World’s largest bottle of whisky sells for £1.1m at auction

The 5ft 11in tall bottle of Macallan was bought by an anonymous buyer at Edinburgh-based auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull.

Dan Barker
Wednesday 25 May 2022 17:17
The Intrepid, the world’s largest bottle of whisky, has been sold for more than £1 million (Lyon & Turnbull)
The Intrepid, the world’s largest bottle of whisky, has been sold for more than £1 million (Lyon & Turnbull)

The world’s largest bottle of whisky, containing 311 litres of 32-year-old Macallan single malt, has sold at auction for more than £1 million.

The 5ft 11in tall bottle, called The Intrepid, was bought by an anonymous, international buyer at Edinburgh-based auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull on Wednesday for £1.1 million.

Interest for the bottle, which contains enough whisky to fill 444 standard bottles, came from all over the globe with the buyer snapping it up for the equivalent of almost £92 per dram.

The idea behind the Intrepid came from Daniel Monk, of Fah Mai and Rosewin Holdings, who said it had “always been about more than money”.

A full stretch for Daniel Monk, founder of The Intrepid, to seal in the 311 litres of 32 year old Macallan single malt (Rosewin Holdings)

“This is a passion project to celebrate the life of my late father, Captain Stanley Monk, who was himself an explorer and achieved many amazing things during his life,” he said.

“Today would have been his birthday so it was a perfect date to put The Intrepid up for auction.”

It was named The Intrepid in honour of the drive and achievements of 11 of the world’s most pioneering explorers who are featured on the bottle, its makers said.

These include Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Jamie Ramsay and Karen Darke.

Lyon & Turnbull auctioneer and Managing Director Gavin Strang (Rosewin Holdings)

The makers said the project was supporting the explorers’ chosen environmental, physical and mental well-being charities, which included Marie Curie and the Campaign Against Living Miserably.

Mr Monk said: “The Intrepid project has been an adventure from the start. I wanted to do something positive over lockdown and the whole team has worked extremely hard with me to make it happen.”

He added: “I started contacting explorers during lockdown to get them on board and found people who could make and fill the largest bottle of Scotch whisky and together we have achieved the dream.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in The Intrepid project, which is dedicated to the spirit and experience of exploration and adventure.”

The Intrepid was officially certified by Guinness World Records as the largest when it was bottled last year and, before the auction, it had been hoped it might go for as much as £1.5 million and become the most expensive ever sold.

The Scotch was described by Charles MacLean, one of Scotland’s leading whisky experts and Master of the Quaich, as an “an elegant whisky, with subtle complexity”.

After maturing in two sister casks in Macallan’s Speyside warehouse for 32 years, the exclusive liquid was bottled last year by Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky, one of the leading independent whisky bottling companies.

A small number of sets were also produced, each a collection of 12 bottles, filled with the remaining whisky from the same casks used to fill the record-breaking bottle.

Each set includes a replica of the main bottle design, along with individual versions dedicated to each of the explorers associated with the project, and these were also sold at auction.

Gavin Strang, managing director of Lyon & Turnbull, said it had “attracted so much global interest” and was “delighted the auction has been such a success”.

“It certainly isn’t every day you get to auction a bottle of high-quality, single malt, that also happens to be a record breaker,” he said.

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