Whiskey is a type of alcoholic distilled beverage made from the fermented mash of grain.
Various grains (malt), including barley, corn, rye, and wheat, are used for different varieties.
Whiskey is usually aged in wooden barrels, usually made of white oak.
Perhaps it ranks among the most popular alcoholic drinks after rum and beer.
Whiskey can be pricey too; as most whiskey brands are high priced, not because of their quality or taste, but because of the bottles.
There are many premium brands available in the market with the rarest vintage collections that we can enjoy at expensive restaurants, along with some other expensive wines.
But some are exceptional cases of the rarity with an unmatchable flavor that isn’t available at regular stores but only in auctions or at most luxurious hotels or cruises.
To know some of them, here are the top 10 most expensive whiskies in the world:
10. The Macallan 1926 – $75,000
As the name suggests, Macallan 1926 was distilled in 1926 and packed in 1986, it is the oldest one in Macallan Fine and Rare Collection limited to only 40 decanters.
The 1926 edition was and still is, the distillery’s earliest release in the Great and special range.
Every year, a few bottles have been released, up to 75,000 US dollars per bottle.
1926 edition was the auction hero with over 460 bottles from a connoisseur’s private collection (including other rare vintages).
David Robertson describes its flavor as,
“From memory, it was an incredibly rich, intense spirit – full of dried fruits, of prunes and dates, and tons of incredible spicy notes of cloves, ginger, and cinnamon. I also recall zesty orange marmalade, hints of peat and smoke, finished with a delicious drying oak tannin from the sherry cask, and waxy, linseed oil and leather notes.”
9. Springbank 1919 – $78,000
Springbank 1919 is one of the few top-shelf whiskey bottles which are aged over 50 years old that you can purchase online.
It’s a single-malt whiskey with a dedicated niche market. The Whisky Exchange has it from a reputable distributor and delivers it to your front doorstep.
You will find it more at the costly whiskey auctions, and you probably won’t have the chance to see it at the expensive wine stores in your area.
Once Springbank 1919 was listed as the most expensive scotch whiskey in the Guinness Book of Records.
It’s one of the most popular whiskeys in the world today. This fine and rare old distillery spirit was packed in 1970 and is part of the 1919 vintage series.
The whiskey has been created using traditional production methods and is therefore valuable.
It is also a limited edition product since only 24 bottles were released.
8. Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve 1955 – $94,000
A bottle of Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve 1955 was sold at an auction house for $94,000 in New York City in 2012.
Whereas other whiskey bottles are valued over their decanters, the rareness of this Glenfiddich 50 years makes it so expensive.
The label comes from Janet Sheed, the granddaughter of Glenfiddich founder William Grant who lived till 110.
Only 11 bottles of Glenfiddich Janet Sheed were made. Before she died in 2012, Sheed was the oldest woman in Scotland.
Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve 1955 has a pleasant flavor, woody oak, hints of burnt heather, and hay pear with notes of spice.
The light and smooth whisky with a note of cured meat and has a delicate aromatic nutmeg finish.
In terms of notes, it has soft-orange flavors and delicate violets, with roasted almonds and the smoothest whiff, and sweetness with a few drops of water.
It’s light and delicate and has a light flavor of oak; quite amazing for one of the best whiskeys that spent so much time in European woods, in the fruity harmony and floral aroma.
Creamy vanilla with a soft smokiness and some sweeter oak notes are beautifully balanced.
A drop or two of water gives off the additional orange sweetness and incredible vibrancy. The finish is slightly dry right after tasting but grows very long, vivid, and sweet with time.
7. Dalmore 64 Trinitas – $150,000
Dalmore 64 Trinitas is a combination of the most exclusive vintages from the legendary Dalmore distillery, including the 1939, 1926, 1878, and 1868 series.
As one might expect, there seems to be little left (or none) of whiskey from over a century ago, which is why just three bottles of Dalmore 64 Trinitas were made.
Only one for direct sale is available and no reference to what happened to the two others.
It’s a possibility that the owners are enjoying this exotic water of life or are not in the mood to sell.
