Cask of Whisky Sells for $1.3m

A rare 'forgotten' cask of whisky, bought for $6,300 more than 30 years ago, has sold for over 200 times that price at auction, in a new world record.


Glass containing a small sample of the Macallan 1988 whisky
A sample from the record-breaking whisky cask | Credit: Whisky Hammer

Whisky enthusiasts from around the world placed bids on the 374-litre cask, distilled at The Macallan in 1988. It sold for $1,295,500 (£1,017,000) in the online auction on the Whisky Hammer site. It smashed the existing auction record for a cask, set at $564,000 (£444,000) in 2019.


Located on a 390-acre estate in the Scottish Highlands near Craigellachie, The Macallan distillery was founded in 1824 and was one of the first Scottish distilleries to be legally licensed and, today, Macallan is recognised as the most sought-after whisky for collectors.


This particular 374-litre cask, originally filled on May 5 1988, had been held in bond at the Macallan Distillery for almost 34 years.


It was bought on a whim by an expat who then forgot about it for more than three decades until reminded by Macallan that it was still maturing in the warehouse.


Daniel Milne, co-founder and managing director of Whisky Hammer, said: 'When this cask was listed in our auction, we knew it had the potential to make history. To come across a cask of this age, quality and size is extraordinary in itself, enhanced by the fact the liquid was distilled at The Macallan which is reflected in the global attention the cask has attracted.'


'It's been incredibly exciting for everyone at Whisky Hammer to have represented what has become the most expensive cask ever to be sold at auction.'


The cask was bought by a private individual based in the US.


If bottled today, it would yield 534 x 70cl bottles of single malt whisky. That equates to $2,426 per bottle.


In case you're wondering whisky or whiskey, it's generally spelled whiskey - with an e - in the United States and Ireland. It's spelled whisky - without the e - in Scotland and Canada. Similar variations apply for spelled and spelt!