The Ultimate Whisky Collection II, The Macallan Red Collection And More

Live Auction: 31 October 2020 • 10:00 AM GMT • London
The Ultimate Whisky Collection II, The Macallan Red Collection And More 31 October 2020 • 10:00 AM GMT • London

W e continue our Sotheby’s Wine 2020 Autumn Sale season with our largest spirits auction of the year so far. The sale comprises a range of lots, from our partnership with The Macallan Distillery on The Red Collection, through The Ultimate Whisky Collection Part II and onto our Various Owner Collections of Whisky, Chartreuse and Cognac.

This sale also marks Sotheby’s inaugural annual Halloween spirit’s sale. It is very fitting to begin this Halloween auction with the deep, brooding red motif featured in Javi Aznarez’s signed illustrations on The Macallan’s Red Collection labels. This unique event also marks our third charity-related partnership with The Macallan in recent years, following record-breaking prices for The Macallan M Constantine and The Macallan in Lalique Legacy Collection in Hong Kong. We look forward to continuing this success with the sale of The Red Collection, the proceeds of which will benefit City Harvest London, which has enabled quality surplus food to be redistributed for free to those unable to access food during COVID, providing support for vulnerable people across the city.

It is an honour to continue the sale with the second part of The Ultimate Whisky Collection. The success of Part I of this collection is highlighted by the number of records it set and that still stand today. This sale was the first to be offered on Sotheby’s current auction platform which allows clients to bid online in advance of the sale’s live close.

The various collections that have contributed to building this auction speak volumes of the diversity of today’s whisky market. We look forward to welcoming you to New Bond Street in person or via the telephone and the Sotheby’s online bidding platform to participate in the momentous auction.


The Macallan Red Collection

The Red Collection from The Macallan Distillery is a future-classic collection of aged single malts from The Macallan Distillery. The complete set of six whiskies is anchored by The Macallan 40 Years Old, The Macallan 50 Years Old and The Macallan 60 Years Old, which are joined by two further highly aged bottles at 71 Years Old and 74 Years Old. The 6th and final bottle in this collection has been matured for 78 Years, making it not only the oldest bottle released from The Macallan Distillery, but the oldest age statement whisky ever offered at auction.

The extremely rare set of The Red Collection that will be auctioned at Sotheby’s differs from the standard release and can be identified by its exclusive labels, which are illustrated and signed by artist Javi Aznarez. Only two sets contain these labels: Set #1 will remain in The Macallan’s archives and #2, which is on offer in this, the inaugural Sotheby’s Halloween Spirits Sale. This collection will be auctioned to benefit City Harvest London, a charity who redistributes surplus from the food industry to vulnerable people across London.

Inspired by the significance of the colour red throughout the history of the brand, The Red Collection captures The Macallan’s deep respect for tradition and craftsmanship. Distilled decades ago, in The Macallan’s signature copper stills, each expression in the collection has been matured in the distillery’s oak casks under the watchful eye of several generations of whisky makers. Over time, they developed into extraordinarily elegant aged whiskies.

The colour red has deep and long-standing significance for The Macallan, beginning with Alexander Reid, the farmer and teacher who founded The Macallan in 1824, whose surname means ‘the red one’ in Scots and was originally associated with red hair. In 1903, owner Roderick Kemp launched The Macallan Choice Old range, which was reportedly shipped in cases labelled with distinctive red print to distinguish it from The Macallan’s existing whiskies, which featured black labelling. Almost eight decades later, in 1980, red was to feature strongly in the release of The Macallan’s then oldest vintages, dated 1938, 1940 and 1950. Allan Shiach, chairman of The Macallan at that time, tied a red ribbon around the sought-after bottlings to denote their age and value.

These three characters are featured in an animated film created to introduce The Red Collection in collaboration with Javi Aznarez, acclaimed for his striking graphic art which has featured in several films, including director Wes Anderson’s forthcoming feature, The French Dispatch. The animation is set to music recorded by Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, one of the most sought-after classical musicians of her generation.

Each bottle in The Red Collection is encased in a hand-crafted oak presentation box created from the same sustainable European oak used to craft The Macallan’s oak casks. These boxes are beautifully upholstered with sustainably sourced soft red leather from Scottish supplier Bridge of Weir Leather, which creates upholstery for leading luxury car brands across the globe. In addition, this lot is being sold with a unique, bespoke hexagonal display table exclusively available from Sotheby’s as part of this lot.

Three of the bottles in the collection are also hand-signed by Kirsteen Campbell, who was appointed Master Whisky Maker at The Macallan in 2019 – the first woman to occupy the role in the history of the brand. The remaining three bottles – The Macallan 71 Years Old, The Macallan 74 Years Old and The Macallan 78 Years Old – are hand-signed by Sarah Burgess, Lead Whisky Maker for The Macallan.

The Macallan Red Collection Tasting Notes

City Harvest London

City Harvest helps put surplus food to good use in a sustainable way, by distributing 170,000 meals a week to over 300 London organisations that feed the hungry. To date, we have delivered 13 million meals. We have grown in line with London's need over lockdown - but the situation is currently only getting worse and we need your help to keep our vans rolling.

Food waste and food poverty are two of the biggest issues facing society.

In London, one of the wealthiest cities in the world, more than 25% of the population faces food insecurity and 1 in 6 children face food poverty. Monthly, an estimated 9 million meals are missed by Londoners experiencing food poverty. At the same time, surplus food from manufacturers, retailers, restaurants and the hospitality industry that could create 13 million meals instead sent to landfill, serving as a major contributor to climate change2.

City Harvest introduced high impact “last mile” food rescue in London.

City Harvest offers a simple solution, connecting waste and want safely, reliably, and efficiently. We help put surplus food to good use in a sustainable way by distributing to organisations that nourish London’s vulnerable men, women, and children. City Harvest is the largest London-based food redistribution charity delivering over 40 tonnes of food each week, free of charge, to community food programs that feed the homeless, children's centres, mental health centres, hostels, street teams, community groups, women's refuges, refugees, and the elderly.

The Ultimate Whisky Collection Part II


Throughout 2019 the Sotheby’s Spirits team set to work on bringing this collection to auction and it brought with it a number of firsts for Sotheby’s Wine. It was our first single-owner spirits sale, our first live dedicated spirits auction and the first auction to use our online-to-live bidding format. It was also our first collaboration with RM Sotheby’s, with the auction being held amongst a plethora of blue-chip cars in Kensington Olympia.






This collection went on to achieve incredible success, setting the record for the most valuable collection ever to be sold at auction and smashing the record for the highest value ever achieved for a single bottle auction when The Macallan 1926 sold for £1,452,000. This collection went on to set distillery records for Bowmore, Brora and Glenfiddich and Springbank with 100% of the lots sold.






The second part of this superlative collection contains a number of rare gems, with whiskies aged in excess of 50 year from The Macallan, Bowmore, Glenfiddich and The Dalmore, and exquisite independent bottles from Silvano Samaroli.


It is an honour to be able to bring incredible collection to auction once more and share such rare bottles with collectors worldwide.
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