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Macallan 81YO fetches £300,000 at auction

Sotheby’s has sold the oldest whisky ever offered at auction – an 81-year-old Macallan – for £300,000 (US$332,266).

The whisky is presented cradled on a bronze sculpture of three hands

The auctioneer sold The Macallan’s The Reach 81 Years Old with proceeds donated to The Macallan Artisan Apprenticeship Fund.

The bottling sold for almost triple its estimated price, and was acquired by a UK private collector.

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s head of whisky and 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 mouth-blown, hot glass decanter was presented in a special single-lot sale.

The Reach is crafted from a Sherry-seasoned oak cask, and was unveiled in February 2022 cradled on a bronze sculpture of three hands representing characters in The Macallan’s history.

The wooden case for the decanter was created 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 winning bidder will also be able to take part in a distillery experience at The Macallan Estate, including a tasting of the 41.6% ABV 81-year-old single malt whisky.

The Macallan The Reach boasts aromas of dark chocolate, sweet cinnamon and plums on the nose, followed by flavours of treacle toffee, crystallised ginger and pecans on the palate. The finish is intensely rich and smoky.

The previous oldest whisky sold at auction fetched £142,000 (US$157,291), the Decanter #1 of Gordon & Macphail Generations 80-Years-Old, in October 2021 at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong.

The Macallan recently debuted its limited edition James Bond series to mark the 60th anniversary of the film franchise.

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