“Hmm, I could buy one bottle of whiskey, or, OR, I could get drunk every day, for my whole life, on very good whiskey, and still not pay that much. Decisions, decisions.”
~Practical American Booze Shoppers
When we set out to bring you the closest thing to a comprehensive list of the world’s most expensive whiskeys that a writing staff of buzzed and lightly drunk gluttons could put together, we didn’t know what to expect. We’ve covered the most expensive versions of various items here before, from pizza and hamburgers to yachts to even vodka, and as much as we wholeheartedly endorse waste and greed, we can’t ever get past the whole “if you can buy a thousand bottles of liquor for the price of one stupid status symbol, why not just go for bulk instead” mindset of things. Our view on excess generally boils down to the following—take a hundred pounds of butter and carve it into a cow? You keep doing you, you glorious American bastard. But spend $10,000 on a single bottle of alcohol? Is that really better than, say, 300 bottle of Woodford Reserve?
With that caveat in mind, we were (somewhat) pleasantly surprised to see that none of the entries of most expensive whiskeys come from the United States. Sure, 99 times out of 100, when we see someone doing something better than America we start frothing at the mouth while demanding an immediate arms race, economy be damned, but in this instance, we’re happy to cede the title to the Scots, especially since, if you’re patient and really looking to flex your alcohol spending powers, $200 and knowing the right people can get most Americans the best whiskey in the world.
With that in mind, it’s time to delve into the world’s most expensive whiskeys. We can guarantee you will never have the opportunity to take even a sip of any of these, so it’s best to just tell yourself they all taste like shoe leather and that everyone who purchased it immediately uttered, “Dear God, what have I done” as soon as they tried it.
The 10 Most Expensive Whiskeys in the World
It might come to a shock to many of you, but the internet is full of liars. Or at least, people who are lazy enough to not fact check their sources while blindly assuming Daily Mail articles are true. Now, we’re no different (looking back on it, at least two of the entries to our yacht article were complete bullshit) but when you’re dealing with something as sacred as whiskey, we take our jobs very seriously. That’s why we’re not counting many entries from various pre-existing lists if we can’t find a verified listing of the price, or if it ends up being fake. So before we get into the real whiskey heavy hitters, we’re going to list the honorable mentions, which usually exist in a vacuum of “one website listed a price without sourcing it, and everyone else quoted that site verbatim.” There is one April Fools’ joke that no one picked up in there, though, because we as a species really have some work to do.
Honorable Mentions (read as: fake, because the internet lies to you)
Isabella’s Islay: No, There Probably Isn’t a $6.2 Million Whiskey Out There
We’re rolling our eyes at this one, honestly, because even though we doubt the journalistic integrity of a website called “bornrich.com” (and that’s coming from a website whose banner has a gun toting grizzly), if by some miracle the $6.2 million price tag ended up being accurate, we probably still wouldn’t count it, since no one seems to have anything to say about the whiskey other than “it was distilled on the Scottish island of Islay” and “it comes from very old casks…with free refills apparently.” You know, like a souvenir cup at a baseball game. A theoretically six million dollar souvenir cup embedded with 8500 diamonds, 300 rubies, and two bars worth of white gold. You know, if this story wasn’t bullshit. Which it most probably is.
To give you an idea of how much of a shit we give about this topic, we actually reached out to them via the email address listed on their website. Of course they didn’t respond. If we had to guess, as soon as they saw an email from Johnny Roosevelt, three dudes in a room with “Isabella’s Islay” hastily written on a cardboard sign above it looked at each other and said, “Fuck the jig is up” and started dousing everything in gasoline.
Aisla T’Orten 105 Year Old 1906: This $1.5 Million Bottle Of Scotch Was An April Fools’ Joke, You Morons
Not to harp on bornrich.com, but this is the kind of bullshit that ensures that we will never trust a single goddamn word you write about anything. They breathlessly talk about this offering from Master of Malt, which was distilled at the Aisla T’Orten distiller in the Highlands before spending 105 years in the basement of an Aberdeen based historian, Allie Sisell. 762 ml of the spirit were left after exhuming the contents, 700 of which was bottled, while 12ml was tasted and 50ml was bottled for future generations, whatever that means. They’re not the only ones to write about this incredible one-of-a-kind-bottle, with richpeoplethings.com gushing, “While everyone agrees that the price is astronomical, there is no price high enough for 700 ml of this rich liquid history that is the rarest in the world.” Of course, this all was an April Fools’ prank. Obviously. The bottle was officially “released” on April 1st, 2011, you fucking idiots, do you not get how the internet works?
