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Auctions

New world record as two bottles of Macallan whisky fetch US$2.11 million at Hong Kong auction

Rare 60-year-old spirits named after British pop artist Peter Blake and Italian painter Valerio Adami were never meant for sale

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 May, 2018, 11:42pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 May, 2018, 10:43am

Two bottles of rare, 60-year-old Macallan whisky set a world record on Friday night when they were auctioned for a total of HK$16.6 million (US$2.11 million).

The vintage spirits, unseen in public since they last went under the hammer 30 years ago, were the highlights of a Bonhams auction held in Hong Kong for fine and rare wines and whiskies.

One bottle, named after Italian artist Valerio Adami, sold for HK$8.64 million to a bidder in the room. The other bottle, named after British pop artist Peter Blake, fetched HK$7.96 million from a buyer on the phone.

The buyers’ identities were not disclosed.

The whiskies had been expected to go for between HK$3.6 million and HK$4.5 million a piece. They were distilled in 1926 and matured in sherry casks for 60 years before being bottled in 1986.

The previous record for a bottle of whisky at auction was set in 2014 when a six-litre Macallan was sold for HK$4.9 million.

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The label for one of the bottles was designed by Blake, who is popularly known for co-creating the cover art for the album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles.

The other bottle’s label was designed by Adami.

Only 12 bottles were produced under each label.

“These bottles are some of the oldest whiskies produced by Macallan in the 20th century,” said Daniel Lam On-tai, head of fine wine and whisky for Bonhams in Hong Kong.

“They were not meant for sale. They were given to very important clients of Macallan.”

The two bottles were presented in special cabinets made of brass and glass, Lam said.

Two rare vintage Macallan bottles to headline Bonhams’ wine and whisky auction in May 

Other highlights of the auction included the oldest Karuizawa whisky in the world, at 52 years old. That bottle, which sold for HK$2.45 million, set a new record for a single bottle of Japanese whisky.

It was one of 41 bottles produced in its batch, and earlier estimates had projected it would fetch between HK$1.5 million and HK$1.8 million.

All 645 items in the auction sold for a total of HK$46.62 million.

Additional reporting by Naomi Ng