Bonhams to present two record-breaking Macallans in HK

Two rare vintage Macallan whiskies not seen in public for over 30 years will go under hammer at Bonhams’ upcoming auction on 18 May in Hong Kong, with each estimated to achieve more than HK$4 million. If realised, the bottles could become two of the most expensive whiskies ever sold at auction.

60 Years Old 1926 (Peter Blake Label) on the left and the 60 Years Old 1926 (Valerio Adami Label) on the right

The two star headliners – a 60 Year Old 1926 (with Peter Blake Label) and the 60 Year Old 1926 (with Valerio Adami Label) – are estimated to reach HK$3.6 million – 4.6 million (US$460,000 – 586,000) apiece at Bonhams’ Fine and Rare Wine and Whisky sale on 18 May.

This will the first public appearance of the two bottles since they were auctioned over three decades ago in the 1980s, according to the auction house.

The estimate, if realised, would put the bottles close to the Macallan “M”,  the most expensive whisky ever sold at auction, which netted £477,405 at Sothebys Hong Kong in 2014.

“These bottles are incredibly rare. The exceptional calibre of the whisky combined with the wonderful artwork from two towering figures of 20th century Pop Art – Peter Blake and Valerio Adami – represent a unique marriage of excellence,” said Bonhams Head of Fine Wine and Whisky in Hong Kong, Daniel Lam.

He continued: “Only 24 of these bottles were produced, and the sale is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for collectors to acquire the holy grail of Macallan.”

The whiskies were bottled in 1986, and Macallan commissioned Peter Blake and Valerio Adami, two of the most important Pop art artists of 20th century, to design labels for very limited editions as corporate gifts to the distillery’s most valued customers.

Only 24 bottles were produced, 12 with the Blake label and 12 with the Adami label. The bottles were presented in specially commissioned cabinets or ‘Tantaluses’, based on the traditional ‘Brass and Glass’ distillery spirit safe, according to Bonhams.

Blake, Born in 1932 is most popularly known for co-creating the Beatles’ album cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club band in 1967, which was voted by Rolling Stone magazine as the number one album of all time from a list of 500.

Adami, born in 1935 is an Italian artist famous for painting bold, flat forms outlined in thick, black lines, in a style reminiscent of comic art.

For an in-depth account of the state of the rare whisky market, see this month’s issue of the drinks business magazine.

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