The Macallan Just Auctioned a Single Bottle of Scotch for $250K
The Macallan is much more than mere Scotch. It’s a brand that helped enshrine the 21st-century status of single malt as an elite luxury good. Its stills are responsible for some of the most sought-after whiskies on the planet. And whenever an especially rare expression of these liquids hits the auction block, it’s a recipe for record-setting pricing. The latest example comes from Sotheby’s in New York. Last week, the auction house put up a one-of-a-kind bottling from the celebrated Speyside producer. When the hammer dropped, it nabbed a cool $250,000 from a private buyer in Asia.
What makes a whisky worth a quarter of a million dollars? Well, we can’t tell you, precisely. Not from a flavor perspective, anyhow. The lot in question contains a sealed bottle of Distil Your World New York Cask Edition. It’s one of only two in existence; the other will be locked away forevermore in The Macallan archive…purely for reference purposes.
Thankfully, we do have some of our own reference points. Back in March 2022, The Macallan unveiled a slightly more accessible version of Distil Your World, a series designed to pay homage to iconic cities across the globe. The New York version was conceived by whisky maker Polly Logan (along with the Roca brothers, owners of El Celler de Can Roca in Giron, Spain) to reflect the quintessential tastes of its namesake metropolis.
According to them, New York City’s “thriving street food scene was a source of great inspiration.” Though there’s no big apple top note to speak of, you will encounter confectionary delights, including candied pecans and peanut brittle. If that sort of sipping experience calls to you, you’ll be happy to note you can still purchase a bottle of the more pedestrian Distil Your World New York at just $23,700.
But, as Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s head of whisky and spirits, notes, the one at auction last week “is single cask and cask strength and nobody will ever be able to buy it again.”
In addition to exclusivity and a higher proof point (110 versus 99 for the original), the lucky buyer also gets to enjoy a sense of altruism: Proceeds of the sale benefited ChaShaMa, a non-profit arts organization based in NYC that transforms unused real estate into affordable art studios and presentation galleries. A happy day for them, too, because the bottle’s final price nearly tripled its pre-sale estimate.
“The result is extremely strong and shows that unique liquid in unique packaging elevates whisky from a commodity item to a work of art,” adds Fowle. “And when the whisky has ‘The Macallan’ logo on it, this only increases its desirability for collectors.”
The bright blue box housing the liquid features an engraved aerial map of Manhattan along with a booklet signed by the folks who made it. The $250,000 spend also includes a complimentary dining experience at El Celler de Can Roca for the collector and up to three guests. Hopefully it’s all you can eat.
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