Ballpark Estimate: $2,500 to $1 million
How much would you spend for a bottle of liquor? If the answer is that you’d be willing to splurge in the thousands on one of the best limited editions or high brow single malt and single barrel whiskeys that have been aged for much longer than most of the other more popular mass market varieties, then you are on the cutting edge in this arena.
Over the past few years, there has been a growing trend of people investing in very expensive whiskeys, scotches, bourbons and other liquors. In addition, some collectors even try to buy two bottles: one to save in their collection and the other to open and enjoy now, with their closest family and friends.
Top 10 List
Collecting rare bottles of whiskey really came into vogue in the 1980s in Europe. Since then, the tradition has spread to the United States, where some people seem willing and able to pay for the highest ticket items even in the face of a tightening economy. For those willing to fork over the cash for the prestige that comes with such high-end liquors, there are a variety of options from which to choose. Some of the choices include special limited editions of whiskeys and bourbons and very old and hard-to-get bottles. The prices can range from a few thousand dollars on up to a million, depending on what you want and where you get it. Keep in mind that if you are able to get these prestige liquors directly from suppliers, you will usually pay less than you will if you buy a one-of-a-kind bottle at auction.
10. Bruichladdich Forty Whiskey
Bruichladdich Forty whiskey, which dates back to 1964, is sure to catch the interest of some very discriminating drinkers. From the Bruichladdich Distillery located on the Scottish island of Islay, only 500 bottles were produced of this vintage. Each one sells for about $2,500.
9. Glen Garioch Whiskey
Another good option in the same price range is a bottle of Glen Garioch 1958, which is a limited edition whiskey distilled in the Highlands that has also earned its fine reputation. This bottle also gives quite a presentation, coming in a hardwood box that is velvet lined to truly impress the buyer. A total of 336 bottles of this edition were made, and 60 of these were distributed exclusively in the UK. A bottle of this 50-year-old prize sells for about $2,600.
8. Chivas Regal Royal Salute
If price is no object and you want to try a more expensive, and more unusual, 50-year-old blended scotch, try the Chivas Regal Royal Salute. This version was released in 2003 and is a rare treat, since it is made of whiskey barrels left from 1953, the year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of England. A total of 255 bottles of this version were made, with only 10 being earmarked for distribution in the United States. Each of them comes in a blue flagon that is adorned with a 24-carat gold and silver label. The price is about $10,000 for a bottle.
7. Macallan Fine & Rare Collection
If you are a true connoisseur of fine drinks, chances are you are familiar with the Macallan distillary. For a decadent bottle of its whiskey, consider buying a bottle of the Macallan Fine & Rare Collection from 1939. This is presented in a Lalique crystal decanter. While this isn’t the finest, or most expensive, whiskeys that Macallan makes (see number 4 for that), this one is still very well respected and is somewhat more readily available than its more exclusive counterparts. You can buy a bottle of this year for a little more than $10,000.
6. Glenfiddich Rare Collection
If you want to add a truly notable whiskey to your collection, consider trying to find a bottle of Glenfiddich Rare Collection 1937, which is one of the oldest, and one of the rarest, that exists. In fact, this whiskey was distilled in the 1930s but then was stored in the cask and not actually bottled until 64 years later, in 2001. While just a few of these bottles still remain in existence, one sold recently at auction in New York City. The bottle was one-of-kind that was created to serve as a display piece. After a heated bidding war, this prize sold at auction in 2006 for $20,000. When adjusted for inflation today, this equals a little more than $21,000.
5. Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky
For a very rare treat, you might be interested in a bottle of Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky that an Irish woman recently put up for auction. This whiskey was passed down from generation to generation in her family and ultimately, made her a nice profit on this inheritance. Experts place the bottling of the whiskey sometime in the 1850s (and the Glenavon distillery is said to have closed shortly afterward), making it one of the oldest bottles ever produced and causing quite a stir in the collecting world. The winning bid was just under $29,000, which when adjusted for inflation equals more than $30,000 today.
4. Macallan 60-year-old Single Malt Whiskey
If the Macallan whiskey listed above in number 7 is too common for your tastes, you may want to try to get your hands on an even more exclusive offering by the same distiller. Macallan also has a 60-year-old single malt whiskey from 1926 that is sold out in all retail establishments. This liquor was bottled in 1986 and rebottled again in 2002. It sold at auction by Christie’s in New York recently and brought in $54,000. Beyond the high price tag this auction fetched, the event also had real significance because it was the first auction in the state of New York that sold liquor since prohibition.
3. Bowmore Single Malt Scotch
If older is better when it comes to liquor, then it makes sense that a bottle of Bowmore single malt scotch bottled in 1850 brought in a premium price recently. This whiskey, which is more than 150 years old, was sold by way of auction in Glasgow by a private seller to an anonymous person who was bidding by phone. The final selling price for the bottle was more than $59,000, despite the fact that the cork had even fallen into the liquid. It’s also worth noting that the buyer even outbid the distillery itself, which had hoped to regain possession of this bottle since it is thought to be the oldest example of Bowmore than exists today.
2. Dalmore 62 Single Highland Malt Scotch
If you think that last number sounds pricey, keep in mind that a bottle of Dalmore 62 Single Highland Malt Scotch Whiskey fetched an even higher price. This went at auction in 2005 for $58,000. When adjusted for inflation, this equals more than$63,000. This bottle was one of just 12 that were packaged in 1943 and were created from single malts that dated back to between 1868 and 1939. What is particularly interesting about this sale is that the buyer bought this extremely expensive liquor to drink, not save. He opened it and shared it with a group of friends.
1. Scottish Diva Vodka
Topping the list of most expensive liquor is a bottle of Scottish Diva Vodka created by the Blackwood Distillery. This is an unusual, and unusually beautiful, drink that can be customized for the buyer’s style and taste. Each bottle includes an insert that is filled with crystals and gemstones. In addition, rare and valuable jewels can also be added into the presentation. Depending on what you choose, you can expect to spend up to one million dollars for this most exclusive drink.
If you can’t afford to own a full bottle of one the best liquors out there but still want to enjoy the experience of trying one or two of them, you might be able to buy a taste – if you can afford it. Some of the finest restaurants have invested in rare and prestigious whiskeys and other liquors and sell a dram to customers for a thousand or more dollars.