The world’s most expensive spiritsBy Amy Hopkins
The luxury spirits market has seen a steady increase in global demand for its products over recent years – here’s our pick of the world’s most expensive spirits ever created.
Despite the double dip recession and worldwide economic crisis, high-end and ultra-premium spirits has proven to be a growing category, with wealthy consumers around the world developing a rapacious thirst for rare and expensive editions.
While the cost of many spirits is determined predominantly by quality, age statement, and exclusivity, as well as the amount of man-hours spent creating them, the cost of others also depends on the aesthetics of their extravagant presentation.
A frequent fixture at auction houses across the world, rare spirits appeal to those with a mind for business as they are viewed as good investments that will make a healthy return in years to come.
Although rare Scotch whisky and historic Cognac are the obvious spirits that dominate our list, high-end Tequila, vodka and rum also make their mark.
Click through the following pages to see our pick of the world’s most expensive spirits – and for a more comprehensive overview of the luxury spirits market, see our September issue of The Spirits Business magazine.
Legacy by Angostura
Released in 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary of Trinidad’s independence, only 20 beautifully decorated decanters of the spirit – the world’s most expensive rum – were available to purchase, at a cool US$25,000.
Jewellers to Prince Charles, Asprey of London, designed the 500ml silver and crystal decanter that is protected by a wooden box lined with silk and velvet and covered by soft red calf leather. Stoppers made of sterling silver depict a rare Trinidadian butterfly resting on sugar cane. The rum itself is a blend of the brand’s seven most rare expressions that have each been aged for at least 17 years.
Two bottles of Legacy by Angostura will next month be on sale in the UK at Harrod’s department store in London, with each price tagged at £20,000.
Remy Martin Black Pearl Louis XIII
Luxury is largely seen as an inherent attribute of Cognac, a category where brands regularly vie for the ‘most expensive’ title. The Remy Martin Black Pearl Louis XIII proved a worthy contender when it auctioned for £100,000 in 2012.
Grapes from Grande Champagne are carefully selected for this Cognac – traditionally made from a blend of 1200 eaux de vie that are between 40 and 100 years old and matured in an ancient tierçon.
The bottle – designed by Baccarat and hand-blown from gothic black crystal – it a tribute to the signature Louis XIII decanter modeled on a flask found in Cognac during the sixteenth century.
In September last year, The Spirits Business reported that a bottle of Remy Martin Black Pearl Cognac auctioned for £10,350 – a bargain compared to the rare Louis XIII edition.
Diamond Jubilee by Johnny Walker
In celebration of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the throne, the distillery remained steadfastly on-topic by creating 60 bottles of a unique blend of 60-year-old Scotch whisky.
Bottled in diamond-shaped Baccarat decanters, adorned with a Britannia silver collar set with a half-carat diamond, the expression was finished in a cask made of English oak from the Queen’s Sandringham Estate.
Each decanter was purchased for £100,000, except one which was gifted to the Queen. All proceeds were donated to the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship fund – a charity which pays to train UK residents in traditional skills.
With an abv of 42.1%, Bowmore 1957 spent 43 years in a second-fill sherry cask, before being moved in 2000 into a second-fill bourbon cask. Stored in a glass and platinum bottle evocative of the waves that clap against the distillery’s maturation warehouse – which sits below sea level – most of the Scotch was only available to buy from the distillery directly.
In October last year, The Spirits Business reported that a second bottle of the Bowmore 1957 failed to sell at auction.
Dalmore 62 Year Old
Crowned the ‘world’s most expensive whisky’ when it went on sale at Singapore’s Changai airport for £125,000, this Scotch whisky had previously been purchased for £22,000 and £32,000 in 2005 – a bargain, you might say.
A particularly rare bottling, only 12 simple-looking 62-year-old single malts adorned with a stag’s head were ever released. Since the groundbreaking purchase, Dalmore 62’s prestigious title as world’s most expensive Scotch whisky has since been swiped by the 64-year-old Macallan.
The Dalmore Paterson Collection
In light of its usurped title of ‘world’s most expansive whisky’, high-end distillers Dalmore recently created what it claimed was the ‘world’s most expensive collection of Scotch whiskies’.
Costing £987,500 and featuring some of the distillery’s most valuable stock, the Dalmore Paterson Collection includes 12 whiskies exclusively created by master distiller Richard Paterson.
Each expression is contained in a Glencairn full lead crystal decanter with silver detail exhibiting names of people who influenced Paterson throughout his career.
The Macallan 64 Year Old in Lalique
The Macallan 64 Year Old – the oldest and rarest Scotch whisky ever released by the distillery – was named ‘world’s most expensive whisky’ by Guinness World Records when it fetched US$460,000 (£291,000) at auction in New York in 2012.
The expression is bottled in a unique ‘Cire Perdue’ crystal decanter that was hand-crafted by masters at Lalique. All proceeds of the auction were donated to charity.
Ice filtered through Nordic birch charcoal and then filtered again through sand peppered with precious and semi-precious stones, Diva Vodka’s packaging reflects its filtration process.
A sparkling wand containing Swarovski crystals runs through the centre of the bottle that can be used “as a garnish”.
Pasion Azteca platinum by Tequila Ley .925
The brand had set the bar with its launch of a US$225,000 expression stored in a white gold and platinum bottle in 2006.
Although solely made from the sap of blue agave plants, it was most likely the diamond encrusted platinum bottle that gave the 2010 release its record-breaking price.
Henri IV Dudognon Heritage Cognac Grande Champagne
Described as the ‘DNA of Cognac’, this 100-year-old bottling is one of the rarest and most expensive drinks on the planet. With a price tag of $2 million, the Cognac comes in a 24-carat gold and sterling platinum bottles that is peppered with 6,500 diamonds.
The remarkable similarity between this design and the Pasion Azteca is no coincidence – this bottle was created by Ley .925.
The expression itself was first produced in 1776 and was named to honour KIng Henri IV.