Why A Long-Lost Cask Of Macallan Scotch Just Sold For $1.3 Million

Talk about a long-game investment. An anonymous American who bought a cask of Macallan Scotch way back in 1988 just sold it at auction for almost a $1.3 million profit. Originally, the buyer paid a "mere" $6,275 (in today's dollars) for the cask of obviously high-end Scotch, which just sold for $1,295,500 by way of the auction site Whisky Hammer, according to Food & Wine.

Apparently, the buyer had forgotten about their initial purchase and only remembered when Macallan gently reminded them decades later. The buyer realized they were sitting on a liquid gold mine, which led to the auction. In fact, it now holds the record for "most expensive whisky cask ever sold at auction." The cask holds 374 liters in total, which translates to more than 500 700-milliliter bottles. If bottled, Food & Wine says, each unit would be slapped with a price of $2,426. Whisky Hammer says that it's "extraordinary" to "come across a cask of this age, quality, and size." An extraordinary price for an extraordinary cask, apparently!

Why is old Scotch worth so much?

There are a few legitimate reasons that aged Scotch is able to fetch such a high price tag. According to Insider, one of the main culprits is "Angel's Share," which is the gradual evaporation of the spirit. This is a natural process, which leads to less whisky in the cask than in the early days, post-distilling. As a result, it's harder to find old whisky because so much of it goes up in smoke, so to speak. Think of it as the principle of supply and demand, in alcoholic form.

Also, the taste of Scotch is smoother the older it is, making it more enjoyable. This is because the barrel's wood helps soften and round out the flavors of the spirit, rendering it more pleasing to the palate. Another factor, says BlackTail NYC, is that costs add up if a distillery is paying to store the product without reaping any profit. So, once it comes time to sell, they have to make up the difference. If only all types of aging were as valued!