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Whisky – Considering Scotland’s Greatest Export



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Whisky – Considering Scotland’s Greatest Export

A rare bottle of Scotch Whisky, dubbed the “holy grail” for whisky drinkers, was poised to fetch up to £1.2 million when it went to auction on November 18, 2023. Sotheby’s were putting the 96-year-old Macallan Adami single malt whisky under the hammer in London. Now in case we all thought that price was a typo, let me restate that this bottle of Macallan Adami was indeed expected to sell for at least £750,000, but Sotheby’s had in fact set a guide price of up to £1.2 million.
What is going on here? Could a bottle of whisky be that expensive? Come to think of it, could a bottle of anything be that expensive? Had Sotheby’s got carried away when they were arranging the auction, or was there something to all the hype? If it were to reach this price level, that would make it one of the most expensive ever sold, the previous record being for another bottle of the same 1926 Macallan Adami which sold for £1.5 million in 2019.
But as things turned out, Sotheby’s had erred on the conservative side. The 1926 Macallan Adami sold for a record-breaking £2.2 million ($2.7 million). One reason why it was sold for so much is that the Speyside distillery only ever produced 40 bottles of this tipple, and the contents had been aged for no less than six decades before being bottled in 1986. These bottles were then offered to Macallan’s top clients. And it is clear to me that this, whether one likes whisky or not, this would have been one of the top financial investments that anyone could have made. Provided, of course, that the owner could have resisted the temptation to open the bottle and drink it.


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