An engagement ring or a single bottle of booze? There are bottles out there that sell for seven figures.
Released in 2003 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 50 years on the throne, this blended whisky has sat aging in a barrel since the Queen’s coronation in 1953. Only 255 bottles were produced, one of which was given to Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person to summit Mt. Everest. The scotch is said to have notes of deep raisin, smoke, and anise.
This 50-year-old scotch is a Speyside single malt whisky, light in body, sweet up front, and heavily sherried. It was aged in a single barrel handpicked in 1955 by George Grant on his ancestor and distillery founder, John Grant’s, 150th birthday. There were only 110 bottles of this produced, all of which were sold prior to their bottling in 2005, on John’s commemorative bicentennial.
The product of a barrel discovered in a warehouse in 1984, this bottle of scotch was never released to the public. Truly one of the rarest whiskies in the world, some of it was served to guests and staff in 1991 to commemorate the reopening of the Brackla distillery in Cawdor, Scotland. With notes of citrus, green apple, and chili, the medium body and clean, sweet finish make this 60-year-old scotch one to put on the bucket list.
Only 420 bottles of this extraordinary scotch were ever produced, all of them bottled in a crystal decanter designed by René Lalique himself, after the signature perfume bottle he created in 1910. The scotch itself is dark amber in color, with hints of dried fruit, citrus, and spice.
Made from an eaux-de-vie that dates to 1870, the folks at Hardy only produced 300 numbered bottles of this, the oldest known unblended cognac. Heavily oaked, you’ll taste notes of beautifully balanced chocolate and coffee in this heirloom spirit.
One of the youngest items on this list, Legacy, is a rum released by Angostura in 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary of Trinidad & Tobago’s independence. It’s a blend of Angostura’s seven rarest and most precious rums, the youngest of which is aged 17 years. The decanter is hand-blown crystal designed and created by Asprey London, jeweler to the Prince of Wales.
This 14-ounce. bottle holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest bottle of whisky in existence. The Glenavon distillery ceased operation sometime in the 1850s when it was absorbed by the Glenlivit people, and although the exact bottling date is unknown, estimates put it between 1851 and 1858. What does it taste like? Track down the anonymous bidder who won it at a Bonham’s auction in 2006 and ask them.
Only 786 bottles of this pricy cognac were produced, the exact amount held by one of their tierçon barrels. Made from 1,200 eaux-de-vie aged anywhere between 40 and 115 years, the cognac is bottled in a Baccarat black crystal decanter. On the nose, you’ll detect vanilla, cream, and floral notes, blending with flavors of spice, sandalwood, and stone fruit.
According to legend, the Tiki drink craze of the 1930s and ‘40s — specifically Don the Beachcomber’s 1934 Zombie and Trader Vic’s 1944 Mai Tai— drained supplies of Wray and Nephew’s famous Jamaican Rum, forcing them to change their recipe and production. The original recipe was lost, and now there are only four unopened bottles of original Wray and Nephew’s left in the world. The blend features rum that dates back as far as 1915.
In 2007, this particular bottle was sold by McTear’s Auctioneers to an anonymous telephone bidder. Bowmore had hoped to take the bottle back into their collection, but couldn’t match the bid. Originally distilled by William and James Mutter in Islay, Scotland, this particular bottle was presented to William in 1851 when he gave up his share of the distillery.
This is maybe the rarest and most collectible bottle of liquor ever produced, and given that it was aged for 64 years, it’s also the oldest (in terms of barrel aging). Released in 2001, Glenfiddich only produced 61 bottles of this whisky, which has gone on to become the most decorated and awarded single-malt scotch out there. In 2012, a bottle sold for almost $72,000 at a Christie’s auction in London.
One of only 40 bottles released, this was sold in 2005 to a South Korean businessman for one of the highest prices ever paid for a bottle of whisky. If you want to try it, head to the Old Homestead Steakhouse at Hotel Borgata in Atlantic City, where you’ll shell out $3,300 per shot. It’s super dry and concentrated, with a deep color attributed to the barrel in which it aged, and finishing with a strong licorice flavor.
Aging since New Year’s Eve 1955, this scotch was bottled in honor of Janet Sheeds Roberts, granddaughter of Glenfiddich’s founder William Grant, when she passed away at the age of 110. Floral, fruity, and pleasantly sweet, four of the fifteen bottles produced were given to the family. An enthusiast from Atlanta apparently paid nearly $100K in 2012 for one of the limited bottles.
Currently for sale in a liquor store in New York City’s Financial District, this cognac has been preserved for more than 150 years by the Croizet family. Competing with the Hardy Perfection for oldest unblended cognac, this bottle is truly one of a kind.
Bought by a Chinese businessman in a duty free store in Singapore’s Changi Airport in 2011, a bottle of Dalmore’s 62-year-old Scotch whisky, one of only 12 produced, became the most expensive retail-purchased whisky in history. The previous record was also held by Dalmore, sold at Harrod’s in London only three months prior for $188,000. Dalmore also holds the record for the most expensive single bottle consumed in one sitting, also a Dalmore 62, when five friends shared a bottle at the Penny Hill Park Hotel in Surrey, UK in 2002 for a comparatively reasonable $39,000. They tipped their bartender with a valued $1,000 shot left at the bottom of the bottle, which makes them huge jerks.
Macallan and Lalique have quite a partnership going on, and this bottle is no exception. This is a one-of-a-kind scotch, and a one-of-a-kind decanter. It sold in 2010 as the oldest of Macallan’s single malts, produced from three sherry-seasoned Spanish oak casks. Don’t let the class warrior inside you get too frothy, though — the proceeds from the sale went to a charity that provides clean drinking water to developing nations and populations all over the world.