Chinese visitor pays US$10,000 for a Scotch whisky at Swiss hotel

Young visitor persuades bar staff to open 19th century bottle of The Macallan Speyside single malt

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 August, 2017, 11:42am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 August, 2017, 8:31pm

Have you heard the one about the guy who walked into a bar and ordered a US$10,000 whisky?

A young Chinese man paid the equivalent – 9,999 Swiss francs – last week at a Swiss hotel for glass of the 1878 malt by the revered Macallan distillery, the 20Minuten website said.

The report was confirmed by an employee of the exclusive Waldhaus Hotel in St Moritz, northeast Switzerland.

The hotel’s Devil’s Place Whisky Bar is renowned for its 2,500-bottle collection, which has been recognised the Guinness Book of World Records.

But proprietor Sandro Bernasconi told 20Minuten he never expected to open this particular Speyside malt – a special reserve dating back to 1878.

After entering the bar with a group of people, the client expressed particular interest in its Macallan collection – the hotel has 47 options, with prices that range from seven Swiss francs to just shy of 10,000.

“I told the customer that the most expensive Macallan was not for sale”, Bernasconi was quoted as saying by the website.

The client persisted, so Bernasconi called his father, who had run the hotel for 20 years and never had a client order the 1878 single malt. The elder Bernasconi told his son to go for it, even if the customer was not going to pay in advance.

“I was nervous,” Bernasconi was quoted as saying, explaining that he was concerned the ancient cork would disintegrate.

But everything went down smoothly, including the two-centilitre measure, Bernasconi said.

Whisky makes for good investment as demand for aged and rare single malts grows

Now that the bottle is open, the hotel hopes to sell the remaining drams and may consider dropping the price, 20Minuten said.

Before it was uncorked, the bottle had been valued at 50,000 Swiss francs (US$51,600), a relatively modest price compared with recent record sets by whisky bottles at auction.

A special collector’s blend of the Macallan sold at auction in Hong Kong for nearly US$630,000 in 2014.

The name of the young – but presumably well-heeled – whisky connoisseur has yet to be released.