine: “The sale represents a landmark moment in the whisky market with The Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old achieving £1,200,000 / $1,528,800 / €1,352,400 and establishing a world auction record for a bottle of whisky.

Scott McCroskie, Managing Director, The Macallan: “This 1926 60-Year-Old bottle of The Macallan, hand-painted by the Irish artist Michael Dillon is very rare, so it is exciting to see it come to market and establish another auction record for Single Malt Scotch. The Macallan is renowned for its quality and desirability, and the Christie’s auction marks a significant achievement for the brand.”