The second part of the Ultimate Whisky Collection sold for US$1.4 million during an auction that also saw The Macallan Red Collection sell for nearly four times its estimate.
The first part of The Ultimate Whisky Collection fetched £7.6m (US$9.8m) in total when the auction, comprised of 391 lots, concluded in October 2019. During the sale, a bottle of Macallan 1926 60-year-old Scotch whisky set a new world record after fetching £1.5m (US$1.9m). The sale was Sotheby’s first spirits offering from a single owner.
On 31 October 2020, Sotheby’s offered the Ultimate Whisky Collection Part II as part of a larger sale. It presented 190 lots of Scotch, Japanese and Irish whiskies, estimated to sell for £800,000 (US$1m) in total. Part II sold for £1,057,364 (US$1,366,431), bringing the combined total of the collection to £8.7m (US$11.2m).
For the second part of the sale, Sotheby’s collaborated with The Macallan to mark the launch of a new collection of single malts from the Speyside distillery. The Macallan Red Collection is a complete set of six whiskies aged from 40 years old to 78 years old, the oldest expression ever released by the brand. The series also features a 50-year-old, 60-year-old, 71-year-old and a 74-year-old whisky.
The Macallan Red Collection was estimated to sell for £200,000 (US$258,340), but ultimately went for £756,400 (US$975,756). It was purchased by an Asian private collector.
Proceeds from the sale were donated to the City Harvest charity, which redistributes surplus from the food industry to vulnerable people internationally.
‘Most valuable whisky collection’
Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s spirits specialist, said: “This exceptional result for The Red Collection is testament not only to the strength of the whisky market but also to the esteem with which The Macallan is held. Equally, the result of the Ultimate Whisky Collection Part II cements its position as the most valuable whisky collection ever sold at auction.
“The overall total for the Ultimate Whisky Collection speaks volumes of the diversity in today’s premium whisky market and the importance of provenance to collectors. A fantastic result for Sotheby’s inaugural Halloween spirits sale and City Harvest London.”
Each bottle in The Red Collection is encased in a hand-crafted oak presentation box created from the same European oak used to make The Macallan’s oak casks.
The colour red has enduring significance for the Scotch brand, dating back to 1824 when farmer and teacher Alexander Reid founded The Macallan. The origin of his surname means ‘red’ in Scotland and was initially associated with red hair.
The Macallan Red Collection is distinguished by exclusive labels, which are illustrated and signed by Spanish artist Javi Aznarez. Only two sets feature these labels with set one kept in The Macallan’s archives. Set two was sold by Sotheby’s and included two exclusive display cases and two bespoke tables.
The auction included 63 Macallan lots, whiskies from Bowmore, Glenfiddich and The Dalmore, and independent bottles from Silvano Samaroli.
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Author: Nicola Carruthers