The world of whiskey is no stranger to excellence. This fine favored spirit from the Scottish and Irish isles has grown to become one of the premiere in the whole world, but who stands tall among the crowd?
Once you’ve developed a true taste for the finest of whiskeys, you might begin to seek out some of the rarest vintages. Some are aged for decades in sherry casks, released half a century or more from the time they were first distilled. Others are released as common items, only to build in fame and rarity over time as their complex flavors are celebrated and resources are depleted.
Whatever the reason, the big spenders among us might be interested in pursuing some of these most expensive spirits. Here are some of the wildest price tags in the whiskey game that we could find.
About $13,000 per miniature bottle / Website
While this bottle brings one of the smaller price tags on our list, consider that it’s also very much the smallest bottle. Selling for about $13,000 for just two shots worth of the golden liquid, this note-worthy vintage was one included in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's most expensive whiskey after a full-size bottle sold for a whopping £120,000 in 2018. Released in 1970 in a limited run of 24 bottles, this Springbank 1919 might be one of the oldest vintages of whiskey on Earth.
About $19,000 to $55,000 / Website
This vintage was released in three sets around the mid ‘90s to mid 2000s, and during those initial releases, it was going for somewhere around £80. The prized bottle is now revered for its intense flavor profile, mingling notes of fruit and peat to create an extremely favored rarity. Aged 30 years in oloroso sherry casks, this is one of the finest rare whiskeys you can actually buy.
$33,000 to $59,000 / Website
Aged an incredible 77 years, this rare vintage from The Macallan was matured 52 years before it was ever bottled. Made with peated malt due to the high cost of coal following the second World War, this bottle was originally released at high volume but has now become a classic and highly-sought after whiskey as its supplies dry up.
View this post on Instagram
$58,801.97 / Website
From The Dalmore’s self-proclaimed “deepest and darkest warehouse,” this spirit spent 43 years aging in American white oak casks to curate a perfectly dreamy mix of vanilla and honey tasting notes. Three more years of maturation came in a Matusalem oloroso sherry cask, lending the overall flavor profile hints of orange, lavender, patchouli, coffee and black forest fruits.
About $50,000 to $76,613 / Website
Part of The Macallan’s Fine and Rare Series, this vintage from 1949 was aged 52 or 53 years, depending on the iteration of the release. It was cured in sherry-seasoned Hogshead casks and released in 228 bottles. Boasting a nose of tropical fruits and peat, the flavor comes to life with hints of vanilla, toffee and oak; while the finish brings that smoky mix of complex fruit to linger.
$59,467 to $85,259 / Website
One more from The Macallan’s Fine and Rare series, this spirit was distilled in 1951 and bottled 51 years later in 2022. It actually marked the second fill from Macallan’s sherry cask no. 644. The nose brings hints of apple and citrus, with flavors of citrus fruit with spices and peat smoke once you take a sip. It finishes with wood and fruits, and lingering smoky notes.
$178,141 / Website
Coming in at more than 85 years old, this rare vintage of Glenfiddich was matured in cask 843 at the Scottish distillery and stored in a dark and damp warehouse. The process was slow, and 10 warehouse masters watched over its progress before finally seeing the fine spirit bottled in 2001; 64 years after it was first casked. A dark walnut color gives way to sweet smoothness on the tongue, with notes of cedar, oak and drying bitter chocolate. There's even a bit of poached pears in the nose.
Looking for more incredibly rare whiskies? Check out this bottle from The Macallan from 1989, released just last year, or this limited edition set in honor of James Bond’s 60-year anniversary. You can even use whiskey as a means of global travel by sipping some of these whiskies from around the world.
Photography by: Jeff J Mitchell / Getty