Singapore: A Chinese businessman has put down a deposit for a rare bottle of whisky costing nearly USD 200,000 at a duty-free shop in Singapore's Changi airport, an airport spokesman said on Monday.

With a price tag of USD 199,400 the 62-year-old bottle of Dalmore single malt is reportedly one of the most expensive ever sold.

The buyer spotted the bottle on display and quickly made a deposit of SGD 100,000 by bank transfer, Changi Airport Group spokesman Ivan Tan said.

"It's one of only 12 bottles in the world," Tan said.

He described the buyer as a "frequent visitor to Singapore", but declined to give more details.

The bottle was part of a special promotion called "Master of Spirits" aimed at connoisseurs, and it remained on display in a glass case at the shop on Monday pending full payment by the buyer.

According to the Edinburgh-based Scotch Whisky Association, Singapore unseated Spain to become the third-largest importer of whisky worldwide after the United States and France in the first half of 2011.

Much of Singapore's scotch imports eventually go to other Asian markets, thanks to its strong trade and tourism links with the rest of the region.