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.
On Wednesday 07th March, Bonhams plays host to The Whisky Sale in Edinburgh. With a number of exceptional whiskies going under the hammer including The Macallan, Bowmore and Talisker this really is a rare opportunity to acquire some truly iconic and collectible whiskies.
After an epic bidding battle that lasted over four hours past the scheduled finish, a cask of Macallan single malt whisky distilled in 1989 sold for an astounding £242,200 ($336,512) in our February auction. We reckon this is a world record for a cask of 1989 whisky!
As you’ll know if you’ve been following our previous blogposts, Cask 1248 is a refill sherry hogshead that has been maturing in one of the distillery’s official bonded warehouses since being filled in January 1989. It’s the ninth Macallan cask we’ve auctioned and the oldest one we’ve had so far.
The regauging done in December on this cask showed that it now holds approximately 257 standard 70cl bottles of whisky at a strength of 52.75% abv, with the hammer price equating to over £942 per bottle before commission, duty and bottling costs are added. The incredible price comfortably beats our previous records from last month when a 1990 Macallan of the same cask type fetched £135,100 at an equivalent bottle price of around £560. A larger cask of Macallan 1996 sold in the same auction for £168,300 (around £320 per bottle).
The price achieved by the Macallan 1989 represents a remarkable surge in value for casks from the distillery. A similar hogshead cask from the 1995 vintage sold for £52,100 only three months ago in November 2017. The sale is an astonishing return on investment for the previous owner of Cask 1248, who paid £2,700 for the cask in 1994 when the whisky was just five years old.
Our own Wayne Ormerod, founder of Whisky-Online Auctions, commented: “This was a superb sale. Macallan is a blue chip distillery known for its sherry casks, so it’s ideal for auctions like ours that specialise in the best quality older whiskies. It is great to see this level of demand for bonded casks of single malt from serious auction buyers. There were multiple bidders who were determined to secure Cask 1248, which is why the auction kept extending and the cask ended up going for such a fantastic price.
“We’ve been auctioning rare bottles of whisky for several years, so when the opportunity to start auctioning casks came along it seemed like a natural progression. It’s fair to say we’ve been very pleasantly surprised by just how successful it’s been.”
It’s amazing how quickly the prices of these casks has escalated – we only began selling bonded casks last July but the opportunity to own and bottle a ‘private’ cask has clearly been a big hit with our buyers. As well as the high-profile Macallan casks, we’ve also seen plenty of interest in casks of maturing whisky from distilleries including Isle of Jura, Tullibardine, Arran and even a 1990 vintage cask from Littlemill, a distillery which was closed and dismantled over twenty years ago.
“A cask of aged Macallan is an increasingly historic and valuable asset and will always fetch high prices, particularly as the old Macallan distillery will be closing later this year after production is switched to the new facility. That makes these casks representing the distillery’s golden era even more special,” said Wayne.
“The whisky is a great example of 1980s Macallan and the good news is that although it’s drinking very well now, it’ll definitely keep until its thirtieth birthday next year – if the buyer can wait that long to bottle it.
“This is a new and rapidly-growing part of our business and we expect these extraordinary prices will attract many other cask-owners keen to find out how much their own liquid gold could achieve at auction.”
The Macallan has unveiled Edition No.3 – a new limited edition whisky. This third release in the innovative Edition Series is a dynamic and highly original collaboration between The Macallan’s Master Whisky Maker, Bob Dalgarno and Master Perfumer, Roja Dove uniting the worlds of whisky and aroma to reveal the complexities of single malt character.
Continuing the diverse story of The Macallan’s oak casks and obsession with wood, the focus has remained on the commitment introduced with Edition No.1 and Edition No.2 to unlock the intricate workings of the whisky making process. Edition No.3 exposes the detail of its creation for true transparency, and showcases the absolute skill of the Master Whisky Maker.
While Edition No.1 and Edition No.2 highlighted the influence each cask has on the taste and flavour of the final whisky, Edition No.3 provides an insight into the distinctive aromas that combine to build character and depth and create a multi-sensory experience of taste and aroma.
From defining life experiences to the recall of special memories, the power of aroma is unquestionable and it is this power which makes the approach to Edition No.3 truly mesmerizing, as Roja Dove and Bob Dalgarno embarked on a sensory journey of discovery.
As one of the world’s most respected Master Perfumers whose brand Roja Parfums is at the pinnacle of the fragrance industry, Roja Dove provided his remarkable sensory knowledge and experience to describe distinctive aromas in particular oak casks. Subsequently, Bob Dalgarno utilised this articulation of aromas to select dominant notes to help shape the final character of Edition No.3.
The Macallan’s exceptional oak casks are the single greatest contributor to the outstanding quality, natural colours and distinctive aromas and flavours of The Macallan and the use of a higher proportion of smaller casks in Edition No.3 increased the contact between the spirit and the wood, delivering an intense experience of flavour and aroma.
