Online whisky auction of The Perfect Collection breaks records - including an £825,000 bottle of Macallan

A Perthshire based whisky auction site has broken records as it sells the first lot of The Perfect Collection - the largest private collection of whisky ever brought to auction.

Published 19th Feb 2020
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

Whisky history has been made thanks to the first sales from The Perfect Collection, with notable record breaking hammer prices.

Sold by Perthshire-based company, Whisky Auctioneer, the auction saw 1642 bidders from 56 countries around the world taking part.

The highly coveted, valuable and rare Macallan 1926 Valerio Adami 60 Year Old with a hammer price of $1,072,000 (£825,000) broke the current world record of $912,000 set from October 2018.

This sale also creates a landmark moment for the secondary whisky market, with Whisky Auctioneer becoming the first online whisky auction to sell a million dollar bottle.

Bids for the lot came in from across 11 countries, including UK, Germany, Singapore and Australia with the eventual winning bid coming from Europe.

Another record breaking achievement within this auction includes the Macallan 1928 Anniversary Malt 50 Year Old which achieved a hammer price of $119,863 (£92,000) which held a previous record hammer price of $93,819 when it was sold in October 2019.

Highlights from part one of the auction

Perfect Collection
The extremely rare Macallan 1926 Valerio Adami.

Lost distilleries: O.O. Old Orkney Real Liqueur Whisky circa 1930s from Stromness Distillery set a record itself, bidding reached fever point on the last day of the auction with the price jumping from $8,603 (£6,600) to $33,891 (£26,000) with 4 different bidders from UK, Germany, Vietnam and Italy
battling it out in the final moments.

Macallan: An exceptionally large offering of 201 bottles from The Macallan distillery featured, reaching a total hammer price of $2,559,218 (£1,997,000), including revered releases from their Lalique range.

Record breaking hammer prices of note include Macallan 1949 Fine and Rare 52 Year Old #935 achieving a hammer price of $44,328 (£34,000).

The previous hammer price record of $38,529 (£29,670) was set in August 2019. Macallan 1946 Select Reserve 52 Year Old 75cl US Import reached a hammer price of $25,452 (£19,600), the previous record hammer price was $17,531 (£13,500) achieved in April 2019.

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The Macallan 62 Year Old Lalique also set a record hammer price at $70,410 (£54,000) which exceeds the previous record hammer price of $65,194 (£50,000).

Ardbeg: Another bottle of note within the first part of Mr. Gooding’s Perfect Collection is the Ardbeg 1974 Double Barrel 2 x 75cl / US Import which achieved a hammer price of $27,705 (£21,250).

The previous record was $22,164 (£17,000) and sold by in April 2019, one key difference
is that this bottle was a 70cl but gives the closest comparative figure.

What the experts say

Perfect Collection
Picture: Iain McClune, founder of Whisky Auctioneer

Iain McClune, Founder of Whisky Auctioneer said: “We always knew that The Perfect Collection by Mr. Gooding could make whisky history, but with auctions anything can happen.

"Not only was the highest ever sale price for Macallan 1926 Valerio Adami achieved at over a million dollars, Whisky Auctioneer became the first online whisky auction to sell a million dollar bottle, with multiple other lots achieving hammer price world records.

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"All in all the first part of the collection sale achieved $4,277,000 (£3,290,000) of sales over 1,932 bottles.

"Featuring show stopping Macallan bottlings from the Lalique range, astonishingly rare and iconic bottlings including a lost distillery Old Orkney from Stromness Distillery which set a record selling at $33,891 (£26,000) with bidders battling it out in the final moments as well as an Ardbeg 1974 Double Barrel reaching a hammer price of $27,705 (£21,250).

"For me it is the diversity within The Perfect Collection that is perhaps the most exciting aspect. The breadth makes it an opportunity accessible for all.

"The final part of the sale starts on 10th April and contains incredibly desirable and rare bottles such as The Macallan 1926 Fine & Rare and a 1937 Glenfiddich 64 Year Old.

"I would encourage those looking to bid to register to take part in the most exciting online whisky in the world to date.”

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Angus MacRaild, Whisky Expert said: “The results were significant for two key reasons in my mind.

"Firstly the top end hammer prices demonstrated clearly that, not only can the online auction model compete with the traditional auction houses with these kinds of bottles, but in Whisky Auctioneer’s case it demonstrably outperforms them.

"Secondly, and of more interest and relevance to the wider whisky community, the prices were still largely driven by perceived quality of liquid and overall scarcity of each individual bottle.

"Prices were generally high, but hundreds of beautiful, historic and superb old whiskies have found new homes across the world. Some will be kept but most will be opened and enjoyed sooner or later. Something I’m sure Mr Gooding would have wholeheartedly approved of.”

Mr Gooding's passion lay in Scotland, where he would often take trips to distilleries and buy cases of whisky, travelling regularly to islands and the mainland with his pilot in search of special bottles.

By value and volume, his ­collection – which had its own dedicated room in his home known as ‘the pub’ – is the most significant to ever go on public sale, which is why it has been described as The Perfect Collection.

The second part will run from 10th April - 20th April and contains the remaining bottles from The Collection, including The Macallan 1926 Fine & Rare, Glenfiddich 1937 Rare Collection 64 Year Old and The Balvenie 1937 Pure Malt 50 Year Old.

Find the full listing, photos and condition reports, at the Whisky Auctioneer website.

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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