The Macallan The Reach 81 Year Old Auctions at £300,000


October 6, 2022

The Macallan The Reach 81 year

A one-of-a-kind special edition of The Macallan The Reach 81 Years Old single malt, the oldest whisky ever to come to auction, sold for £300,000 ($325,740 U.S.). The price nearly tripled its estimate  of £110,000-£200,000.  

Acquired by a UK private collector, the whisky, which was auctioned at Sotheby’s in London, was presented in a special single-lot sale, with proceeds raising funds for The Macallan’s recently established Artisan Collective forum, to benefit The Macallan Artisan Apprenticeship Fund.

The previous highest price paid at auction for a bottle of the world’s oldest whisky was established at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in October 2021, when Decanter #1 of the Gordon & Macphail Generations 80-Years-Old, sold for £142,000 ($193,000).

“This extraordinary result for the oldest whisky ever to come to auction is thoroughly deserved. One of one versions of special Single Malts are highly coveted, and we saw competitive bids playing out as the sale began to close, pushing the final price ever higher, to nearly three times over estimate,” Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Head of Whisky & Spirits, North America and EMEA, said. “Age, rarity and provenance – once again, the holy trinity for collectors.” 

Crafted from a single, sherry seasoned oak cask, The Macallan The Reach is encased in a decanter created from mouth-blown, hot glass, cradled on a bronze sculpture of three hands representing characters in The Macallan’s history.

Unveiled in February 2022, this release from the distillery reflects an extraordinary moment in time, the liquid laid down during a period of increasing hardship during the Second World War, just before The Macallan was compelled to close its doors for the first time in its history.

The cabinet housing the decanter has been crafted using wood from a fallen elm tree which is thought to have been on The Macallan Estate in 1940, the year the spirit was distilled. The decanter itself is encased in a display cabinet lined in red leather – reflecting the red thread that has run through The Macallan’s branding since it was founded almost 200 years ago – rather than the traditional cream leather which features on the original whisky release. 

Synonymous with age in the whisky world is rarity, since not many barrels in bonded warehouses in Scotland make it to the age of 50 due to the rate of alcohol evaporation. The Macallan The Reach represents the age and quality that the world’s leading spirits collectors look for in ultra-rare whiskies. 

The winning bidder will also enjoy an exceptional distillery experience at The Macallan Estate, including a tasting of this rare 81-year-old single malt whisky.