Crafted from a combination of European and American oak casks, Edition No.3 balances a heavier base derived from Tevasa casks and reflective of The Macallan character, with the fresh cut oak and citrus of Hudosa casks, the vanilla ice cream and sweet, crisp green apple flavours of bourbon casks and the dry, floral and vanilla notes from European and American oak refill casks.
Bob Dalgarno, The Macallan’s Master Whisky Maker, said: “Inspiration and innovation lie at the heart of The Macallan and in Edition No.3 we have collaborated with one of the world’s most respected aroma experts to create a single malt whisky which pushes the boundaries and challenges convention.
“The Edition Series provides the freedom to look beyond the cask styles typically used in other Macallan whiskies. There are great parallels between the worlds of whisky and perfume and it has been fascinating to work with Roja to explore the power of aroma in individual oak casks and its influence on the resulting whisky. Edition No.3 is a remarkable journey of the senses, delivering an intense experience of flavour and aroma.”
Roja Dove, Master Perfumer, said: “On the surface it would seem that Bob and I came from disparate worlds. From the beginning it was obvious we shared much in common which we have explored and developed in many different ways. The inevitable culmination of this collaboration was the creation of Edition No.3. We have worked together to master the balance of taste and aroma, resulting in an incredibly flavoursome, fresh and citrus whisky with enveloping sweetness. Edition No.3 is an exceptional example of the whisky maker’s art, where Bob has interpreted my thoughts so accurately, when combined with the extraordinary power of scent.”
With an ABV of 48.3%, Edition No.3 is a sensory journey of flavour and aroma intimately entwined. Presenting a sweet and fruity character, it brings to the fore notes of vanilla, fresh cut oak, delicate florals and rich fruit cake. An alluring whisky that challenges expectations and reflects the artistic genius of the collaborators who united to curate this distinctive single malt.
The Macallan Edition No.3 will be priced at £78.
For further information visit www.themacallan.com
Colour: A natural colour of Barley gold
Aroma: Reminiscent of a fine fragrance, the nose leads with vanilla ice cream, fresh cut oak and delicate florals. Orange oil provides subtle grandeur while ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg flit in and out. Vanilla imparts sweetness, leading citrus fruits forward then allowing chocolate to show. Burnished oak delivers a soft ending.
Palate: A sensory journey of flavour and aroma intimately entwined, the palate is sweet fruit and vanilla and rich fruit cake with suggestions of apricot, pear and crisp green apple. Hints of ginger and cinnamon are balanced with a light resinous oak finale.
Finish: The finish is long, sweet and fruity, leaving a lasting impression on the senses.
For further information, please contact Hope&Glory PR:
James Bunting: email@example.com / 020 3588 9741
Alex Royce: firstname.lastname@example.org / 02035889722
Luxury single malt whisky, The Macallan today unveils its latest exciting collaboration, with Oblix at The Shard, to create the first ever bespoke Macallan Whisky Trolley serving The Macallan whiskies of all ages and styles.
Oblix, one of London’s most iconic restaurants located on the 32nd floor of The Shard and The Macallan, both industry pioneers, have worked together to offer their guests a new pairing experience designed to demonstrate the outstanding range of The Macallan whiskies, complemented with cheese.
The Macallan Whisky Trolley was designed and handcrafted in Glasgow from a Macallan sherry butt, specifically selected by The Master of Wood Stuart MacPherson from the bodegas in Spain. The Macallan’s meticulous approach to wood and cask selection has such a profound effect on the liquid, it was felt this was a perfect way to showcase one of the casks.
Commenting on how the collaboration came about, Aaron Masonde, Oblix bar manager said: “The Macallan and Oblix share a likeness in that we are both trying to push boundaries and change the way people perceive food and drink. In partnership with The Macallan we have worked together to offer guests a new experience to discover the complexities of The Macallan, perfectly complemented with cheese.”
The whisky trolley will serve a range of The Macallan whiskies of all ages and styles along with a selection of fine Scottish cheeses served on a wooden cheeseboard map, allowing customers to choose a unique whisky pairing. It will also offer a Maxxium Malts cheeseboard and pairing with whiskies such as Auchentoshan, Laphroaig and Highland Park.
Chris Anderson, Luxury Marketing Controller for Maxxium UK, said: “Oblix is a very exclusive London restaurant who we have been working with for a number of years. This partnership provides us with a great opportunity to offer their customers something unique when it comes to tasting The Macallan range.”
Issued by Big Partnership on behalf of Maxxium UK.
For further information regarding The Macallan, please contact:
Gabrielle Roscamp, email@example.com, 0131 557 5252
For further information regarding Oblix, please contact:
Sam Carvey at The Communications Store: firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 7938 1010
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