Sotheby’s will auction off what is dubbed to be the world’s oldest single malt whisky from The Macallan this week in London after bidding started on September 27.
The Macallan The Reach 81 Years Old single malt, the oldest whisky expression ever to come to auction, is estimated at £110,000-200,000, and will go under the hammer on October 5.
The decanter is being presented in a special single-lot sale, which will close to prospective bidders on 5 October. Proceeds will raise funds for The Macallan’s recently established Artisan Collective forum, to benefit The Macallan Artisan Apprenticeship Fund, enabling recipient businesses to attract and recruit new apprentices, as well as providing existing artisan apprentices with the opportunity to take part in specialist training and development programs.
Crafted from a single, sherry seasoned oak cask, The Macallan The Reach is encased in a decanter created from mouth-blown, hot glass, cradled on a bronze sculpture of three hands representing characters in The Macallan’s history.
Unveiled in February 2022, this release from the distillery reflects an extraordinary moment in time. The liquid was laid down during a period of increasing hardship during the Second World War, just before The Macallan was compelled to close its doors for the first time in its history.
The cabinet housing the decanter has been crafted using wood from a fallen elm tree which is thought to have been on The Macallan Estate in 1940, the year the spirit was distilled. The decanter itself is encased in a display cabinet lined in red leather – reflecting the red thread that has run through The Macallan’s branding since it was founded almost 200 years ago – rather than the traditional cream leather which features on the original whisky release.
The auction record for a bottle of the world’s oldest whisky was established at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in October 2021, when Decanter #1 of the Gordon & Macphail Generations 80-Years-Old, sold for HK$1,500,000 / US$193,000 / £142,000.
Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Head of Whisky & Spirits, North America and EMEA, said: “Age, rarity and provenance combine to spectacular effect in this one of one version of the oldest single malt whisky ever to be released by The Macallan. This is Sotheby’s third auction partnership with The Macallan in three years, and it is always a special event when we collaborate to launch a unique and exclusive bottle. It is particularly special when that bottle happens to contain the oldest whisky in the world.”
Elizabeth McMillan, Head of Insight & Sustainability at The Macallan, said: “Through The Macallan Artisan Collective, our aim is to support and celebrate artisans…The Reach is testament to the incomparable craftsmanship and creativity that has driven The Macallan since it was founded in 1824, and that is why it’s so fitting that this extraordinary whisky will fund today’s generation of artisans.”
The winning bidder will also enjoy an exceptional distillery experience at The Macallan Estate, including a tasting of this extraordinarily rare 81-year-old single malt whisky.