The Ten Most Expensive Whiskies Ever Sold

On November 18, 2023, a single bottle of The Macallan Fine & Rare 1926 sold for a staggering $2.7 million at a Sotheby’s auction. The global head of wine and spirits at Sotheby’s, Nick Pegna, confirmed that the buyer planned to open and enjoy drinking the whiskey: it was not an investment. 

This sale smashed its pre-auction estimate by over $1 million, making it by far the most expensive bottle of Scotch whisky ever sold at auction, surpassing the previous record by $800,000. Some people buy whisky as an investments, others for the enchantment of sharing a toast with others. 

The remarkable escalation in whisky prices is evident when considering that just over a decade ago, the record for the most expensive whisky was under $100,000. The primary reason for this exponential increase in fine and rare whisky is simple: the time required to produce a 60 Year Old whisky. There are no shortcuts in whisky aging, and the extraordinary surge in demand from High Net Worth Individuals has yet to be matched by supply. This genuine scarcity has captivated investors, who value owning something truly unique and irreplaceable. 

In looking at the 10 most expensive whiskies ever sold at auction, both single bottles and novel collections have to be considered. However, when it comes to single bottles, it's no surprise that The Macallan dominates. The Speyside distillery not only commands high prices but also boasts age statements that are unmatched, with master whisky maker Kirsteen Campbell having bottled an 81 Year Old Scotch, the oldest ever, in 2021. If you want to enjoy a fine and rare whisky, you can order whisky online from Bottle Barn within California! 

The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 60 Year Old – $2.7m

This prized bottle of The Macallan is one of just 40 from what is widely considered the holy grail of whisky collecting. The 1926 Fine & Rare 60 Year Old was drawn from Cask 263 in 1986 but was never actually offered for sale. Instead, The Macallan reserved bottles for its most prized clients and customers. 

Craft Irish Whiskey Co.’s The Emerald Isle Collection – $2m

Craft Irish Whiskey Co. set a record on St. Patrick's Day 2021 when its Emerald Isle Collection, in partnership with Fabergé, sold for $2m. This ultra-exclusive seven-piece set features the rare 30-year-old Emerald Isle whiskey, the oldest triple-distilled Irish single malt in existence, alongside an exquisitely crafted 18k gold and emerald Fabergé Celtic Egg and 22k gold Fabergé timepiece. 

The Macallan Fine and Rare 1926 – $1.9m

In 2019, The Macallan Fine and Rare 1926 set the record for the most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold at auction, fetching $1.9m at Sotheby’s in London. This bottle, with its original distillery label, is considered the founding father of The Macallan Fine and Rare series, a collection of vintage single-malt whiskies produced by the distillery over eight decades. 

The Macallan Michael Dillon 1926 60 Year Old – $1.53m

Commissioned to be hand-painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon, this bottle of the prized 60 Year Old became the first whisky to surpass the £1m mark at auction, selling for £1.2m (approximately $1.53m) at Christie's in London in November 2018. It is now the second most expensive singular bottle of whisky ever sold at auction. 

Glenfiddich, The 1950s Collection – $1.4m

This exceptional collection of four single malts from the 1950s sold for just shy of $1.4m at the Distillers' One of One auction in 2021, breaking Glenfiddich's own record. The winner received four expressions from 1955, 1957, 1958, and 1959, each handblown by Baccarat with a 24-carat gold neck and encased in a high-tech cabinet designed by NEJ Stevenson. 

The Macallan The Intrepid – $1.38m

Created as the largest bottle of whisky ever released, standing at 5’11 and holding approximately 311 liters of whisky, The Intrepid sold for £1.1 million ($1.375m) at Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh. It contains whisky from two American oak hogshead casks that have been maturing for 32 years each and pays tribute to 11 of the world’s most famous explorers. 

The Dalmore Decades No.6 Collection – $1.24m

This collection became the most valuable whisky auction lot ever sold by Sotheby’s in Asia when it was bought by a private collector for $1.24m. It contains a selection of six milestone releases chosen by The Dalmore’s master distiller, Richard Paterson, including the coveted Dalmore 60 Year Old, distilled from the two final casks remaining from the fabled Mackenzie era. 

The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 60 Year Old – $1.07m

The second release of 12 bottles of The Macallan Fine and Rare 1926 60 Year Old from cask #263 came in 1993, with labels designed by Italian painter Valerio Adami. One of these bottles sold for £825,000 (approximately $1.07m) at auction in February 2020, making it one of the most expensive bottles of whisky ever sold at auction. 

The Macallan Peter Blake 1926 60 Year Old – $1.04m

This bottle, one of the 12 released in 1993 from cask #263, features a label designed by pop artist Sir Peter Blake. It sold for £751,703 (approximately $1.04m) at auction in May 2018, becoming one of the most expensive bottles of whisky ever sold at auction. 

The Macallan Lalique Six Pillars Collection – $993,000

This set of six crystal decanters from Lalique contains some of the rarest of The Macallan's single malts aged from 50 to 65 years old. The collection, housed in a bespoke natural ebony cabinet, sold for $993,000 at auction in April 2017. 

The world of whisky collecting continues to reach new heights, with these record-breaking sales highlighting the allure and investment potential of rare and exceptional whiskies. As demand continues to outstrip supply, these bottles represent not only a unique drinking experience but also a valuable asset for collectors and investors alike. You can start a whisky collection through whisky delivery California. Bottle Barn’s hand curated collection has plenty to offer in a variety of prices ranges.

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