Auction Record for a Bottle of the World’s Oldest Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Scotch Whisky News

Auction Record for a Bottle of the

World’s Oldest Single Malt Scotch Whisky

 Designed by Architect and Designer Sir David Adjaye OBE,

Decanter #1 of Gordon & MacPhail Generations 80-Years-Old

Sells for HK$1.5 Million (US$193,000) at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong

HONG KONG, 7 October 2021 – Today at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, spirited whisky collectors from Asia and beyond competed to lay claim to a bottle of the world’s oldest single malt Scotch whisky – Decanter #1 of the Gordon & Macphail Generations 80-Years-Old, housing spirit from the Glenlivet Distillery originally laid down in 1940 in a bespoke oak cask by whisky creators Gordon & MacPhail. Bidders from across Asia and Europe drove the final sale price to HK$1,500,000 / US$193,000 / £142,000 (est. HK$800,000-1,500,000 / US$100,000-200,000 / £80,000-140,000), establishing an auction record for a bottle of the world’s oldest whisky. The winning bidder was a European private collector, new to Sotheby’s.

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Spirits Specialist, said: “From the moment news broke of the existence of a whisky matured in oak for eighty years, it generated a huge buzz of excitement. For those lucky enough to taste it, myself included, this is an exceptional whisky that not only lingers on the palate but also long after in the mind. As we have seen, exceedingly rare Single Malts are highly coveted, and when collectors are presented with something truly special, they are prepared to go the extra mile.”

To house this most precious of liquids, Gordon & MacPhail commissioned internationally acclaimed architect and designer, Sir David Adjaye OBE to design a unique decanter and oak case around the theme ‘Artistry in Oak’ – a fitting tribute to this landmark moment for the industry, the longest-matured ‘expression’ ever to be released featuring spirit from a Scottish distillery.

The lucky recipient of this special lot will also enjoy a whisky tasting experience for four in London, conducted by Gordon & MacPhail’s Director of Prestige, Stephen Rankin and attended by Sir David Adjaye, in addition to the framed original cask head of Cask 340 which cradled the spirit for eight decades, and a one-of-one signed lithograph of Sir David’s original, concept drawings.

As part of their release of 250 decanters (the remaining 249 decanters will be sold at retail), Gordon & MacPhail is supporting a local charity, Trees for Life whose mission is to rewild the Caledonian forest. Proceeds from the sale of Decanter #1 will be donated to resource the Trees for Life nursery which grows 100,000 rare, native trees, including oaks, from seed each year.

On February 3rd 1940, George Urquhart – from the second generation to own Gordon & MacPhail, founded in 1895 – had the foresight and vision to place into an oak cask a spirit to be enjoyed after his lifetime by future generations. Urquhart passionately believed that each cask needed to be left to reach its full potential, and only when the whisky was deemed ready should it be shared. On 5 February 2020, the decision was taken to bottle the cask’s bounty, which had been nurtured over eight decades by four generations of the Urquhart family.

Previous auction sales for bottles of the oldest whisky ever to be released include The Macallan 78 Year Old and the Gordon & MacPhail Generations 75 Years Old from Mortlach Distillery.

About Sotheby’s Wine

Established in 1744, Sotheby’s is the world’s premier destination for art and luxury.  Sotheby’s promotes access, connoisseurship and preservation of fine art and rare objects through auctions and buy-now channels including private sales, e-commerce and retail. Our trusted global marketplace is supported by an industry-leading technology platform and a network of specialists spanning 40 countries and 50 categories, which include Contemporary Art, Modern and Impressionist Art, Old Masters, Chinese Works of Art, Jewelry, Watches, Wine and Spirits, and Interiors, among many others.

Sotheby’s Wine’s annual worldwide auction sales of wine and spirits totaled an outstanding $92 million in 2020, with over 15,000 lots sold across 41 sales – a nearly 50% increase in the number of auctions held in 2019. Over $60 million of wine and spirits were sold to online bidders in 2020 versus $28 million in 2019, with 85% of all lots offered finding online buyers. Demonstrating continued strength in Asia, Sotheby’s led the market in the region for the third consecutive year, with over 70% of the total bid amount in all Wine and Spirits sales attributed to collectors in Asia.

