A Historic Auction: The Macallan 1926 Adami Sets New Record

In a recent auction held by Sotheby’s in London, a bottle of The Macallan 1926 Adami claimed the title of the highest-selling spirit or wine, fetching an impressive £2,187,500 (US$2,714,250). 

This sale, which took place on November 18th 2023, surpassed expectations by nearly tripling its pre-sale low estimate of £750,000 to £1.2 million. Let’s delve into the details of this historic moment in the whisky industry.

the macallan 1926 adami in case

The Macallan 1926 Adami: A Rarity

The Macallan 1926 is an exceptional whisky that spent 60 years maturing in Sherry casks before being bottled in 1986 from Cask 263. At that time, only 40 bottles were produced, making it the oldest expression from The Macallan. 

Among these 40 bottles, 12 were adorned by the renowned artist Sir Peter Blake, 14 featured the Fine & Rare labels, and two were released without any labels. Irish artist, Michael Dillon hand-painted one of the unlabelled bottles (which sold for £1 million in 2018). The final 12 were designed by Valerio Adami in 1993, the artist after whom this particular bottle is named.

The Macallan 1926 Adami bottle sold was bottle #12 of 12. 

Rarity and Exclusivity

The exclusivity of The Macallan 1926 Adami is underscored by the fact that only 10 bottles designed by Adami are believed to remain intact.

One was reportedly destroyed during a Japanese earthquake in 2011, and at least one has been opened and consumed. These bottles are a testament to the limited and cherished nature of this particular edition.

The rarity of the bottle comes from the fact that single malt whisky was very rarely aged for 60 years. More often than not, casks were bottled much earlier in the maturation process. Now we have several other examples of aged whiskies from distilleries, including The Macallan

the macallan 1926 adami at auction

Auction Records and Variants

Before this auction, the record for The Macallan 1926 was broken four times between 2018 and 2019 by the three variants: 

Each of these bottles contributed to the escalating value and interest in The Macallan 1926.

The Record-Breaking Sale

Sotheby’s collaborated with The Macallan to prepare the Adami bottle for auction, marking the first instance of reconditioning and authentication for a 1926 bottle. 

READ MORE: Blair Castle’s World’s Oldest Whisky Discovery Sells for Over £385,000 at Auction

This meticulous process involved replacing the capsule and cork, applying new glue to the corners of the bottle labels, and taking a 1ml liquid sample for testing against another 1926 bottle at the Edrington offices in Glasgow. Edrington, the owner of The Macallan, played a pivotal role in ensuring the authenticity and condition of this historic bottle.

The sale of The Macallan 1926 Adami for £2,187,500 not only set a new world record but also marked a significant moment for the whisky industry. The rarity, craftsmanship, and meticulous authentication process contributed to the emotional and memorable nature of this auction. As the whisky market continues to evolve, these extraordinary sales remind us of the enduring allure of exceptional and limited-edition spirits.

If you would like to get involved in the world of whisky then UKV can help. 

At UKV International we source whisky for investment for our clients. Whether it is to add to your collection, enjoy some incredible drams or to purchase cask whisky for storage we can help.

Speak to our team today and start your whisky journey,