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Oenophiles might spit into their buckets, but there are indeed bottles of malt whisky like this 50-year-old Macallan which can be ranked in price beside the world’s greatest wines.

Macallan is arguably the most collectable distillery because it has turned out bottles of single malt every year since the 1930s. This is quite an achievement considering that no attempt was made to advertise or market single malts in Scotland until the 1960s, and up until the 1980s around 98 per cent of malt whisky went into blends like Johnnie Walker and Chivas Regal.

This 50-year-old Macallan, labelled 006 of 500, was distilled in 1928 and bottled in 1983. It would have appealed to three distinct categories of collector – the consumer, the curator and the investor – when it came to the rostrum at Phillips Edinburgh on August 25. The only possible deterrent to bidding from the former category was its low alcohol volume of 38.5 per cent – quite a drop from the 63.8 per cent strength at which it was originally casked and certainly below the 40 per cent volume of alcohol which a bottle must contain before it can be labelled as whisky.

Nevertheless, an accompanying letter of authenticity from the chairman of Macallan, Allan Shiach, encouraged bidders to contest the bottle to a final hammer price of £4000. Now, how many White and Mackay’s (with IrnBru mixers) could you get for that?