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31 Oct 2020, Edition - 1936, Saturday

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The Holy Grail! World’s most expensive whisky sold for Rs 8.1 crore


Whisky is one thing that gets better with age. But can anyone afford to drink whisky that’s worth over Rs 8 crore? Apparently, yes. One such whisky, 60-year-old the Macallan Valerio Adami 1926, was auctioned for whopping $1.1 million (around Rs 8.1 crore) in Edinburgh, making it the world’s most expensive whisky ever sold in an auction.

Called the “Roll Royce of malts”, the whisky was bought by an Asian collector who took part in the bid for this ‘most-valuable whisky’ over the phone, the auctioneer Bonhams said. Bonhams is one of the world’s largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewellery.

The whisky bottle, also known as the Holy Grail of whisky, is elegantly packed in a specially commissioned cabinet or Tantalus, based on the traditional ‘Brass and Glass’ distillery spirit safe. It was bought by Bonhams from the Macallan distillery for an undisclosed sum in 1994.

So is the bid winner going to drink it? “Obviously, we don’t know what will happen to it, but anyone who can spend around a million pounds for a bottle of whisky could afford to drink it. But it’s an object of beauty in its own right – almost a museum piece,” said Martin Green, whisky specialist at the auctioneer, reported Reuters.

“Such whiskies are collectors’ items because of their rarity and will probably not actually be drunk. Its exceptional rarity and quality puts it in a league of its own, and the world’s most serious whisky collectors will wait patiently for many years for a bottle to come onto the market,” Green added.

The whisky was bottled in 1986. Macallan commissioned two world-famous pop artists – Valerio Adami and Peter Blake – to design labels for a very limited edition of 24 bottles – 12 of the Adami and 12 of the Blake labels. Before this, another bottle of The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 was sold at Bonhams Hong Kong in May this year for a world-record breaking price of Rs 7.7 crore. This is the most ever paid for a bottle of scotch whisky at a public auction. At the same sale, Bonhams also sold a bottle of The Macallan Peter Blake 1926 60-year-old for Rs 7.1 crore.

Valerio Adami was an Italian artist who was famous for painting bold, flatforms outlined in thick, black lines, in a style reminiscent of comic art. He is among the most highly acclaimed of 20th Century Pop Artists.

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