Set At Bonhams Hong Kong

Hong Kong – Bonhams Fine and Rare Wine and Whisky auction on 18 May in Hong Kong made history by setting new world auction records for any whisky sold at auction with the sale of two of the rarest vintage Macallan bottles.

Unseen in public in over three decades, the Macallan Peter Blake-1926-60 Year Old (lot 381) went under the hammer first for HK$7,962,500 (US$1,014,422 / £751,703) to a phone bidder, and the record was further pushed when the Macallan Valerio Adami-1926-60 Year Old (lot 608) later sold for HK$8,636,250 (US$1,100,197 / £814,081) to a bidder in the room, surpassing the original estimate of HK$3,600,000 to HK$4,500,000 each.

"These two bottles are the most significant whiskies ever produced in 20th century and truly presented a once-in-a-generation opportunity for collectors to acquire the Holy Grail of Macallan," commented Daniel Lam, Head of Fine Wine and Whisky, Bonhams Asia, from the auction floor. "Active bidding came in from around the world but we saw new bidders from Southeast Asia including Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia reflecting the growing appetite and appreciation for whisky among Asian collectors and further reinforcing Bonhams market leadership in Hong Kong in the field of Whisky."

The record breaking whisky was bottled in 1986, and Macallan commissioned Peter Blake and Valerio Adami to design labels for very limited editions, to offer as corporate gifts to the distillery's most valued customers. Only 24 bottles–12 of the Blake label and 12 of the Adami label–were ever produced. They are elegantly presented in specially commissioned cabinets or Tantaluses, based on the traditional 'Brass and Glass' distillery spirit safe.

Alongside these bottles, impressive prices were also achieved throughout the auction including the oldest Expression of Karuizawa-1960-52 year old-The Dragon, one of 41 bottles, which went for HK$2,450,000 (US$312,130 / £231,035) (lot 468) against an estimate of HK$1,500,000 to HK$1,800,000–setting a new record for a single bottle of Japanese whisky.

The Hong Kong sale concluded with a robust total of HK$46,619,335 (US$5,938,674 / £4,406,694) with close to 91% sold by lot and 95% sold by value of the 645 lots. All top lots sold for two or three times their estimates, indicating a positive sign for market demand among private collectors in Hong Kong and Asia.

The benchmark of the Macallan-1926-60 year old (Peter Blake and Valerio Adami Labels) was set with the recent sale in April this year of two similar bottles by the Dubai-Airport retailer, Le Clos, for US$600,000 each. Before this, the last known sale taking place at auction was in 2007 where a bottle of the Macallan Valerio Adami-1926-60 year old sold for US$75,000.

The previous auction record for any Single Malt Whisky was last seen in 2014 in Hong Kong with the sale of the Macallan 6-liter "M" Decanter by Lalique, which fetched HK$4.9 million.

Upcoming auctions at Bonhams include Fine and Rare Wines on 24 May in London (; Whisky on 6 June in Edinburgh (; and, Fine and Rare Wines on 8 June in San Francisco (


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewelry. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit


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