Rare bottle of whisky expected to fetch up to $1.4 million

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. liquor / ˈlɪk ər / (n.) – a strong alcoholic drink, such as vodka and whisky

    He likes different kinds of liquor, but his favorite is brandy.

  2. mature / məˈtyʊər / (v.) – (of food) to continue to develop for a long time until the ideal state or taste is reached

    The cheese matured for six months, which explains its very rich flavor.

  3. cask / kæsk / (n.) – a round wooden container used to hold liquid

    The grape farmer leaves the wine to process in casks until it is ready for drinking.

  4. vintage / ˈvɪn tɪdʒ / (n.) – the wine made in a particular year, usually having a high quality

    The wine store has a wide variety of vintages you can choose from.

  5. trailblazer / ˈtreɪlˌbleɪ zər / (n.) – something or someone that leads the way for new ideas or developments in a particular field or industry

    The invention of smartphones is truly a trailblazer. It allows users to connect to anyone all around the world.


Read the text below.

A rare whisky bottle was expected to fetch up to £1.2 million ($1.4 million) at Sotheby’s in November. Only 10 full bottles of this liquor from 1926 remain.

This is a bottle of The Macallan Adami 1926, one of 40 bottles of whisky released in 1986. Matured for 60 years in sherry casks, the bottles were not sold to the public, but to The Macallan’s top clients, according to auction house Sotheby’s.

“This is the Macallan 1926, specifically the Valerio Adami edition, with the label designed by the Italian artist Valerio Adami,” says Jonny Fowle, global head of whisky at Sotheby’s.

“This is one of the oldest vintages ever released from Macallan. At the time, it was the oldest whisky they’d ever released. And the liquid inside is the most valuable whisky in the world.”

In 2019, one of the 40 bottles sold for $1.9 million, breaking the auction record for “any bottle of wine or spirits.”

But what makes this whisky liquid gold?

“It’s something to do with the mixture between the quality, the darkness of the liquid, the old vintage, which is pre-World War II, and the age of it, 60 years old. So, six decades of maturation in 1986, when this was released, was pretty much unheard of. So, it really is a trailblazer in the world of whisky,” says Fowle.

It’s the first bottle to be reconditioned by The Macallan Distillery before an auction.

The Macallan is well-known among whisky amateurs. “It’s a big, bold name,” says Joel Luumi, retail and tasting manager at Milroy’s of Soho, a whisky shop and bar. He says it’s impossible to know what the whisky in The Macallan Adami 1926 tastes like, but buyers can expect the brand’s signature.

Whether or not the buyer will drink the rare bottle or keep it like a prized painting remains to be seen, but Luumi has a piece of advice: “I think whisky is meant to be drunk. It’s enjoyed. We are not here too long. Enjoy your life. Enjoy the product. Something like that (The Macallan Adami 1926) is history in a bottle. So please, please drink it. Tell us what it tastes like.”

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The Macallan Adami 1926 was expected to fetch up to £1.2 million ($1.4 million) at Sotheby’s in November. Do you think this is a fair price for the bottle? Why or why not? Why do you think people would spend this much money for a bottle of whisky (ex. because it is rare, because it’s an investment)? Discuss.
  • The Macallan is such a popular brand among whisky amateurs. In your opinion, does the brand’s reputation influence the value of the bottle? Why or why not? How does a brand’s reputation impact the perceived value of its products (ex. brands with rich history and legacy are more expensive, unknown brands still need to build trust)? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Joel Luumi said that the whisky is history in a bottle that must be drunk and enjoyed. Do you agree with him? If you were to buy this bottle, would you drink it or display it? Why? Discuss.
  • What kind of collectibles are you willing to spend money on (ex. music records, toys)? Would you rather keep those collectibles as displays or use them? Why? Discuss.