Dubai Airport based retailer Le Clos sets world record for most expensive whisky bottles ever sold at US$1.2m
Two extremely rare bottles of The Macallan 1926, with labels commissioned by artists Sir Peter Blake and Valerio Adami, bought by private collector
Bottles originally retailed for £20k, and the last known individual bottle sold in 2007 for US$75,000
(Dubai, UAE) 25 April 2018: Two extremely rare bottles of The Macallan 1926 have today set the world record for the most expensive whisky bottles ever sold after they changed hands for US$1.2m. The pair are labelled with original artworks by renowned artists Sir Peter Blake and Valerio Adami. The bottles were sold by Le Clos, the Dubai-Airport based luxury spirits retailer, to an international businessman for his private collection. Each bottle was sold for US$600,000.
These two bottles are two of the most unique bottles of whisky ever produced. The whisky itself is The Macallan 1926, which was distilled in 1926 then aged 60 years in sherry-seasoned oak barrels before being bottled and released in 1986. Of the 40 bottles produced, just 12 were given to British artist Sir Peter Blake, famed for co-creating the Beatles’ album cover for Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and 12 were given to the Italian artist Valerio Adami, (released in 1993) one of the most acclaimed pop artists of the 21st century. Each artist created a bespoke label for the bottles, making them highly sought after by art-lovers and whisky collectors alike. The rare bottles are presented in cabinets, or tantaluses, and are based on the ‘brass and glass’ distillery spirit safe designs.
Each bottle originally retailed at £20k, and the last known individual bottle sold in 2007 at Christie’s for US$75,000.
The sale at Le Clos sets a new benchmark for private sales and completes another chapter in The Macallan’s history as a collector’s whisky – the distillery also currently holds the record for most expensive whisky bottle sold at auction with The Macallan M Imperiale achieving US$628,000 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2014.
Le Clos’ relationships and expertise within the luxury spirits market to source such rare and highly collectible products enabled the record-breaking sale to take place, building on several previous world-record sales in travel retail. Dubai Airport is the world’s new travel crossroads, and the partnership has made Macallan accessible to collectors around the globe.
Iain Delaney, Managing Director Le Clos, commented: “Le Clos has built a long-standing relationship with both The Macallan and Dubai Airports and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate our 10year anniversary with another world-record sale. This success is testament to the commitment of our partners who have supported the vision of Le Clos in becoming one of the world’s leading luxury retailers, not just in Dubai Airport but globally.
The desire to deliver world-class retailing excellence is engrained in our DNA as is our reputation for exploring the world to source unique fine wines and luxury spirits that are both accessible as they are different and bring them to the one of the world’s great cross roads.
It’s these attributes; the passion and ability to source some of the rarest bottles in the world, coupled with our world-class retailing credentials that have created the trust in the global market for private retail sales of this magnitude to take place.”
Geoff Kirk, Director of Prestige, The Macallan, said: “These represent some of the most exclusive bottles ever produced making this an iconic sale that will be remembered worldwide for years to come. It is incredibly rare for The Macallan 1926 to be made available for purchase, and the sale offers whisky connoisseurs the chance to secure historic bottles emblematic of 20th century pop culture. The Macallan is renowned for its outstanding quality and this sale demonstrates the brand standing as a leading figure in the whisky industry worldwide.”
“At Dubai International, we are focused on working with great partners who are committed to elevating the travel experience. One element of that experience is Le Clos’ unique product range, combined with the personal knowledge and service their team members offer. We are delighted that this industry record-breaking sale has taken place at our airport,” said Eugene Barry, Dubai Airports’ EVP Commercial.
Le Clos is owned and operated by Maritime and Mercantile International (MMI), headquartered in Dubai with a vision to becoming one of the world’s leading independent beverage distributors in emerging markets.
The Famous Grouse, the no 1 Blended Whisky in the UK, has today announced the launch of the Cask Series, a new range of ‘everyday premium’ whiskies.
Offering a new take on the iconic flavour of The Famous Grouse, the Cask Series aims to offer lovers of blended whisky an affordable way to enjoy new whisky styles which incorporates flavours imparted from specially selected oak casks.
Developed by The Famous Grouse’s Master Blender, Kirsteen Campbell, the Cask Series celebrates wood quality and the impact this has on whisky. The first in the series to be released is the Bourbon Cask, which will be followed by a number of whiskies aged in different cask types.
The Famous Grouse Bourbon Cask will feature all of the characteristic rounded and smooth flavours synonymous with the classic taste of the Famous Grouse and will be launching as an exclusive in Tesco on the 10th April 2018. RRP £19.
Available nationwide in over 600 stores, this unique edition will kick off the series with a premium liquid which has been blended using a high proportion of whisky matured in American Oak and first fill bourbon casks. As a result, the greater depth of caramel and vanilla flavours offers discerning drinkers an incredibly versatile whisky that is perfect enjoyed neat, with a dash of water or with ginger ale.
Kirsteen Campbell, Master Blender of The Famous Grouse, says: “The casks we use to mature the whisky are such an integral part of bringing the product to life. Each cask is unique and each brings something different to the spirit. For The Famous Grouse, we place such a lot of importance on the quality of our wood that we wanted to develop a range to really highlight and celebrate all that this adds to the whisky. The Cask Series is designed to showcase how different types of oak cask can influence flavour, delivering a range of wonderful flavours to appeal to a wide range of consumers.”