However, the Dalmore 64 Trinitas bottles are more likely to sell much higher than their original purchase price, after it finally appears at the auction.
Dalmore 64 Trinitas is sold for a jaw-dropping price tag of 160,000 USD, terming it as one of the most expensive whiskeys ever sold.
Its decanter has a sterling silver decoration of the bottle representing the “inner strength and outer shine” of the drink.
Dalmore, with Macallan, is among the most expensive brands of whiskey.
64 Trinitas’ notes are a glorious fusion of grapefruit, sandalwood, white musk, and Indonesian patchouli follows rich notes of sweet raisins, rich Colombian coffee, crushed walnuts, and bitter orange.
To explore every hidden flavor, the spirit must be nurtured and sipped long in the mouth.
You will receive a hint of mangoes, figs, caramel apples, roasted coffee, treacle toffee, marzipan, and soft licorice after you sip it for the first time.
Then is a wave of lingering sensations: Vino Dulce Moscatel, marzipan, toffee treacle, soft licorice, roasted coffee.
This unforgettable fanfare is a smooth caress of truffles, walnuts, and muscovado sugar in your palate.
6. Dalmore 62 – $192,000
Dalmore 62 is one of the costliest whiskey bottles sold for $250,000 in Singapore dollars or $192,000 in USD. This auction created history at Changi Airport.
The company has just released 12 bottles of different names in a limited edition of the series.
Dalmore sold one for £22,000 in 2002 and the other for £32,000 in 2005.
Blending four different single malt whiskeys from the Scottish Highlands of 1939, 1926, 1876, and 1868 have been the creation of Dalmore 62 Single Highland Malt Scotch Matheson.
Like the Dalmore 64 Trinitas, Dalmore has whiskies dating from the beginning of the 19th century 62 series is a century-old, rare, and unique whiskey.
The wooden mold for which Dalmore created its decanter took 100 hours to be handcrafted and a quarter-million dollars.
Its decanter is made up of beautiful platinum and special crystal.
According to a CNBC post on the executive chef of Modena, Massimo Bottura,
“The single malt has aromas of sun-kissed raisins, bitter chocolate, and old English marmalade; hints of Java coffee, Demerara sugar, pecan pie, and crème brûlée in taste; and Sanguinello blood oranges, figs, and treacle linger on the aftertaste.”
5. Macallan 64 Lalique Cire Perdue – $464,000
Macallan 64 is one of the expensive whiskey brands from Speyside Distillery that have the highest price for its use of valued decanters.
Lalique Cire Perdue’s Macallan 64 was last seen at the 2010 auction sold for $464,000.
The quality of premium old whiskey was obtained by the blend of three by aging in Spanish oak barrels from 1946, 1945, and 1942.
As the most precious whiskey, the brand was registered in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Because of its unique combinations and subtle dark chocolate notes, it is a sophisticated drink.
The brand donated the earnings to Charity: Water, a clean water organization.
Iconic French brand Lalique, designed and produced the exceptional crystal decanter, which can be found nowhere else.
The floral flask was handmade by the cire perdue method and is considered exceptional, artistic, and extremely costly.
Graeme Russell, the brand ambassador, sips to describe the savouron Forbes Life,
4. The Macallan M – $628,205
The Macallan M is the old and rarest king of whiskies that are stored in special cases like the Macallan 18 sherry cask made from Spanish oak.
Macallan M’s decanter is made of handcrafted crystal that has been crafted and developed by a team of 17 craftsmen.
A collaboration between the designer Fabien Baron, Lalique Crystal, and Macallan is the creation of the beautifully designed 6-liter special bottle.
The crystal stopper is put in a luxury box later, so it has a beautiful and exclusive look.
The last known M edition was sold at a Hong Kong auction and had an ABV of around 44.7%.
You might wonder what makes it so special to Macallan M that someone paid $628,205?
Whiskey experts agree that the M edition is an exceptional product, as it can contain its quality in such a bottle–a decadent, gazing decanter of the crystal of nearly six liters capacity.
