It’s not the first time the Macallan “Fine and Rare” collection has made headlines. Last October, at a whisky-focused Sotheby’s sale in London, a coveted Macallan “Fine and Rare” 60 Year Old 1926 sold for a whopping $1.9 million.
As a follow-up to that unprecedented sale—which set a world record for any spirits auction, ever—Sotheby’s has opened Distilled, an online-only auction that features, among many covetable spirits, 38 Macallan bottles spanning much of the 20th century.
The anchoring collection on auction comes courtesy of Wing Hop Fung, the venerable Los Angeles-area grocery chain known for its fine wines and spirits. In 2005, Wing Hop Fung owner Dayton Ong purchased 30 different “Fine and Rare” bottles directly from the 196-year-old Scottish distillery. In doing so they became, at the time, the only retailer on the continent to possess the entire range of “Fine and Rare” whiskies.
New releases have been added to the series since then, but the Wing Hop Fung collection is still significant. These whiskies, distilled between 1937 and 1972, have remained untouched since the initial purchase, resting in storage in the Wing Hop Fung private cellars. Now they are back on the market, down to their original wooden cases.
“Macallan is, undoubtedly, the world’s most collectible whisky,” said Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s spirits specialist, in a press release. “It is only the most savvy and determined of whisky collectors who have been able to build a truly comprehensive collection of ‘Fine and Rare’ bottlings over the years, and it is rare to find one with such provenance [as that from Wing Hop Fung].”
Starting bids for bottles in the Wing Hop Fung set range from $13,000, for a number of whiskies distilled in the 1960s and 70s, to $35,000 for the Macallan “Fine and Rare” 56 Year Old 1945. One of only 152 such bottles produced, it is estimated to fetch up to $50,000.
Though the Wing Hop Fung collection is the star of the show, the Distilled auction includes a range of rare and notable spirits. There are other Macallan bottles on offer, including a 72 Year Old in a custom Lalique crystal decanter—the oldest whisky ever sold by the distiller—with bidding starting at $70,000. A lot comprising seven Bowmore single malt Scotch whiskies, estimated to sell for $140,000 to $220,000, will likely command the highest figure—but asking prices for some bottles, such as a Mongolian Oak-aged Kentucky Bourbon from Old Charter Oak, start in the hundreds.