A rare bottle of Scottish single malt whisky has sold at auction for £300,000, almost tripling its estimate.
The one-of-a-kind special edition bottle made by distillers at Macallan is the oldest whisky ever to come to auction, according to Sotheby’s.
Named The Reach, the 81-year-old whisky was estimated to sell for anywhere between £110,000 and £200,000.
Purchased by a UK private collector, the decanter was presented in a special single-lot sale, with proceeds raising funds for The Macallan’s recently established Artisan Collective forum.
The winning bidder will also enjoy an exceptional distillery experience at The Macallan Estate, including a tasting of this extraordinarily rare 81-year-old single malt whisky.
The purchase will benefit The Macallan Artisan Apprenticeship Fund, helping businesses to attract and recruit new apprentices, as well as providing existing artisan apprentices with the opportunity to take part in specialist training and development.
Crafted from a single, sherry seasoned oak cask, The Reach is encased in a decanter created from mouth-blown, hot glass, cradled on a bronze sculpture of three hands representing characters in The Macallan’s history.
Unveiled in February 2022, this release from the distillery reflects an extraordinary moment in time, the liquid laid down during a period of increasing hardship during the Second World War, just before The Macallan was compelled to close its doors for the first time in its history.
The auction record for a bottle of the world’s oldest whisky was established at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in October 2021, when Decanter #1 of the Gordon & Macphail Generations 80-Years-Old, sold for £142,000.
Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s head of whisky & spirits, North America and EMEA, said: “This extraordinary result for the oldest whisky ever to come to auction is thoroughly deserved.
“One of one versions of special Single Malts are highly coveted, and we saw competitive bids playing out as the sale began to close, pushing the final price ever higher, to nearly three times over estimate.
“Age, rarity and provenance – once again, the holy trinity for collectors.”
The cabinet housing the decanter has been crafted using wood from a fallen elm tree which is thought to have been on The Macallan Estate in 1940, the year the spirit was distilled.
The decanter itself is encased in a display cabinet lined in red leather – reflecting the red thread that has run through The Macallan’s branding since it was founded almost 200 years ago – rather than the traditional cream leather which features on the original whisky release.