Pleasure / October 2018

The Oenophile: The Macallan's Dram Buster

Tim Triptree, Master of Wine and Christie’s International Director of Wine opines on the upcoming auction of one of The Macallan’s most sought-after single-malts ever produced.

The incredible new The Macallan Distillery by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Photo Joas Souza.

One question I am often asked is what is the next big thing in wine and spirits. I wish I possessed a crystal ball to predict the future (and would stock up on that wine or spirit!) but what I can say with a degree of certainty is that whisky is red hot at the moment, with demand for the finest single malts pushing prices at auction to stratospheric levels. One whisky that is head and shoulders above the rest is The Macallan, which is the most highly collectable whisky, producing stunning examples of cask-matured single malts, particularly their highly prized and exceedingly rare single-cask, limited-edition bottlings and Fine & Rare Collection.

The Macallan 60-Year-Old 1926 takes this rarity to a higher level and is the zenith for collectors of The Macallan whisky. Sir Peter Blake (the renowned artist responsible for the album cover of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band) and Valerio Adami were asked to design a label each for this special bottling, and 12 individually numbered bottles from each artist were released. The Macallan currently holds the world record for the most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold at auction, set in May this year with one bottle of the 1926 Macallan with a Valerio Adami label selling for a total of US$1.1 million, almost double its high estimate.

Less well-known was that one bottle of this ultra-rare elixir was hand-painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon and offered for sale through Fortnum & Mason in London in 1999. Until recently it was believed to have been consumed, however thankfully that was not the case and Christie’s are delighted to be offering this unique Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old Michael Dillon bottle in the 29 November Christie’s London auction, Finest & Rarest Wines & Spirits. This bottle is unquestionably the 'Holy Grail' for whisky collectors as it is truly one-of-a-kind and expectations are that this will set a new world record for a bottle of whisky.

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Tim Triptree