Macallan auction

Explorers Dwayne Fields FRGS, Karen Darke MBE, Will Copestake and Olly Hicks watch The Intrepid being filled with 32 year old Macallan. Photo: Fah Mai/Rosewin Holdings

Size isn’t everything. But there is some cachet to be had when you’ve got the biggest of something. Especially when that something in question is a 180cm-tall bottle of single malt whisky, filled with 311 litres – or the equivalent of 444 standard bottles – of dram, painstakingly aged for 32 years in The Macallan’s Speyside warehouse. 

And now, that bottle (we’re using that term very loosely) can be yours – if you’ve got a couple of million bucks lying around.

The Intrepid, as the bottle’s been dubbed, will go under the hammer online on May 25, courtesy of international auction house Lyon & Turnbull. There, they’re hoping the bottle won’t only be the biggest on the planet – as certified by Guinness World Records in September last year – but also the most expensive.

Macallan auction
A full stretch for Daniel Monk, founder of The Intrepid, to seal in the 311 litres of 32 year old Macallan single malt. Photo: Fah Mai/Rosewin Holdings

The current record is held by another Macallan label, The Macallan 1926 60-year-old Scotch – which sold for US$1.9 million (S$2.6 million) at a Sotheby’s auction in 2019. 

And seeing as how that’s just a regular sized (if ultra-rare) bottle, it stands to reason that The Intrepid has a reasonable chance of topping that figure.

According to Lyon & Turnbull, a quarter of any sales above the £1.3 million (S$2.2 million) target will be donated to the Marie Curie charity, which provides care to people living with a terminal illness. 

The Intrepid, which was created in partnership between investment firms Fah Mai Holdings Group and Rosewin Holdings, is named in homage to 11 of the world’s foremost explorers, including the likes of Sir Ranulph Fiennes, a Brit who was the first to cross Antarctica on foot, and Dr Geoff Wilson, another celebrated polar explorer who hails from Australia. These luminaries, naturally, are featured on the bottle label.

Photo: Macallan

The remaining whisky from the two sister casks it was matured in will be split among a dozen other 50cl bottles – one, a replica of the main bottle design, and the others with individual designs dedicated to each of the 11 explorers – that will also be put up for auction alongside the 311-litre mammoth.

All of these were bottled by Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky, one of Scotland’s leading independent whisky bottlers.

As for how it tastes? According to the auction house, the whisky in The Intrepid is smooth-textured and sweet, with white pepper in its lengthy, warming finish with an aftertaste of French apple tart. Now we wonder: does one technically pay a standard corkage fee when you arrive hefting this bottle?

(Related: The Reach 81 Years Old is The Macallan’s oldest single malt whisky)