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Single malt breaks world auction record as market matures

A rare bottle of Macallan whisky has set a world record for the most expensive single malt whisky sold at an auction over the weekend.

The six-liter bottle of the highly sought after Macallan 'M' in a crystal decanter fetched $628,205 at Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong, above the expected range of $258,000 to $516,000.

The previous record was achieved at a Sotheby's auction in New York in 2010, when a bottle of 64-year-old Macallan whisky was sold at $460,000.

aleksle | E+ | Getty Images

As the Asian market matures, high-end whisky is increasingly being viewed as a viable alternative investment to fine wine.

(Read more: Wine, whisky can whet investor's thirst for alternative options)

"In 2009, we only sold a handful of wines. Now that the market is expanding, and buyers become more sophisticated and knowledge, whisky becomes a part of that," Robert Sleigh, head of wine, Sotheby's Asia told CNBC on Monday.

(Read more: A bourbon lover's Holy Grail: The Bourbon Trail)

When investing in whisky, the main drivers of price are quality and rarity, he said, similar to wine. In the case of the Macallan M, it was a combination of the quality and rarity of the whisky as well as the decanter designed by French crystal maker Lalique, Sleigh said.

—By CNBC's Ansuya Harjani. Follow her on Twitter: @Ansuya_H

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