The whiskey industry is notorious for its ludicrously exorbitant pricing. Whether or not you believe the liquid inside is worth it, the price tags of these extremely costly bottles are still worthy of awe—or a good laugh. Here, the most expensive whiskeys in the world.
The Overall Most Expensive Whiskey: Isabella’s Islay, $6.2 Million
The most expensive whisky in the world comes at such a hefty cost because of its bottle, rather than the liquid inside. Isabella’s Islay packages run-of-the-mill, expensive single malt scotch in a white-gold bottle blanketed in 8,500 diamonds and emblazoned with 300 customizable rubies that can spell out a name or message.
The Most Expensive Whiskey Sold at Auction: The Macallan M, $628,205
The Macallan “M” bottle was picked up at a Sotheby’s auction in 2014 for a cool six figures, making it the most expensive bottle ever sold at auction. The booze was (or possibly still is, depending on how thirsty the buyer was) a blend of seven barrels ranging from 25- to 75-years- old, and the bottle was designed and crafted by 17 artisans (after 40 attempted bottles were rejected for imperfections). At least all that hard work was generously rewarded.
The Most Expensive Standard-Size Whiskey Bottle at Auction: Yamazaki 50 Year Old Single Malt, $129,000
Yamazaki’s 50 Year Old Single Malt was initially sold for $9,600 when it was released in 2005. But 11 years later, it fetched a lot more. The bottling was so beloved that in 2016 a first edition bottle broke the world record for a standard bottle sold at auction. The whisky is aged in mizunara wood characteristic of high-end Japanese aged spirits. Along with smoke and wood, the whisky is reportedly packed with flavors of sweet-sour dried fruit.
The Macallan 50 Year Old is actually more expensive than the 55 Year Old or the 62. It was the first in the distillery’s Six Pillars series, a partnership between the distillery and famed French crystal house Lalique. The 470 bottles released worldwide were snapped up in record time, but a few show up on liquor store shelves every now and then.
It’s not Pappy. Somehow, the most expensive bourbon available for sale is not Pappy van Winkle. Instead, Michter’s takes the crown with its Celebration Sour Mash. The 273 bottles of the pricey bourbon are blends of 20- and 30-year-old barrels. According to the distillery, it tastes like burnt sugar, candied cherries and smoky fruit.
The Most Expensive Commercially Available Rye Whiskey: Rittenhouse 25 Year Old, $2,500
Following the successes of its 21- and 23-year-old releases, Rittenhouse logically put out a quarter-century-old rye. Those who have tasted the 100-proof, single-barrel release describe it as spicy, sweet and caramelly with a long, lingering finish.
Irish whiskey doesn’t retail for quite as much as scotch, but there are still a few bottles that cost a decent chunk of change. Teeling only released 250 bottles of the 30 Year Old, which is the oldest commercially available Irish Single Malt on the market. At just $1,800, it’s a relatively cheap “most expensive” bottle.
Honorable Mention: 105 Year Old Master of Malt
The comedians over at Masters of Malt listed a $1.4 million bottle of scotch that never existed as an April Fool’s Day prank back in 2011. The name of the supposed discoverer of this long lost scotch was an anagram for “Lies, All Lies,” the distiller’s name unscrambled to reveal “This is not even a name,” and the fake distillery, Aisla T’Orten, was decoded to read “It’s not a real distillery.” Proof that even the most elite scotch drinkers have a sense of humor.