When it comes to luxury whiskies, it’s a different kind of world. A true whisky aficionado knows that a bottle of the finest comes at a price. Many people love their drink strong while others love one that breaks the bank. Distilled by masters in the game, aged for over half a century and bottled in stunning decanters, many like to savour an exquisite glass of the brown spirit.
In the exclusive world of whisky, there are two not-so-secret ongoing battles: one for age, and another for cost. Ground-breaking bids and new world records continue to reign supreme in the industry. Have you ever wondered what’s special about a $2 million bottle of whiskey? With six-figure digits having become the norm, here’s looking at the most expensive whiskies ever auctioned, and they cost a fortune!
Yamazaki 55-year-old – USD $8,00,000
This Japanese whiskey has set a new record of being the world’s most expensive whiskies ever sold, for a jaw-dropping USD $8,00,000 (approx. Rs 65.2 cr). First distilled in 1960, the Yamazaki 55-year-old is the regal blend of precious single malts that were all distilled under the supervision of Suntory’s founder Shin Jiro Torii and later aged in Mizunara casks for over 55 years. Yamazaki 55 was first bottled in Japan in 2020 with 100 bottles, and an additional 100 bottles were released in 2021, thus making it a limited edition that is truly a prized possession for anyone who owns it.
Karuizawa 38-Year-Old Single Malt – USD $26,000
A bottle of Karuizawa 38-Year-Old Single Malt Japanese Whisky, one of a pair of Ruby Geishas released in 2021. This sherry-aged malt was distilled in the 1980s and bottled by Elixir Distillers exclusively for The Whisky Exchange. Each bottle in the pair has complementary labels designed by The Whisky Exchange’s creative director Raj Chavda and is presented in individual wooden cases. This is bottle number 129 of 223.
Macallan Distil Your World New York Edition – USD $ 250,000
It was apparent that Macallan’s Distil Your World New York Edition was going to cost collectors a pretty penny. Limited to just 1,000 bottles, the whisky was originally priced at $4,300 but ended up selling for a lot more online. In February this year, a single bottle of Distil Your World New York Single Cask Edition sold for $250,000 at Sotheby’s. his special Single Cask the Macallan’s NYC-Inspired Whisky Edition is one of only two bottles created by the distillery. It attracted 68 bids before it was sold to a private collector from Asia for triple the pre-sale estimate. The second bottle will be kept safely in the Macallan archive.
The Reach – USD $609,40
The Macallan Reach 81-year-old whisky comes from a single cask laid down in 1940 and is the world’s oldest Scotch single malt sold for nearly half a million (USD $609,40) at auction by Sotheby’s. Distilled in Scotland during World War II the Macallan The Reach 81-year-old comes from a single sherry seasoned oak cask laid down in 1940, making it the world’s oldest aged Scotch. Released by the Speyside distillery in February last year in a limited edition of only 288 decanters, each was cradled on a bronze sculpture of three hands.
Dalmore-50-year-old – USD $19,778
A bottle of the rare Dalmore-50-year-old-1926 in a ceramic decanter and its original wooden presentation case sold for USD $19,778 at Bonhams online-only Fine Whisky and Spirits Sale which ran from 20 February – 1 March 2023. It had been estimated at £13,000-18,000. Bonhams whisky specialist Georgia Porteous commented: “In a strong and varied sale, the Dalmore-50-year-old-1926 stood out for its rarity and desirability and not surprisingly emerged as the top lot. There were also impressive performances from a good selection of Macallan’s with the Macallan Fine & Rare-30-year-old 1973 providing the pick of the crop.”
Distilled by Bowmore in 1969 and matured for 50 years, this is the fourth and final edition from the highly esteemed ‘Bowmore 50-Year-Old Vaults series. Using American oak ex-Bourbon barrels and hogsheads, this exceptional cask strength release from Bowmore is one of its rarest whiskies to date. It was sold for USD $ 35,551 in January this year.
This 72-year-old is one of the oldest expressions ever to be released by The Macallan. Distilled in the 1940s, and released in 2018, this single malt whisky is beautifully presented in a Lalique crystal decanter. Inspired by the creation of the new Distillery and Visitor Centre in 2018, the crystal decanter is positioned within a custom-made wooden presentation case, designed by the Royal cabinetmakers for her majesty the Queen. This exclusive release is one of only 600 bottles produced worldwide by The Macallan.