RICHARD ORD: The particularly expensive spirit of a lost generation

We live in extraordinary times. I know, I read it on the back of a beer mat once.

Thursday, 4th June 2020, 12:00 am
Down in one, erm, million!

Our relationship with alcohol has been brought into sharp focus during this pandemic, but only before we drink. After a drink, nothing’s in sharp focus.

Lockdown has, at last, given the majority of us time to pursue those projects and endeavours we always wanted to accomplish, but just didn’t have the hours in the day to do so.

It might have been learning to play the guitar, writing a novel or sorting that tupperware drawer … you know, the BIG things.

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I achieved one of the three. Anyone out there needing a dozen old plastic Chinese takeaway cartons, I’m your man.

Write a novel? Didn’t even read one.

Obviously, circumstances played their part in thwarting any attempts to better myself.

The main obstacle being the fact that I own a fridge. It cools beer and chills wine. And keeps food refrigerated, apparently, though I’ve never tested that out.

Anyway, what with a fridge full of alcohol calling my name every night, playing the guitar and writing a novel fell, along with me, by the wayside.

I try to distract myself from drink by following the news. This story caught my eye: One of the world’s oldest bottles of Cognac has been sold for £118,580.

Can you believe that? It was sold by Sotheby’s auction house with a spokesman assuring bidders that it should still taste good. Good? At £118,580 I reckon you’d want better than good.

I did some further digging. If a bottle of Cognac, which hardly anyone drinks, can fetch more than £100k, imagine how much a vintage tin of Carlsberg lager would set you back!

Turns out not very much. They only really go for the spirits.

The most expensive drink in the world turns out to be a bottle of single malt whisky, the Macallan 1925. Which was sold last year, for a mammoth £1.5million.

Incredible. I dug further. Which is when it got interesting. That bottle beat the previous record, for another Macallan 1925, sold for £1.2m the previous year.

The bottles are so rare, they cost a fortune. So what the most expensive whisky before those two I hear you ask. A year before that, one sold for more than £800,000. And guess what? It was another Macallan, from 1925.

A cynic would think there’s a ruse going on here. Every 12 months one of these ‘rare’ bottles goes on sale for a fortune.

Southeby’s, naturally, are having none of it. Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s spirits specialist, said the sale “is testament to the quality of the collection.” He couldn’t be further from the truth.

Although just 12 bottles of the Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 were produced, only one of them is believed to have been opened and consumed!

Rather than a testament to quality, it’s a testament to some people having way more money than sense. Stick that on a beer mat.