Scottish whisky fetches record price at Swedish auction

1:48 min

A rare bottle of Scottish single malt whisky fetched a record price for a  fine wines and spirits auction in Sweden on Thursday. The retired married Swedish couple in their 80s that had the 1928 distilled Macallan in their cellar, had no idea of its value and were shocked when it went for SEK 216,000.

"They would have received 20 percent more if the wife had not removed the wooden leather strap presentation box it came in along with a certificate. She thought it was clunky and took up too much space in the house. So she threw them away many years ago. If she had kept the presentation case and certificate, the bottle would have fetched 15 to 20 percent more," says Sören Nylund, head of valuations for fine wines and spirits auctions at Systembolaget. 

The couple were given the single malt whisky in the late 80s and had no idea of its value until they emailed Sören Nylund.

"They asked me if there was any value in some bottles they had in the cellar. I rang them up and the wife answered. I said 'are you sitting down'. When I told her how much it was worth, there was silence and then she screamed," he tells Radio Sweden.   

The whisky was distilled between 1926 and 1928 by Macallan, in the Scottish Highlands, and only 500 bottles were produced in 1983. It's one of the most sought after single malt's in the World, according to Sören Nylund.

"It's a very special bottle of single malt. It is marked as 50 years old and it's widely regarded as one of the most appreciated bottles of whisky of single malt in Scotland, composed of just three single casks, distilled between 1926 and 1928. It has 38.6 percent volume, and very few bottles were released. Its reputation has grown over the years into one of the greatest bottles ever filled and there are very few people who have tasted it. It is one of the most sought after bottles out there."

But with it costing so much, will the buyer, who is Swedish and lives in Switzerland, drink it, or leave it as a prized possession on a shelf?

"It would be a shame if this bottle was never opened because in the end, all liquids meet a destiny. Over the years, the quality will disappear if it stays in the bottle too long. I really hope it is opened for a special occasion," says Sören Nylund.

The auction price of SEK 216,000 beats the previous record, also set by a single malt from the distinct malt producing town of Campbeltown in Scotland, which went for SEK 150,000.

The auctions in fine wines and spirits have been running since 2004 and the traditional hammer auctions made way to online auctions in 2011.