The Macallan The Reach, $228,000

Strange times we’re living in. Not only is this the BCLDB selling a single bottle of whisky for more than a quarter-million dollars, there’s a chance that entering the lottery for a chance to purchase said bottle might be the savviest financial move you’ll make all year. And please lift your jaw and hear me out.

Yes, we’re technically talking about whisky here, but what we’re really talking about is commodities. In the way that a $100,000,000 Mark Rothko painting isn’t about loving abstract expressionism, so this bottle of The Macallan is not really about loving Scotch. I (obviously) haven’t tried this spirit, but I’m far from alone in my skepticism about the benefits so-called ultra-aging imparts on a whisky. It comes down to where is the point that the oak tannins transferred from the barrel simply overwhelm what’s inside? I was once at a very exclusive tasting from a very famous distillery (not The Macallan) where the notable participants were given the chance to taste their 30-, 40- and 50-year old whisky. While we all oohed and aahed at the rarity of the oldest whisky, afterwords in the bar we almost all agreed that we enjoyed the 30-year old the most. To be fair, The Macallan subscribes to the idea that their spirit has a unique ability to work in harmony with the barrel and, to be fair they do have a track record of producing spectacular aged whiskies. And this is the oldest whisky in the world, distilled during WW2 and limited to 288 bottles, and presented in a very fancy decanter.

What I do know is that the market for such whiskies is on fire. When I first saw the price for this bottle, I was taken aback—I recalled a few bottles trading hands for $125,000 USD at the start of 2022, so even with the currency conversion, it seems like the price being asked here is aggressive. But then I noticed the most recent price note from a Sotheby’s auction in October…300,000…pounds. Yes. That’s $502,930,00. Yes, it was for charity, but still.  That’s a $270,000+ premium to this bottle, which is identical in every way.

The draw is this Thursday at 39th and Cambie at 7 p.m. Your entry can be done that day between 4-7pm (full details are here). And if you’re less into investing in whisky and more into drinking it, there’s a number of rare but accessible-to-mere-mortals bottles that will be available as well, including the Sherry Oak 18 year-old, which at $625 is one of the great sipping drams in the world (and it’s also on a one bottle per customer allocation). The second edition of the well-regarded Harmony Collection will also be on offer (and its $241 price tag seems laughably low in comparison).

Regardless, it will be a historic night. Someone will pay more than anyone has paid for a single bottle of spirits in the history of this country—and they may also have made one of the savviest investments at the same time.