If you go to the Master of Malt website selling this bottle of “unparalleled luxury” you’ll see the following message. “OK everyone, we have to come clean! The miraculous discovery of this 105 year old whisky may have had smoothing to do with its launch on April Fools’ Day 2011. It’s also possible that some sneaky anagrams were used in some of the names in the story. Allie Sissell (the discoverer of the cask): Lies, All Lies… Aethenias Simonvent (the distillery’s founder): This is not even a name! And there’s a good chance that if you rearrange the letters in Aisla T’Orten distillery you get: It’s not a real distillery.
Anyway, next time someone tells you that the internet is making society as a whole smarter, feel free to use this as a passionate rebuttal.
The MaCallan “M”: Yes, It Sold For $628,205, But That Was For a Six Liter Bottle, So it Unfortunately Does Not Qualify
This one is pretty self-explanatory, and doesn’t involve us questioning anyone’s intelligence. A hand-crafted giant decanter of some of Macallan’s best whiskey sold for over $600,000 bucks in auction, this is true. That’d be enough to make it the most expensive on our list. But it’s also a 6-liter bottle which, first of all, holy shit a six liter crystal decanter, that must be incredibly heavy, and second of all, if we don’t cap this list to somewhat normal sized bottles, it’d probably end up descending into anarchy. It’s not an easy cut to make, but this is why we get the big bucks to make the tough decisions. Now, onto the real list.
10: Highland Park 50 Year Old- $21,100
One of the most frustrating part of this article was that, since no American whiskeys put themselves on the market for five figure sums, we’ve had to do rough approximations of practically all of the prices on this list, since everything is listed in pound sterling, a.k.a., Brittish squiggly L money. So as of writing this article, you can buy a 50-year-old bottle Highland Park scotch, with a sterling silver “abstract ‘cage’” encompassing the bottle, for 12,500 pounds or, with the current exchange rate of $1.69 per pound, roughly $21,100 in real country money.
Highland Park bottled 275 bottles of this whiskey, originally casked back in 1960, meaning the scotch predates Mad Men. The price comes from the age (it’s older than Sandra Bullock, who herself is much older than you assumed before clicking this link), the quality (It won the 2013 Whiskey Bible for Best Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 41 Years & Over, which probably means something to someone), and the fancy, silver laden bottle. That doesn’t change the fact that anyone who has bought this bottle spent more than most people pay for a new car for about two good drunk nights worth of alcohol and twenty dollars’ worth of silver. But hey, you can at least brag about how much you spent on your whiskey to all your friends, who absolutely will drink it all behind your back and replace it with Fireball whiskey to teach you a lesson about flaunting your money around like a douchebag.
9: Glenfiddich 50 Year Old- $26,000
Unlike many whiskeys on this list which are one-batch offerings, Glenfiddich releases a 50-year-old scotch for about 26 grand every year. Admittedly, they only put out 50 bottles annually, but that’s more than can be said for many on this list. While difficult to hunt down, it’s rare enough that I’ll set you back more than many mortgage down payments, but common enough that you can find stories of a bottle of it being stolen from a liquor store in Canada. According to one person we found who has tasted it and written about it because, come on, we’re not going to spend $26,000 on a single bottle of alcohol, you have to be shitting us, it tastes sweet and smoky, with notes of orange, rose, and about three hundred words of someone telling us how he took a sip of alcohol once that cost more than a bottle of Jack Daniels. Good for you, buddy, we fucking get it, you get to work a job where you get paid to drink extremely expensive scotch. Well, we get paid to go temporarily blind on homemade moonshine during office hours, so we’re going to chalk that as a win for AFFotD in our book.
8: The Macallan 1939- $29,500
You’ll quickly realize that, after a certain cost point, there are only, like, three distilleries that actually give enough of a shit to try to trick rich people into spending too much money for a bottle of whiskey they can put up on display while breathlessly stuttering, “Be careful over there!” every time a child stumbles anywhere in the vicinity of their liquor cabinet. Glenfiddich is one of them, sure, and so is Macallan. That’s not particularly surprising or damning—Glenfiddich and The Macallan (yes, they do insist you keep the “the” in there) are two of the three top largest-selling single malt scotches in the world. You can buy this for 17,500 British-Squiggles, or a shade under thirty grand (though, hey, if you buy it online, you get a 20% discount of nearly $5,000!) or you can use that money to set up a retirement account that has more money than 75% of Americans. Fine, yes, with the drinking you’re not likely to make it to retirement age anyway, that’s a fair point, so let’s phrase it like this. For $30,000 you can get a single bottle of this The Macallan, or you can get, say, oh, let’s go with 576 bottles of a 12 year bottle of scotch from the same distillery. That’s enough to get you so drunk that you wake up not remembering going to sleep every night for two years, which is actually a lifetime of scotch because you’d totally die after about three months of trying that little experiment. So don’t do that. Stick with the retirement fund thing. Or how about just “not spending $30,000 all at once on something that isn’t a house or a car”? Yeah, that works. Just try to avoid spending $30,000 all at once on something that isn’t a house or a car. That advice was not free. Please mail us a check for $30,000 at your own convenience, please and thank you.