Sotheby’s Wine’s has had the privilege of auctioning numerous record-breaking wines and spirits in recent years, with 2020 alone witnessing new world auction records for any bottle of Japanese whisky, any bottle of whisky produced by the Dalmore Distillery, as well as any bottle of Cognac. Sotheby’s Wine currently holds the world records for any whisky collection ever sold at auction, any private wine collection ever sold at auction, the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold at auction and the most expensive bottle of spirits ever sold at auction.

Sotheby’s Wine launched its retail business in 2010. With a retail store located in Sotheby’s New York headquarters and e-commerce at, Sotheby’s Wine offers a carefully curated selection of wines from the world’s most prestigious producers and important regions, with prices beginning at $13.95. Expertly assembled by our experienced specialists, the ever-evolving selection is built upon lasting relationships with winemakers from across the globe, with bottles that are ready for immediate consumption, in addition to investment-worthy wines from highly sought-after vintages. Each bottle selected by Sotheby’s specialists must pass the brand’s signature “three-glass” tasting guideline: they must enjoy the wine enough to want to drink three glasses, or the standard amount consumed when sharing a bottle. A second retail location opened in Sotheby’s Hong Kong galleries in 2014.

* Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are net of any fees paid to the purchaser where the purchaser provided an irrevocable bid.

About Gordon & MacPhail Generations Range

For more than 125 years, Gordon & MacPhail has been driven by a simple mission: to create single malt Scotch whisky of exceptional quality. Through four generations of family ownership, the company has matched its own bespoke casks with spirit from over 100 Scottish distilleries. Managing a portfolio of casks is a complex level of expertise which Gordon & MacPhail has honed to fully understand cask maturation matched to different styles of spirit. It is this cask curation that allows Gordon & MacPhail to consistently deliver a range of perfectly matured whiskies. Their expert maturation management creates unique, complex but perfectly balanced single malts found nowhere else. At the very heart of business lies the sample room – an exceptional liquid library spanning more than a century of Scotch whiskies featuring a wide range of age profiles and character. But these exceptional snapshots in time are not heirlooms there to impress, they exist to help inform and shape future decision-making and provide an invaluable guide for generations to come.

The name ‘Generations’ signifies the many decades these whiskies have been left to mature and the four generations of company ownership by the same family. Gordon & MacPhail’s Generations range presents some of the longest-matured single malt Scotch whisky ever to be bottled representing iconic moments of Scotland’s liquid history. Previous ‘Generations’ releases include: Generations 70 Years Old from Mortlach Distillery; Generations 70 Years Old from Glenlivet Distillery; Generations 70 Years Old from Glenlivet Distillery (release two); Generations 75 Years Old from Mortlach Distillery.

About Sir David Adjaye OBE

Sir David Adjaye OBE is an award-winning Ghanaian-British architect known to infuse his artistic sensibilities and ethos for community-driven projects. His ingenious use of materials, bespoke designs and visionary sensibilities have set him apart as one of the leading architects of his generation. In 2000, David founded his own practice, Adjaye Associates, which today operates globally, with studios in Accra, London, and New York taking on projects that span the globe. The firm’s work ranges from private houses, bespoke furniture collections, product design, exhibitions, and temporary pavilions to major arts centres, civic buildings, and master plans. His largest project to date, The National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC opened on the National Mall in Washington DC in 2016 and was named Cultural Event of the Year by The New York Times. In 2017, Adjaye was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and was recognised as one of the 100 most influential people of the year by TIME Magazine. He is the recipient of the 2021 RIBA Royal Gold Medal. Approved personally by Her Majesty the Queen, the Royal Gold Medal is considered one of the highest honours in British architecture for significant contribution to the field internationally. Sir Adjaye is also the recipient of the World Economic Forum’s 27th Annual Crystal Award, which recognises his “leadership in serving communities, cities and the environment.”

About Trees for Life

Founded in 1993, Trees for Life is an award-winning charity with a vision of a revitalised wild forest in the Scottish Highlands, providing space for wildlife to flourish and communities to thrive. “It is our passionate belief that rewilding can help us achieve this vision,” says chief executive, Steve Makeweight. “It enriches the landscapes, wildlife and people who call these places home. Rewilding is about working with nature, natural processes and seeing human activity as part of an intricate system in which everything is connected.” The Gordon & MacPhail partnership with Trees for Life is a commitment to both the wild Caledonian Forest and to future generations. An initial 250 oak trees planted in Glen Affric on behalf of Gordon & MacPhail have the potential to live for more than 500 years, as well as providing a vital seed source, ensuring a lasting legacy for centuries.

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