A record-breaking online auction of rare whiskeys has been postponed indefinitely after being targeted in a cyber-attack.
The sale of Richard Gooding’s “The Perfect Collection” was marketed as “the largest and most unprecedented private whiskey collection ever to be offered for public sale”.
The first phase of the auction, consisting of more than 1,900 bottles, fetched more than £3.2m earlier this year.
The second phase of the auction, made up of 1,958 lots, went up on the Whisky Auctioneer website on 10 April.
One of the world’s most sought-after whiskeys, the Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare 60-Year-Old, was expected to fetch more than £1m at the auction.
Bidding was due to close at 7 pm on 20 April, but was postponed for 48 hours, initially attributed to “abnormal excessive loads on the website, which caused some technical issues”.
But a statement on the website of the Perth-based auction firm informed prospective bidders that the sale had been targeted by cybercriminals.
“At approx 22.30 (BST) on 21 April, WhiskyAuctioneer.com experienced a targeted, technologically sophisticated, sustained, and malicious attack on our website and databases,” the statement reads.
“As a precaution, we have been in touch with our valued customers who may have been impacted by this, so please check your inboxes and follow the suggested next steps.
“The website is currently offline whilst we continue to actively investigate this. The auction of The Perfect Collection: Part Two has been postponed indefinitely with further updates on this and future auctions to follow.”
Gooding, from Colorado, whose grandfather started the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Denver in 1936, died in 2014. He had built up the collection for over two decades.
He regularly flew from his home in the US to Scotland and Ireland in his private jet to source one-of-a-kind and vintage whiskeys at auctions and distilleries.
During the first phase of the sale, Whisky Auctioneer became the first site to sell a million-dollar bottle, with several other lots achieving world record hammer prices.