World’s Most Expensive Whisky: £2.1m Bottle of Macallan Adami 1926 Sold in Auction

A bottle of Macallan Adami 1926, a single malt Scotch whisky of legendary status, has set a new record in the auction world, selling for a staggering $2.7 million (£2.1 million) at Sotheby’s in London – making it the most expensive wine or spirit ever sold at auction.

The sale is a testament to the whisky’s rich history, unparalleled quality, and the allure it holds in the collectors’ market.

Historical Context:

The Macallan Adami 1926 is part of an exceptionally rare collection of whiskies. Only 40 bottles were produced in 1986, each having matured for 60 years in dark oak sherry casks. This long maturation process, in combination with exceptional craftsmanship, has contributed to the whisky’s extraordinary quality and rarity.

A bottle akin to the one recently auctioned fetched £1.5 million in a 2019 sale.

Labeling and Artistry:

A significant feature of these bottles is their unique labeling. Twelve of the 40 bottles, including the record-breaking one, were adorned with labels designed by the renowned Italian painter Valerio Adami in 1993. This artistic collaboration adds a dimension of cultural and artistic value to the bottles.

Auction Details:

The bottle sold at the auction was not only notable for its content but also for its condition. It was the first bottle to be reconditioned by The Macallan distillery, a process that involved replacing the bottle’s capsule and cork and applying new glue to the label corners, ensuring the bottle was in pristine condition for its new owner.

Flavor Profile:

Sotheby’s head of whisky, Jonny Fowle, told the AFP news agency: “It’s very rich, it’s got a lot of dried fruit as you would expect, a lot of spice, a lot of wood.”

“It’s not a whisky to take lightly. It’s a rich, rich dram, but it is incredible,” Fowle added.

Kirsteen Campbell, Macallan’s Master Whisky Maker, was quoted by ABC news as describing the whisky as having a rich and complex flavor profile, with notes of dark fruits, black cherry compote, sticky dates, and intense sweet antique oak. Additional nuances of dark chocolate, treacle, and ginger were noted, highlighting the whisky’s depth and complexity.

“Dark chocolate, treacle, ginger … the notes go on and on,” she said. “It was a very special moment to experience the opening of this iconic 60 Years Old single malt, first bottled 37 years ago, and I hope the new custodian will enjoy the same privilege.”

Market Impact:

The sale of The Macallan Adami 1926 marks a momentous event in the whisky industry, reflecting the growing interest and investment in rare and aged spirits. It has set a benchmark for future auctions and further solidified The Macallan’s reputation in the world of fine spirits.


The record-breaking sale of The Macallan Adami 1926 is more than just an auction event; it represents the culmination of decades of craftsmanship, a testament to the enduring allure of fine whisky, and a celebration of the rich heritage that The Macallan embodies. This sale will undoubtedly be remembered as a significant moment in the history of whisky collecting.