All $4.8 million worth of booze comes from a single collector.

By Mike Pomranz
September 05, 2019

Question: Have you become insanely wealthy and/or extremely cavalier with your spending in the past few months? If so, that's great news because another record-breaking booze auction has just been announced!

On September 27, Sotheby's will open the bidding on The Ultimate Whisky Collection. That's not just a catchy name: The international auction house is billing this as "the most valuable collection of whisky ever to be offered at auction." When the event concludes with a live auction in London on October 24, Sotheby's anticipates that these 394 lots of 467 bottles and 9 casks will have netted somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.8 million.

Sotheby's

Of course, when the world's most expensive bottle of whisky alone has sold for over $1 million, you'll have a hard time breaking any records without one of those on the auction block. Thankfully for Sotheby's, of course, they have one of these bottles of The Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old ready to go. Granted, it's not one of the 24 bottles adorned with art from either Peter Blake or Valerio Adami, but it is one of the remaining 14 bottles from the same famed "cask #263." Sans aforementioned artwork, the bottle is expected to sell for a mere $430,000 to $555,000.

Speaking of The Macallan, rare whiskies from the Scotch producer make up 196 of the lots for sale. Those lots alone are expected to be worth $2.64 million.

Sotheby's

"These bottles and casks come from an American connoisseur who built an incredible collection of rare Scotch whisky over the last 20 years," explains Jamie Ritchie, chairman of Sotheby's Wine. "It will also mark our first wine or spirits sale to open for online bidding ahead of leading up to a live auction."

Beyond the value, this auction is also historic because its Sotheby's "first single-owner offering of spirits." And though this "Ultimate Collector" was not named in the announcement, he did chime in with some thoughts on his experience.

Sotheby's

"Collecting whisky over these past twenty years has been a real passion of mine, though it was not something I set out to do. I have always loved drinking whisky — as family and friends will attest, to this day I can be found most evenings with a cigar in one hand and a glass in the other — but I was a wine collector first," he was quoted as saying. "I then found myself looking at unique bottles of Scotch, initially attracted by the beauty of the labels. So I started this collection and realized that if I really spent time on it and was selective in my choices, I might be able to put together something significant and unique. Two decades on, I think the collection is at that point where it is indeed unique. Having cherished these bottles, I am now ready to share them with collectors around the world. I hope they find good homes in the hands of whisky lovers who will enjoy the experience as much as I did, both the drinking of them and the sense of history that each of these bottles brings."

It's a pretty amazing story when you think about it. Plus, it begs the question: If he still has $5 million worth of whisky to sell, how much money did he spend on whisky that he drank?! Never mind. I don't want to know.

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