Close-up silhouetted male hand holding a glass of whiskey, against a green background, viewed from behind
What Constitutes A 'Unicorn' Bottle Of Whiskey?
By Nick Johnson
Certain alcoholic beverages are only available in limited supply, and therefore, sport a hefty price tag, such as Glenfiddich’s 50-year-aged scotch blend that costs tens of thousands of dollars. When a bottle of whiskey reaches a certain status due to its age and availability, it earns the mythological moniker of a “unicorn” bottle.
The term “unicorn” refers to a bottle of bourbon that, much like the mythical creature from which its name is derived, is very rarely spotted; unlike unicorns, these uncommon whiskies are, in fact, real. The unicorn label has been slapped on several bourbons, with one of the first recipients of the honorific being Frankfort, Kentucky's Pappy Van Winkle.
There is a way for whiskey collectors to get ahead of their peers — they need to buy a bottle before it ascends to unicorn status. The internet continues to speculate which spirits will become rarities — for instance, VinePair in 2021 thought that bottles of Maker's Mark Wood Finishing Series and Smoke Wagon Uncut Unfiltered would become unicorns.