Macallan bottle dubbed 'Holy Grail' of whisky to be auctioned for up to £900,000

The 60-year-old Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 will be up for auction at Bonhams Whisky Sale in Edinburgh on 3 October, with offers expected from £700,000 to £900,000.

Published 15th Aug 2018
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The whisky was bottled in 1986 and makers Macallan commissioned two world-famous pop artists to design labels for 24 limited edition bottle.

Although 12 bottles of The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 were produced, it is not known how many of them still exist.

One is said to have been destroyed in an earthquake in Japan in 2011, and it is believed that at least one of them has been opened and consumed.

Born in 1935, Valerio Adami is an Italian artist famous for painting bold, flat forms outlined in thick, black lines, in a style reminiscent of comic art.

He is among the most highly acclaimed of 20th Century Pop Artists.

The bottle is elegantly presented in a specially commissioned cabinet, based on the traditional 'Brass and Glass' distillery spirit safe.

It was bought by the vendor direct from the Macallan distillery for an undisclosed sum in 1994.

Martin Green, Bonhams Whisky specialist in Edinburgh, said: "The Macallan 1926 60-year-old has been described as the Holy Grail of whisky.

"Its exceptional rarity and quality puts it in a league of its own, and the world's most serious whisky collectors will wait patiently for many years for a bottle to come onto the market.

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"It is a great honour to be offering this amazingly rare whisky at our Edinburgh sale."

Another bottle of The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 was sold at Bonhams Hong

Kong in May this year for a world-record breaking price of £814,081 (HK$8,636,250).

This is the most ever paid for a bottle of Scotch whisky at public auction.

At the same sale, Bonhams also sold a bottle of The Macallan Peter Blake 1926 60 year old for £751,703 (HK$7,962,500).

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The previous auction record of £491,091 (HK$4,900,000) was set in 2014 in Hong

Kong for a six-liter bottle of 60-year-old Macallan in a Lalique decanter.

The renowned international whisky consultant Charles MacLean, who writes about The Macallan Adami 1926 in the latest edition of Bonhams Magazine, added: "Macallan single malt is the darling of whisky collectors.

"The Macallan Adami 1926 - with its Peter Blake stablemate - sits at the very pinnacle of the distillery's distinguished output.

"All the appeal of Scotch whisky - the myth, the tradition and the romance - find its ultimate expression in this bottle."

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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