7: The Macallan 1926- $54,000
Every year, The Macallan releases a few bottles of old-as-shit whiskeys. While “The Old As Shit Collection” would be the best name ever for these scotches, they unfortunately decided to go with the much more lame name of “The Macallan Fine & Rare Collection.” Yawn. The 1926 vintage represents the oldest vintage available, and while most “top (blank) expensive whiskeys” lists state that it costs $75,000 a bottle, those writers are lazy, and bad, and should feel bad. Of course, $54,000 isn’t anything to shake your dick at, unless you’re being paid to shake your dick for $54,000 in which case, yeesh, that’s pretty debasing, but if you asked us the price is right, just don’t spend all that money at once, dick shaker. That figure is how much someone paid at a Christie’s auction in 2007 for a bottle of 1926 Macallan, which was bottled in 1986 to make it a 60-year-old scotch (it was reported to be an 81-year-old scotch at the time, but the age of a whiskey stops at bottling, and now you know that if you didn’t already). This purchase happened over six years ago, so if we had to guess, we’d say that there has to be at least half of it left, so there’s plenty of time to find out who the owner is, where he lives, and becoming the first person to steal $25,000 in the form of an opened, half-full bottle of alcohol. Dare to dream, America. Dare to dream.
6: Glenfiddich 1937- $71,700
In 1937, Glenfiddich set aside a cask with the explicit goal of distilling an alcohol that would outlive everyone involved in its creation. 64 years later, enough alcohol for 61 bottles remained in the cask. That means this bottle is incredibly rare, though honestly if you’re going to focus on whiskey that came from any random barrel you can convince yourself that it’s “rare.” The Jim Beam that comes from that one barrel that Mila Kunis called dibs on? Rare. Not good, because Jim Beam, but rare. This particular artificially inflated bottle of booze was last seen at auction in 2012 when it sold at Christie’s for a whopping $71,7000, or about $13,000 more than you’d spend overpaying for a brand new Corvette convertible. So again, in some sort of bizarre Sophie’s choice where someone hands you 72 grand and says, “You have to spend all of this right now,” you can buy a single bottle of alcohol, or you can buy, like, a house tub boat and 200 bottles of bourbon. Basically what we’re saying is that if the person who bought this bottle of Glenfiddich did so without already owning a hot tub boat, then we’re very disappointed in him, and he might need to adjust his priorities.
5: The Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve 1955- $94,000
Janet Sheed Roberts was the granddaughter of William Grant, the founder of Glenfiddich. She also, apparently, was a Highlander who managed to live be 110 before Sean Connery found her and lopped her head off. To celebrate her life, Glenfiddich released 11 bottles of Janet Sheet Roberts 55 year old scotch whisky, one for every decade of her life. All of these bottles were auctioned off for charity, fetching a combined total of about $675,000. While some cheapskates picked up a bottle for a measly $78,000 (the plebeians), the third bottle put up for auction managed to grab $94,000, or roughly enough money to purchase an entire city block in Dubuque, Iowa (we’re assuming).
4: The Dalmore 64 Trinitas- $202,000
Sure, Glenfiddich and The Macallan tend to auction off their rare whiskeys for charity, because they make plenty of money on their standard scotches, and they see the value in taking something rare and unique and putting it towards a good cause. The Dalmore, however, decided fuck that, charity is for suckers, if you can find someone dumb enough to shell out a few hundred grand for your booze, why not just pocket it? With that noble mindset in place, they released three bottles of Dalmore Trinitas, combining spirits from 1868, 1878, 1926, and 1939 before aging the whiskeys for 64 years, for the set price of 100 British squigglies, or about $168,000. They were able to sell the first two bottles through the standard method of “finding one of the, what, seventeen people in the world who have no problem spending more money on a bottle of alcohol than most people spend on their homes, and selling it to them.” With only one bottle left, the folks at Dalmore must have realized they could increase their profit, and the final bottle sold for 120,000 pounds at auction, or just a shade over $200,000 in real money. The buyer, we presume, immediately grabbed the bottle after putting in his winning bid and chugged it all, right there, smashed the bottle to the ground, and said, “I didn’t even fucking taste it. Random rich asshole, out!” before writing a check, tossing it to the ground, and drunkenly stumbling out of there. Clearly that’s the most likely scenario, right?
