Raise a glass to what is almost certainly the most expensive drink in the history of the world.
A bottle of Scotch whisky dating back to 1926 has just shattered world records, fetching a staggering $1.9 million at a Sotheby’s auction in London.
That’s more than $100,000 per shot.
The whisky sold for more than three times the price of the most expensive bottle of French wine ever sold, which went under the hammer at Sotheby’s in New York a year ago.
The so-called “Holy Grail” of whiskies with the eye-watering price tag is a bottle of “The Macallan Fine and Rare 60-year-old 1926” single malt. It was distilled in 1926, and aged in casks of “European Oak” for 60 years before being bottled in 1986.
Sotheby’s, the world’s largest auctioneer, said it was the highest price ever paid in public for a bottle of whisky or any other drink. The Guinness World Records could not immediately be reached for comment.
A bottle from the same collection sold for 5,000 British pounds — about $7,500 — in 1987, Sotheby’s said. By that math, the latest auction price, an increase of 29,000% over the intervening 32 years, represents a stock-market-crushing average return of 20% a year.
The bottle was the star of an auction of whiskies, put up for sale by a collector, which fetched just under $10 million in total.
Sotheby’s won’t reveal the identity of the buyer, but said the auction attracted a lot of interest from Asia. Top single malt Scotch whiskies, along with wines from the most famous French châteaux, have proved popular with members of China’s new wealthy elite.
The price shattered the record set a year ago, when a bottle of Macallan sold for $1.1 million at an auction in Edinburgh conducted by the British auctioneers Bonhams.
The prices also leave fine wines in the shade. Last year a single bottle of 1945 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti French wine from Burgundy sold for $588,000, a record price for a bottle of wine.
In recent years, observers have been agog at the boom in high-priced “super luxury” and cult modern bourbons. But compared with the historic Scotches they look like bargains. A bottle of 25-year old Pappy Van Winkle, a cult luxury bourbon, can sell for as much as $25,000. But that will barely buy you one quarter of a single shot of this 1926 Macallan.
Brett Arends is a MarketWatch columnist. Follow him on Twitter @BrettArends.
We Want to Hear from You
This content was originally published here.