Flavour-wise, the M edition has fruity overtones, including the delicate flavor of leather violet, apple cedar, and lemon enriched with the raisin.
According to the distillery, “vanilla accompanies green apple hand in hand, neither taking the lead. Ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon create an ensemble in the background, with polished oak offering to overstate, yet never does, but plays with a depth of resinous, juicy oranges, before the heavier raisin and sultana flavors take over, meandering to a long full finish.”
3. The Macallan Valerio Adami – $ 1.05 million
On 3 October 2018, the obsession for Macallan Whiskeys came to a climax when Valerio Adami, a 60-year-old single piece, was sold for 1.05 million USD at Bonhams Whisky Sale in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The price was incredible but not unprecedented: in May, a similar-release bottle was sold for just over $1 million at another Bonhams auction in Hong Kong.
Macallan bottled it in 1986 and commissioned Peter Blake and Valerio Adami to design the limited-edition labels-12 Adami labels and 12 Blake labels.
You might wonder, why so expensive?
Firstly, the rarity factor: there are only twelve Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 bottles that were made, and the number that remains in the world is unknown.
But speculations have it, one bottle has been drunk, and a bottle was demolished in an earthquake.
Christie’s international head of wine, Tim Triptree,
“Obviously, after spending 60 years in same cask it’s going to be quite dark in color — amber, a bit of mahogany in there. And then you’ll get some of the spices from the wood, little hints of vanilla, potentially some nutty characteristics, cinnamon, Christmas cake…. All sorts of different flavors and then the length — how long the flavors persist in the mouth — is going to be exceptional, and just reinforce all the aromas that you’re smelling.”
2. The Macallan 1926 – $1.5 million
The 60-year-old Macallan was sold for a staggering $1.5 million, breaking the most recent records of the most expensive bottle of whiskey ever.
The premium bottle was sold on 29th November 2018 at Finest & Rarest Wine Spirits Christie auction in London.
60-year-old Macallan 1926 belonged to the 24-bottle limited edition series.
Along with Valerio Adami & Macallan estate reserve 1824, we cannot find this super rarest whiskey in the world at ordinary auctions.
Valerio Adami designed half while remaining was completed by the other Peter Blake.
This extremely rare drink was distilled in 1926 and bottled in 1986 after sixty years of aging.
Valerio Adami designed half while the remaining was completed by the other Peter Blake.
The Macallan distillers preserved it in the ex-sherry casks of Macallan distillery in Scotland for six decades.
Every single bottle is hand-painted by renowned Irish artist Michael Dillon.
The master of Macallan distiller from the mid-90s to the middle of the 2000s, David Robertson, is among the few who tried this, and in his estimation,
“When I tasted it, the whiskey was quite intense, dry, and tasted of fruit with some hint of warming spice. But I had to try a lot of whiskies over the years and in my humble opinion, there was a number that was better than this one.”
1. Isabella’s Islay – $6.2 million
If you’re not always as concerned about your whiskey as the bottle, this is the top-of-the-line scotch whisky for you.
Isabella’s Islay is the most expensive whiskey in the world, with an estimated price tag of US$6.2 million.
The reason behind its name is the place of origin, the island of Islay. The brand lets you customize and select the diamond-studded name on the bottle.
Isabella’s is one of the finest whiskeys ever you will enjoy in your palate.
Islay Scotch Whiskey is a 30-year-old, aged single malt scotch that reflects Islay’s complexity incredibly.
It’s a blend of artistic talent and outstanding craftsmanship that makes it one of the most well-designed bottles.
If you are thinking, why would anyone buy it for 6.2 million dollars?
The Islay value is all tied into its decanter, containing 8,500 diamonds, 300 rubies, and exquisite white gold. Put the just bottle alone, and it’s worth moreover $6 million making it the most expensive bottle of whisky. Not just that, it’s also the world’s most expensive bottles for a beverage ever used.
It is one of the finest luxury money can buy, as far as the whiskey’s taste is concerned.
Isabella is the ultimate expression of luxury Scotch whiskey, and it costs a ton of money on its own, even without its diamond and jewel-encrusted bottle.