3: The Dalmore Sinclair 62- $211,000
In 2011, The Dalmore continued their fiery siege against the very concept of charity and helping the disadvantaged by setting a record by selling the most expensive bottle of whiskey ever sold in retail when they managed to find some asshole at the Changi Airport in Singapore willing to shell over 125,000 pounds for the final bottle out of twelve bottles ever made of the 62-year-old scotch. So to recap, they sold this whiskey, for pure profit, in China, at an airport, and someone had no problem shelling out over two hundred grand to forever have to live with the stigma of spending over two hundred grand in an airport all at once.
We’re starting to think that maybe, just maybe, The Dalmore is a scotch distillery that caters exclusively to douchebags. How else can you explain their almost allergic aversion to charity, their pride at selling the most expensive retail whiskey in the world, or the fact that when The Dalmore 62 was first released in 2002, it was noteworthy for being the most expensive bottle of whiskey ever purchased and consumed in one sitting. Yeah, we were joking about some rich guy chugging the whiskey in the past entry, but not this time around—someone paid about $50,000 (which was still four times less than what someone later paid for the same whiskey) at the Penny Hill Park hotel in Surrey, shared it with his friends, and then, in the ultimate assholish rich person move, left the last drop (estimated to be worth a thousand pounds) for the waiter as his tip. Yes, that’s right, in his rich douche logic, the waiter would be better off having a small sip of scotch that won’t even leave him buzzed as opposed to, you know, one thousand pounds which he could use to pay his rent, or buy medicine, or pay his dying father’s hospital bills, but no, he got a sip of super expensive scotch, it was probably really good, and to this day when he’s asked what it tasted like, he shrugs his shoulders and says, “Um, scotch I guess? I’m not a big scotch drinker, so it just sort of tasted like smoke to me, if I’m being honest.”
Man, Dalmore, y’all a bunch of dicks.
2: Royal Salute Tribute to Honor- $250,000
Royal Salute is a type of Scotch made by Chivas. Normally, it’ll cost you between $300 and $900, and is typically aged a minimum of 21 years. It’s a blended Scotch, which means it’s not as good as the single malts on this entry despite the lies that Johnny Walker tries to feed you when saying that their blue label is worth the extra money (it most emphatically is not). The Tribute to Honor, of which 21 bottles were made, slightly inflates its value by coming in a diamond and precious metal encrusted bottle made by Garrard, the world’s oldest jewelers, but makes sure that each whiskey in the blend has been aged for at least 45 years, which apparently warrants a 150,000 pound price tag by some logic that might make sense once your net worth surpasses $10 million, we guess. You can actually still buy this one, we think. Well, that is to say, we added it to our shopping cart in game of a “let’s see how close we can get to going into insurmountable credit card debt over a bottle of blended Scotch” chicken.
We got this far.
Is it just us, or is the fact that you can so easily spend $250K on the internet somewhat terrifying? And, you’d think they could charge more for customs, right? Anyway, we don’t want to play this game anymore…which leaves us with just one whiskey left.
1: 64 Year Old Macallan- $460,000
The Macallan sold the most expensive whiskey in the world back in 2010 when it offered 1.5 liters of 64-year-old Scotch in a one-of-a-kind crystal decanter for $460,000. Because The Macallan doesn’t need to grab all the cash as quickly and as greedily as possible (cough, looking at you, Dalmore) they sold this unique whiskey/bottle combo at auction with all proceeds benefiting charity: water, to help provide clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. While we can point out all the things (seriously so many things) that $460,000 could otherwise be used on, the whole “charity” thing does soften that blow a bit. By our logic, you can either donate half a million dollars to charity, or, you can donate half a million dollars to charity and get a whiskey that’s (probably) much older than you in the process. That, we can get behind. The rest of y’all fuckers dropping thousands of bucks on a single bottle of booze to show off, though? Why don’t you get your heads out of your asses and spend that money on hundreds of bottles of budget bourbons like a goddamn adult. Seriously, it’s not that hard. And while you’re at it, send a few bottles our way. All this talk of booze is making us thirsty.