Rare ‘forgotten’ cask of whisky sells for more than £1m at auction

The 374-litre cask, distilled at The Macallan in 1988, sold for what is believed to be a new world record.

Rare cask of Macallan whisky distilled in 1988 sells at auction for more than £1m iStock
Whisky: Rare cask sells at auction for more than £1m.

A rare “forgotten” cask of whisky, bought for £5000 more than 30 years ago, has sold for more than £1m at auction in what is said to be a new world record.

Whisky enthusiasts from around the world placed bids on the 374-litre cask, distilled at The Macallan in 1988, in the online auction which ended on Sunday evening.

It sold for $1,295,500 (£1,017,000) in the online auction on the Whisky Hammer site, breaking the record set in 2021 by Bonhams for the sale of a 30-year-old, re-racked, Sherry hogshead from Macallan, which fetched $574,000 (£439,000).

The cask, originally filled on May 5 1988, had been held in bond at the Macallan Distillery in Moray for almost 34 years.

It was bought on a whim by an expat who then forgot about it for more than three decades until they were reminded by Macallan that it was still maturing in the warehouse.

Daniel Milne, co-founder and managing director of Whisky Hammer, said: “When this cask was listed in our auction, we knew it had the potential to make history.

“To come across a cask of this age, quality and size is extraordinary in itself, enhanced by the fact the liquid was distilled at The Macallan which is reflected in the global attention the cask has attracted.

“It’s been incredibly exciting for everyone at Whisky Hammer to have represented what has become the most expensive cask ever to be sold at auction.”

The cask was bought by a private individual based in the US.

If bottled today, it would yield 534 x 70cl bottles of single malt whisky, distilled at The Macallan.

Whisky Hammer is a family-run auction service founded by brothers Daniel and Craig Milne.

The sale price included buyer’s premium.