Auctioned last October for said sum by Sotheby’s during a session featuring the private whisky collection of a single owner, it not only became the most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold, it also contributed to a cool US$10 million total sales that day for the seller.
Break it down and that 700ml bottle of The Macallan costs US$42,000 per 15ml pour. And there’s only 45 of those to give. Which begs the question, if I were looking to put my money somewhere safe, would I simply go ahead and buy some Scottish liquid? As crazy as it sounds, it is probably not a bad idea. The question is, how.
Let’s start with The Macallan since it is likely the most popular single malt whisky in the world and we’ve been talking about it. Former Singapore-born actor and host Randall Tan is now brand ambassador of The Macallan covering the entire Southeast Asia and Pacific regions such as Australia and New Zealand, and he has this to say.
“Asking someone to shell out five or six figures for a bottle of whisky that he is very likely never ever going to taste, it is not for the faint-hearted.”
He adds, “Before throwing down large sums of money for whisky, it is important to do your homework and find out what you’re going for. One good source is to look at auctions to see what collectors are looking for. Auctions are a good place to get them too but plan your bids wisely and go for the labels that you are familiar with and you like.”
While it may be obvious that whisky pricing is determined by market forces, there is good reason why the older the whisky is, the rarer, or more expensive it becomes.
“As the cask ages, the level of liquid drops two to three percent each year so that when you have a say, 72-year-old whisky, the amount available is very limited and may cost, in our case, about US$63,000.”
Apart from buying rare single bottles, some will go for the entire cask. The Macallan Whisky Maker’s Bench, where all the inspiration for the creation of the brand’s single malt resides, used to offer 10 casks a year filled with unique spirits and aged for a minimum of 12 years. Unfortunately, it became over-subscribed and the distillery stopped this offering some three years back.
The idea behind buying by cask is the hope that prices will go up over time with the owner being able to reap a sizeable return to investment. But there are yet others who do this for sentimental reasons.