Could you have a rare bottle of whisky worth over £800k in your cupboard?

PUBLISHED: 13:00 08 December 2018

A bottle of whisky sold at auction for more than £800,000  Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A bottle of whisky sold at auction for more than £800,000 Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto


A Scottish whisky sold at auction for hundreds of thousands of pounds and there could be more of these bottles out there!

In recent years it has been very fashionable to invest in whisky, not just in this country but abroad as well. Scottish whisky is held in very high regard by many people all over the world, especially malt, although we have been producing whisky in Norfolk in recent years, I think we have only just started to make our own malt. Certainly it is the Scottish islands that produce some very high quality malt, which going back, 20, 30, 40, 50, even 60 years, can command high prices if they are in good condition, especially if they are from the more sought after distilleries.

Why do people buy rare and elusive bottles of liquor? Because it is almost certain that it will never, ever be drunk, and I think it is akin to the ‘genie in the bottle’. Whilst you have it sealed, in original condition, with little or no damage, the ‘genie’ is safe inside, but once you open the bottle and you drink some of it, the ‘genie’ and the whisky evaporates very quickly, and all is lost for ever. So, it is rather a fairytale situation in that you either leave it unopened or enjoy it. Perhaps you can still enjoy it whilst it still has the cork in place but, as if to prove a point, earlier this year a bottle of 1926 malt whisky was sold in Scotland, which had everything going for it because it was produced by the brewery of Macallan; probably the most famous Speyside distillers in Scotland. This product was probably their flagship item.

In 1926, the label was conceived by two very well-known artists: a British man named Peter Blake, who was known for co-designing the sleeve for the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Clubs Band- his labels featured on just 12 bottles. Also an Italian artist/designer, Valerio Adami, who is now aged over 80. He is famous for painting forms outlined in thick black lines, in the same manner as that of comic art, but his work on a bottle is rare. Originally, Macallan’s produced 24 bottles in a very limited edition.

It is considered that the bottle bearing the Adami label was the holy grail of whisky collectors, therefore, there was great excitement when this specimen came up for auction. It was eventually sold in Edinburgh to an unknown buyer (thought to be Middle Eastern) and the sale itself produced a figure that has become a world record.

Of the 12 bottles that were originally produced, it is not known how many of Adami’s still exist. One is said to have been destroyed in an earthquake in Asia around 2010 and there seems to be at least one, somewhere in the world, that has been opened and drunk. The vendor of the bottle sold recently was bought by him from the Macallan distillery in around 1994 but it had come to a point where he had decided to sell it.

For those of you who may have a bottle of this tucked in the cupboard, I would suggest that you handle it extremely carefully, because the bottle sold for over £848,000 and although anybody who can afford to spend nearly a million pounds on a bottle of whisky could probably afford to drink it - should he dare to do so.

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