Bonhams Fine and Rare Wine and Whisky auction on May 18 in Hong Kong made history by setting new world auction records for any whisky sold at auction with the sale of two of the rarest vintage Macallan bottles.
The auction house stated: “Unseen in public in over three decades, the Macallan Peter Blake-1926-60 Year Old (lot 381) went under the hammer first for HK$7,962,500 (US$1,014,422 / £751,703) to a phone bidder, and the record was further pushed when the Macallan Valerio Adami-1926-60 Year Old (lot 608) later sold for HK$8,636,250 (US$1,100,197 / £814,081) to a bidder in the room, surpassing the original estimate of HK$3,600,000 to HK$4,500,000 each.”
"These two bottles are the most significant whiskies ever produced in 20th century and truly presented a once-in-a-generation opportunity for collectors to acquire the Holy Grail of Macallan," commented Daniel Lam, Head of Fine Wine and Whisky, Bonhams Asia, from the auction floor. "Active bidding came in from around the world but we saw new bidders from Southeast Asia including Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia reflecting the growing appetite and appreciation for whisky among Asian collectors and further reinforcing Bonhams market leadership in Hong Kong in the field of Whisky."
“The record setting whisky was bottled in 1986, and Macallan commissioned Peter Blake and Valerio Adami to design labels for very limited editions corporate gifts to the distillery's most valued customers. Only 24 bottles, out of which 12 were of the Blake label and 12 were of the Adami label, were ever produced. They are elegantly presented in specially commissioned cabinets or Tantaluses, based on the traditional 'Brass and Glass' distillery spirit safe,” says the auction house.
The auction house also reported that along with these bottles, spectacular prices were also achieved throughout the auction including the oldest Expression of Karuizawa-1960-52 year old-The Dragon, one of 41 bottles, which went for HK$2,450,000 (US$312,130 / £231,035) (lot 468) against an estimate of HK$1,500,000 to HK$1,800,000 — setting a new record for a single bottle of Japanese whisky.
The Bonhams Hong Kong sale concluded with a grand total of HK$46,619,335 (US$5,938,674 / £4,406,694), close to 91% sold by lot and 95% sold by value of the 645 lots. All top lots sold for two or three times their estimates, indicating a positive sign for market demand among private collectors in Hong Kong and Asia.