Whisky tipped to become world’s most expensive bottle when auctioned

Laura Paterson, PA Scotland
·3-min read

One of the world’s most sought-after whiskies is predicted to become the most expensive bottle ever sold when it is auctioned next month.

The Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare 60 Year Old is one of only 14 of its kind in existence and is expected to beat the current world record hammer price of £1.2 million, which is held by the same bottling.

The rare bottle leads the sale of the second half of one the world’s largest private whisky collection to go under the hammer.

Amassed over decades by former PepsiCo bottling magnate Richard Gooding, the first part of the collection – more than 1,900 bottles – made more than £3.2 million when it was auctioned online last year.

The rest – again more than 1,900 lots – was due to go on sale last April but seller Whisky Auctioneer was hit by a cyber attack, which Police Scotland are still investigating.

Whisky Auctioneer founder Iain McClune said no data was compromised and the issues have been resolved.

Richard Gooding whisky collection sale
Richard Gooding’s collection comprises more than 3,900 bottles (Peter Dibden/Whisky Auctioneer/PA)

Whisky lovers will now get the chance to bid for what is described as the drink’s “pinnacle” bottle in an online auction in February.

The 10-day auction opens on February 12 and bids are expected from many of the 65 countries in which the Perth-based online auctioneer has customers.

Mr McClune said: “The 1926 has only been at auction once in recent years and at that time it broke the world record for the most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold, and we’re hoping that will happen again.

“The second part of the collection we expect to sell for several million pounds. It’s a fantastic opportunity, the collection covers so many iconic, scarce and high-value bottles.

“We’ve got whisky dating back to 1921 – 100 years ago – and others from closed distilleries in Scotland that have rarely been seen before at auction.”

Angus MacRaild, an expert on old and rare whiskies, said: “There’s never been a collection of this volume, breadth and scale that has come up for auction ever. It’s really quite an unexpected thing to happen in the whisky world.

“There’s a good chance the Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare will break the world record for the most expensive whisky sold. For completists, particularly of Macallan, it’s the pinnacle bottle.

“There’s lots of other bottles in the collection as well which will break individual records for their particular bottlings.”

Mr MacRaild said among the bottles on offer is what he considers to be one of the greatest ever – a 12-year-old Largiemeanoch from Bowmore Distillery on Islay.

Richard Gooding whisky collection sale
American Richard Gooding built up his collection over decades (Whisky Auctioneer/Spey/PA)

“Having tasted it myself it’s one of the most exquisite examples of Scotch whisky ever bottled and a good illustration of the kind of taste Mr Gooding had,” he said.

“His collection is a real liquid library of bottled history, something I’ve not seen the like of.”

He said there are lots of bottles on offer which will not “break the bank”, being expected to fetch from £200 to £1,000 – but will interest people looking to drink rare whiskies.

He added: “The breadth and depth of the collection really reflects the personality of Mr Gooding. He was first and foremost a whisky drinker.”

Mr Gooding regularly travelled from his home in the US to Scotland with his pilot to source special bottles at auctions and distilleries before his death in 2014.

During the first phase of the sale, Whisky Auctioneer became the first site to sell a million-dollar bottle, with several other lots achieving hammer price world records.