The writer Raymond Chandler once said, “There is no bad whisky. There are only some whiskys that aren’t as good as others.”
So it stands to reason that if you pay more than $600,000 for a bottle, it’s bound to be good. Unfortunately, at that price, most people will never find out.
Last week, one lucky buyer bought the world record-breaking crystal decanter limited-edition "M" bottle for $628,205 at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong. What made the bottle especially rare, other than its contents and its 6-litre size, was that the large crystal decanter carrying the Macallan whisky took 17 craftsman more than 50 hours to produce, and that they threw away 40 other attempts at making the perfect bottle. In the end, the four best “Constantine” decanters were selected for the bottling of the rare Scotch, according to the French company that made them.
The whisky took two years to select and was blended from a choice of some 200,000 rare sherry cask barrels that ranged in age from 25 to 75 years.
Unlike typical auctions where the bidder pays for age, this sale represented the opportunity to own a rare product, namely the coming together of two luxury brands. An aged single malt of this size would have fetched far more.
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For example, the previous world record was also held by a much smaller Macallan, but instead of an aged blend it was a 64-year-old single malt that went for $460,000 in New York in 2010.