Chris Anderson, Head of Brands at Edrington-Beam Suntory Distribution UK Ltd, says: “The Famous Grouse is the biggest blended whisky brand in the UK and the launch of The Famous Grouse Cask Series allows us to offer drinkers a way to enjoy all the classic smooth, balanced flavours of The Famous Grouse with a twist. We know that our drinkers enjoy spending a little more to treat themselves to something special and the Cask Series offers a great way to enjoy an everyday reward for lovers of blended whisky.”
For further information visit @TheFamousGrouseUK on Facebook
Back in the glory days not many distilleries had the facilities to bottle their own liquid and the likes of Macallan in particular would appoint independent companies such as Gordon & MacPhail with a licence to undertake what occasionally would be a laborious task. The perfect example can be seen with these two handwritten labels which were bottled in the early 1980s. These whiskies may appear the same but they tell two totally different stories. We have one example distilled before the War and another distilled some years after the War. However, what they do have in common is that they were both distilled when the distillery was still running with just two stills. The 1938 is considered one of the finest expressions from this time for its often unique peat flavours. Where the 1950 is equally impressive with more delicately oily and softer fruit complexities and metallic notes in place of the earlier phenolic styles. These older Macallan are not been produced anymore and as the years go by they seem to be getting thinner and thinner in auction.
Fast forward several decades and not only are Gordon & MacPhail still bottling Macallan, they’re also maturing their own stock. Over the years G&M have bottled some mind-blowing whiskies including examples under their Speymalt series which is solely dedicated for Macallan. This series has seriously been underestimated over the years. If you dig deep you will realise the majority of these whiskies are from single casks and are bottled at a significant age. In this sale you will find example from 1950 to 1991.
This months auction features two beautiful and remarkably crisp Bowmore’s. Both of them were distilled on 16th June 1973. The casks selected between both bottles are a run of continuous sherry casks (5173 & 5174 – 5175 & 5176) which are said to be the last remaining butts of the 1973 vintage. 1973 was the very start of a historical change in the style of Bowmore. Whisky produced was still of a high standard but was characterised by a noticeable taming of its previous qualities. As with all distilleries modernisation played a part but, crucially at Bowmore, it was the dramatic increase in production levels that would contribute to what some might argue was a compromise between quality and quantity. If you desire that pure immense tropical fruit character 1960s Bowmore has to offer, we have a rather tasty Sherriff’s.
A Highland Park that certainly doesn’t appear in auction regularly. A 1968 single caskbottled at 35 years of age. This is an official bottling produced for World Duty Free in 2003. Only 546 bottles were bottled at 51.2%. And a 1973 Dalmore finished in what they call the ”King of Grapes” Cabernet Sauvignon from the Chateau Haut-Marbuzet of Saint Estephe. This is a limited release of 1000 bottles.
The 1972 Brora has become a bit of a phenomena in the world of whisky and these examples under the Rare Malt’s label seem to rule them all. Like most whiskies today these are slowly drying up for two reasons. One is down to the fact many of these were consumed in the early days due to their crazy low retail prices and secondly both drinkers and collectors are becoming much more educated. This calibre of whisky deserves the status it has attained over the last 20+ years whereas the same can’t be said about many of the new hyped up releases we see being produced today.
We don’t generally mention modern releases such as this Glenmorangie, however, we’re partial to a bit of golf. And what’s more fitting than Glenmorangie & Dornoch. The whisky is a 16 year old from an ex Oloroso cask that has been specially commissioned by the distillery to celebrate 400 years of golf in Dornoch. Glenmorangie rarely produce single casks anymore so regardless of the occasion this is a great release.
The UK is preparing for a time of great change as we approach Brexit. Leaving the European Union will undoubtedly have a major impact on British industries and exporters, including Scotch Whisky.
We have a team of specialists at the Scotch Whisky Association working hard to ensure the industry is ready for Brexit and that our voice is being heard. One area of great importance is looking at what Brexit might mean for the legal protection of Scotch Whisky, including its geographical indication (GI) status.
Our Director of Legal Affairs, Alan Park, considers how Brexit might affect the legal protection of Scotch Whisky.
Scotch Whisky has been defined in UK law since 1933. Brexit is not going to change that. Scotch Whisky is also recognised as a GI and has been since the concept was introduced by World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules in 1994.
A GI has unique characteristics and a reputation associated with its origin. Brexit will not alter the fact that Scotch Whisky is a GI. There is an obligation on members of the WTO, the vast majority of nations, to protect GIs from misuse. Some WTO members do that by providing a register for GIs in the same way countries provide a trade mark register. Scotch Whisky is recognised as a GI in this way from the Dominican Republic to Thailand.
Other countries choose to protect GIs in other ways and the SWA has taken advantage of those different approaches.For example, Scotch Whisky is specifically protected in the domestic legislation of many markets, such as the recognition given to Scotch Whisky in the US Federal Code. Brexit is not going to affect that either.
Where Brexit will have an impact is in the protection given to Scotch Whisky in some bilateral agreements between the EU and third countries. We want the UK to negotiate the continued benefits of those agreements but, in the meantime, the SWA is already taking steps to ensure that Scotch Whisky is recognised and protected in those markets in the range of ways available to it.
The key fact to remember is that the SWA has been protecting Scotch Whisky around the world before GIs were defined by the WTO in 1994, and before the EU existed, so whatever changes Brexit brings, the SWA will continue to do what it has done for many decades: stop the sale of any products unfairly taking advantage of the reputation of Scotch Whisky.
This means the consumer can continue to enjoy Scotch Whisky knowing that it is a well protected and high quality drink.
Article courtesy of: Scotch Whisky Association
05 Mar 2018
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