An unnamed businessman purchased two bottles of The Macallan 1926 for $1.2 million
Credit: Photo courtesy of Le Clos/PRNewsfoto

An unnamed international businessman and private collector just set a new world record for the most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold with the purchase of two bottles of The Macallan 1926 Scotch for of $1.2 million—$600,000 per 700-milliliter bottle. Technically, that doesn’t quite top the previous record for a “single bottle,” which is still currently held by a bottle of The Macallan M Impériale that sold at auction for $628,000; however, Impériale bottles hold six liters of Scotch, or over 8.5 times more than a standard size bottle, so clearly The Macallan 1926 whiskies are more valuable.

Incredibly, though these sorts of Scotch price records are often set at auctions, these two bottles were bought from Le Clos, a luxury spirits retailer based at, of all places, the Dubai Airport. “At Dubai International, we are focused on working with great partners who are committed to elevating the travel experience,” Eugene Barry, Dubai Airports' EVP Commercial, said in a statement. “One element of that experience is Le Clos's unique product range, combined with the personal knowledge and service their team members offer. We are delighted that this industry record-breaking sale has taken place at our airport.” Man, it puts all your duty-free shop purchase to shame.

But back to the Scotch itself: Beyond containing 92-year-old whisky that was originally aged for 60 years, these bottles are also coveted due to their scarcity and the uniqueness of their artwork. Only 40 bottles were ever produced, then a dozen bottles each were given to two famous artists to create bespoke labels. One set was given to the British artist Sir Peter Blake, probably best known for co-creating the cover to The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; the other batch went to acclaimed 21st century Italian pop artist Valerio Adami. The $1.2 million pair included one bottle from each artist.

Meanwhile, according to Le Clos, when these bottles were first released, in 1986, they originally retailed for about $28,000, and the last known individual bottle sold at Christie’s in 2007 for $75,000. Based on those numbers, $600,000 per bottle just 11 years later would seem like a stretch, but then again, I’ve never even been to the Dubai Airport, so what do I know?