World’s oldest whisky sold for €93,000 per bottle in Belgian shop

World’s oldest whisky sold for €93,000 per bottle in Belgian shop
Credit: Natalie Runnerstrom/ Unsplash

Two bottles of the oldest single malt Scotch Whisky in the world, which sat in a barrel for 80 years, have been sold by a local store in West Flanders for €93,000 per bottle.

Just over one month after Martin Coene opened the doors of his brand-new whisky shop Top Malts in Moorsele, he sold two carafes of the Gordon & MacPhail Generations 80 Year whisky from the Glenlivet Distillery in Ballindalloch, Scotland.

“This is the oldest whisky ever made,” Coene told The Brussels Times. “It’s 80 years old, which is the longest whisky has ever sat in a barrel for. That’s why it’s unique.”

The spirit itself was laid down on 3 February 1940, by the firm’s George Urquhart and his father, John, in a bespoke Gordon & MacPhail cask.

Coene explained that it is very rare to keep a whisky in barrels for such a long period of time, as the spirit usually loses 1-2% of its alcohol percentage per year.

“Once that alcohol level is below 40%, you can’t call it whisky anymore,” he said, but that “in the Gordon & MacPhail warehouse, they are able to keep a constant temperature of 12-14°C, so less of the liquid evaporates.”

The floor of the warehouse is made of earth, which keeps the barrels cooler, and “the barrel itself does not breathe much, so, again, less liquid evaporates when kept inside this special cask.”

Coene recently managed to buy two bottles of the spirit – he didn’t disclose the original purchase price – which was bottled into 250 carafes designed by world-renowned Ghanaian-British architect and designer Sir David Adjaye.

The bottle created by architect and designer Sir David Adjaye. Credit: Gordon & MacPhail

After first being revealed by the company one month ago, the whisky was sold at auction and a single bottle fetched $193,000 (around €166,000), establishing a new record for the world’s oldest single malt.

The first decanter of the spirit, including a framed cask end from the original barrel and a lithograph of Adjaye’s design, was auctioned by Sotheby’s Hong Kong on 7 October, the proceeds of which are expected to go to environmental charity Trees for Life, whose mission is to rewild the Caledonian Forest in Scotland.

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