Sotheby's sets new auction record for single malt whisky selling it for US$628,205

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Sotheby's sets new auction record for single malt whisky selling it for US$628,205
The Macallan M Decanter-Constantine, 1 imperial - 6 litre. Estimate: HK$2,000,000 — 4,000,000 (£150,000 – 300,000). Sold for HK$4.9 million / £393,109. A New Auction Record For Single Malt Whisky. Photo: Sotheby's.

HONG KONG.- Sotheby’s Hong Kong kicked off its 2014 wine auction season on Saturday 18th January with the sale of Finest and Rarest Wines and The Macallan. The top lot, The Macallan 6-litre “M” Decanter by Lalique, fetched HK$4.9 million / US$628,205 / £393,109 – soaring past its HK$4 million / US$500,000 / £300,000 high estimate - and Set A New Auction Record For Single Malt Whisky. The previous record was achieved by Sotheby’s New York in 2010 when The Macallan 64-year-old in Lalique Cire Perdue was sold at US$460,000.

The Macallan “M” Decanter is a collaboration between The Macallan, Lalique crystal and Fabien Baron (Founder and Creative Director of Baron & Baron) and was sold to benefit a number of Hong Kong charities. Fabien Baron conceived the distinctive, angular design with its six striking facets, Bob Dalgarno (Whisky Maker at The Macallan) created a unique interpretation of the traditional Macallan house style, and Silvio Denz (President and CEO of Lalique) oversaw the production, drawing on Lalique’s 150 years of crystal experience.

Only four Imperiale “M” Decanters were made, and of the four, two of them were archived by The Macallan and the fourth has been sold privately. The four Imperiales are named after Roman Emperors, and the Constantine Imperiale is the only one signed by the three principals responsible and offered publicly.

The 6-litre “M” decanter is the largest decanter ever made by Lalique and weighs 11.3 kgs empty and 16.8 kgs once filled. The decanter will serve a total of 300 20ml drams. The making of the decanter posed a major technical challenge for Lalique: 40 were created and destroyed due to imperfections before a flawless decanter was completed. Each one took 17 craftsman over 50 hours to complete.

The whisky, the creation of Bob Dalgarno at The Macallan, was drawn from a handful of carefully selected Spanish oak sherry casks at the distillery, dating from the 1940s to the early 1990s. It is a full flavoured example of the classic Macallan house style characterised by a rich natural colour, derived solely from the wood, interwoven with dried fruits, spices, orange citrus and wood notes.

Overall, the sale of Finest and Rarest Wines and The Macallan brought a total of HK$29.4 million / US$3.8 million / £2,359,148 – comfortably beating its HK$25 million / US$3.2 million / £2million high estimate – and a strong sell-through rate of 99.6% by lot. Almost 75% of the lots achieved prices over their high estimates. Online bidding was particularly active, with 12% of the lots sold to internet bidders and one-third of the lots receiving online bids. Impressive prices were achieved for 1982 Bordeaux and mature red Burgundy from top domaines such as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Armand Rousseau.

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