Auction of Sunflower Moutai along with 78 Years Macallan at Sotheby’s

Premium auction house Sotheby’s is offering its most valuable Moutai lot to date, along with rare Japanese and Scotch whiskies.


The bidding opened on 2 June, leading the sale with 24 bottles of Chinese baijiu producer Kweichow Moutai’s Sunflower 1974. It is the priciest Moutai collection that Sotheby’s has offered to date, and also the first Moutai lot that Sotheby’s has auctioned in the UK.


In terms of premium whisky, The Macallan’s 78 Year Old from The Red Collection, claiming to be the oldest age statement whisky ever released by the maker, was finally asked at £68,750. Whereas, Kweichow Moutai’s Sunflower 1974 was finally auctioned at a last price of £1,000,000.


The lot includes 24 bottles of 1974 "Sun Flower" Kweichow Moutai housed within an original wooden case. The case was sealed shut with the original nails from when it was first shipped. The shipping crate is stenciled with Kweichow Moutai's branding and inside contains 24 individual compartments within which each of the 24 bottles are housed, Italian tax strip labels over capsules, general wear to bottles.


“Sun Flower” Moutai holds a unique place not just in Moutai distillery’s history, but also in that of China’s. The “Sun Flower” replaced “Flying Fairy” for the export branding during the cultural revolution. The “Flying Fairy” logo, originating from the Maogao cave drawings in Dunhuang, was categorized as one of the “four olds” and thus, deemed inappropriate to be continued to be featured on Moutai bottles.


“Sun Flower" Moutai was first introduced in 1969, with the last batch coming out into the market around 1983. According to official records, 1974’s production for the export market is only 36.2 tons, compared with its total production of 664.5 tons, which makes it highly sought after.