Airport retailer sells two bottles of whisky for a record $1.2 million

Jelisa Castrodale

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No one has ever accused airport retailers of having reasonable prices: just look at the ridiculous numbers printed on your receipt when you buy a Diet Coke and a bag of M&Ms. But Le Clos, a high-end wine and spirit retailer with nine locations scattered throughout Dubai International Airport, takes it to a new extreme. The shop prides itself on its inventory, offering $105 Bordeaux flights and keeping The Macallan Fine and Rare 1937 – a $35,000 scotch whisky – on hand, just in case you’d like to pick it up on your way through Terminal 1.

But if you had your eye on a pair of highly collectable, jaw droppingly expensive bottles of even rarer Macallan, you’re out of luck. Earlier this week, Le Clos hosted an auction featuring two bottles of The Macallan 1926, which sold for a record-setting $1.2 million to a private collector. Scotland’s Daily Record estimates that, at that price, each pour of that whisky costs about $20,660.

According to The Drinks Business, the whisky was bottled in 1926 and aged for 60 years before being released for sale in 1986, at a bargain-by-comparison price of £20,000 each (or about $30,000, based on the exchange rate in 1986). The last time a single bottle of The Macallan 1926 was auctioned, it sold for $75,000.

In addition to being incredibly rare, the bottles’ value was increased because of the labels. Only 40 bottles were ever produced – 12 of them were given to Italian pop artist Valerio Adami, and another 12 were handed over to British artist Sir Peter Blake (the dude who co-designed the iconic cover for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band record). The two creatives designed unique labels for each bottle, making them even more appealing to collectors.

“These represent some of the most exclusive bottles ever produced, making this an iconic sale that will be remembered worldwide for years to come,” Geoff Kirk, The Macallan’s impressively titled Director of Prestige, said in a statement. “It is incredibly rare for The Macallan 1926 to be made available for purchase, and the sale offers whisky connoisseurs the chance to secure historic bottles emblematic of 20th century pop culture.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Le Clos is no stranger to this kind of bank-breaking sales. In 2013, it put a 12-liter Balthazar of Château Margaux 2009 on sale for $195,000, calling it the world’s most expensive red wine in a retail outlet. (And it’s definitely the most expensive wine in an airport terminal). And in 2015, it sold a then-120 year old bottle of Château Lafite 1895 for $17,000.

Yeesh, those M&Ms don’t seem so expensive after all.

Jelisa Castrodale

About Jelisa Castrodale

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