The Macallan has commissioned artist Sir Peter Blake to design a set of limited edition labels for part of its new single cask range.
These will adorn 13 bottles of its new ‘Anecdotes of Ages’ collection of 1967 vintage single malt; 1967 being the same year the pop artist designed the album cover for The Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’.
A bottle with one of the limited edition labels will be offered by Sotheby’s in New York on 13 March.
Such is the popularity of old Macallan limited edition malts that the valuation has been placed at US$125,000 – US$750,000 (£90,200 – £540,400). The successful bidder will also receive an original print by Blake and a trip to the distillery.
The proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s ‘Diversity, Equity, Access & Inclusion Initiatives’.
With one bottle being sold at auction and The Macallan retaining a bottle for its own collection, the remaining 11 bottles will be available for sale to private clients globally.
Each bottle has its own unique label designed (and signed) by Blake depicting a different aspect of the history of the distillery. The price has not yet been announced for these bottles.
A further 322 bottles, filled with 1967 malt from the same cask called the ‘Down to Work’ edition (after the label of the same name designed by Blake that is being retained by the distillery), are currently available with a reported retail price of £50,000 each.
It is the third collaboration between the pop artist and the distillery. The last project was in 2012, while the first commission in 1986 was of course for the 60-year-old 1926 Macallan bottling which has gone on to break multiple records in recent years.
Both Blake and Italian artist Valerio Adami supplied labels for that bottling run, which ran to just 40 bottles in total. Twenty-four bore the Adami label, 24 the Blake label and one was hand-painted with a depiction of the Easter Elchies house by Michael Dillon.
The remaining 14 bottles were labelled as part of the distillery’s ‘Fine & Rare’ range. Each iteration has gone on to hold the world record for the most expensive whisky ever sold, with the Dillon bottle selling for £1.2 million at a Christie’s sale in November 2018 and one of the Fine & Rare bottles realising £1.5m at Sotheby’s in October 2019.
The fine and rare whisky market has exploded since 2016. In 2020, rare spirits accounted for US$18m (£12.9m), 20% of Sotheby’s total annual wines and spirits revenue. Five years ago, spirits represented less than 2% of the house’s sales.
Last year was also the busiest trading year for spirits (of all types) on the Liv-ex platform so far.