The eyes of whisky collectors around the world are firmly fixed on Perth at the moment.
The Fair City, historically known as the “whisky capital”, is cementing that reputation once again by hosting the sale of perhaps the most expensive whisky ever sold next month.
Hopes for high price
Joe Wilson, head of auction content, told the Tele he was excited to see just how high bids will rise before the hammer falls.
He said: “The market is very strong so we are hoping this will translate into interest from collectors looking at this bottle.
“We are hoping to get over £1m for it.
“The previous record was £1.2m and we are hoping to see something in this region for this bottle.
“This bottle is also a US import so it is a 75cl bottle so there is an extra 5cl in this compared to the previous record-breaker.
“It is also in slightly better condition so it does have a bit more star power.
“Historically towards the late 1970s Glenfiddich was the first to market single malt whisky but Macallan was not far behind and it had an impetus on high-end premium bottles.
“Even as early as this bottle they were positioning themselves as a luxury brand and it now has a reputation for exceptional quality.
“Historically Perth has always been the whisky capital of the area and that reputation is starting to come back now, so this auction is a big deal for Perthshire.
“It is exciting and I am anxious as well – we always get 90% of our bids in the last 10 hours so it is all about waiting to see that play out.”
He added he is expecting the million-pound bottle to be bought by an American or someone in the Far East.
He added: “When approaching prices of this nature you are narrowing the buyer pool significantly.
“We have certain clients who buy with us regularly and we know they have the budget for this but we might get new bidders because of the novelty of it.
“The American and Far Eastern markets are much bigger at the moment but we have shipped to 74 different countries worldwide so it is anyone’s guess where it could go.
“But a betting man would choose the USA of the Far East.”
The Macallan bottle leads the sale of the second half of what is thought to be the world’s largest private whisky collection called ‘The Perfect Collection’, amassed by the late American businessman Richard Gooding.
This auction was initially due to take place in April last year but had to be halted after the auctioneer was hit by a cyber attack, with the sale now running from Friday February 12 until Monday February 22.
Who is Richard Gooding?
The late Richard Gooding was an American businessman and philanthropist who spent two decades collecting whiskies from almost every single Scottish distillery.
He is the former owner and chief executive of PepsiCo and he regularly travelled from his home in Colorado, USA to Scotland to find special bottles in his pursuit to create the ultimate whisky collection.
At his death in 2014 his collection had grown to a library of over 3,900 bottles, mostly single malts, and is thought to be one of the largest and most significant whisky collections to ever go to public auction.
Part one of the auction took place in February last year and fetched a total hammer price of £3.2m with the Perth auctioneer becoming the first online auction house in the world to sell a million-dollar bottle.
Perth auctioneer says he is “honoured” to sell “extraordinary collection”
Iain McClune, founder of Whisky Auctioneer, said his is “honoured and delighted” to be selling such a unique and potentially record-breaking whisky collection.
The Macallan bottle contains liquid distilled nearly a century ago at the height of America’s prohibition and Mr McClune says it is the most coveted bottle of whisky in existence.
He said: “Mr Gooding’s collection is nothing short of extraordinary and we are honoured and delighted to bring it to auction.
“Collectors, investors and whisky lovers alike will have their interest sparked by the truly astonishing array of whiskies on offer.
“Undoubtedly the entire collection is crowned by the incomparable The Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare, a whisky that has in recent years become the pinnacle of whisky collection and for good reason.
“With no more than 14 bottles in existence the rarity of this opportunity cannot be overstated and we anticipate that the battle for this icon of whisky will be a mighty one.”
Whisky expert says the auction will be a “powerful statement” to how iconic Scottish whisky is in 2021
Although the star of next month’s auction will be the Macallan 1926, one whisky expert has said the hundreds of other bottles from Mr Gooding’s collection will prove just how relevant and iconic Scottish whisky is in the 21 century.
Angus MacRaild, an expert on old and rare whisky, said: “The Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare is one of those handful of iconic whisky releases which has accrued such a lofty status that it exists more in relation to fine art these days than other whisky bottlings.
“Its performance at auction will no doubt be a powerful, bellwether statement about just how iconic and culturally relevant Scotch whisky remains in the 21st century.
“Irrespective of where you sit in the whisky world, the chance to see such a bottling come to auction and potentially break price records is undeniably fascinating and exciting.
“The most notable aspects about ‘The Perfect Collection’, for me, are that it offers enthusiasts and drinkers of old style whiskies a treasure trove of opportunities to obtain obscure and very rarely seen independently bottled single malts done solely for the USA market bottlings which are now all but impossible to otherwise obtain.
“But overall, the collection represents who Mr Gooding was as a person, his preferences as a drinker, his quirks and historical fascinations.
“It’s clearly a collection put together by someone who genuinely loved whisky and loved to open, enjoy and share it with friends, as all great collections should be.”
In the February auction there will also be bottles from some of Scotland’s lost distilleries including Dallas Dhu, Port Ellen, Glenugie and Killyloch, including some dating back as far as 1921, and the single one-of-one bottling of The Balvenie Vintage Cask 1961 which was hand-filled and labelled at the distillery two years before the official release in 1999.
Other historical bottles at the auction include a 1924 Royal Brackla 60 Year Old, 1922 vintage Highland malt from Berry Brothers and Rudd and an Old Vatted Glenlivet from the 1930s.