Ten of the world’s most expensive spirits
While winning the lottery is unlikely, it definitely isn’t impossible, so just in case your numbers come up, we’ve rounded up 10 of the world’s most expensive spirits worth splashing your winnings on.
These high end releases cover a wide range of spirits – from rum and gin to Cognac and whisky. The one thing they have in common? Eye-watering price tags.
Rather keep it cheap? Take a look at our list of the whiskies below £50 (US$60.40).
To pay tribute to its founder Andrés Brugal, rum brand Brugal released a 41.5% ABV expression brought to life by blending two double-aged reserve rums with a selection of first-fill single Bourbon and oloroso Sherry casks.
Naturally, it was also presented in a hand-blown crystal decanter and display cabinet inspired by the travelling cases of earlier maestros used on their voyages.
Jassil Villanueva Quintana, master distiller, described it as an ”extraordinary liquid of astounding character that pushes the boundaries of discovery’’ and a ‘’true celebration of the distinctive flavours of Puerto Plata.”
The catch? Only 460 bottles were made available, with each going for US$2,800.
RRP: £2,298.67 (US$2,800)
Glen Grant 1948
Some of us went to the pub, others relaxed in the park, while Scotch producer Gordon & MacPhail went the extra mile to celebrate King Charles III’s coronation in May by releasing a 74-year-old single malt from his birth year.
As part of Speyside distillery Glen Grant’s Private Collection, this whisky was first filled into a Sherry cask back in 10 April 1948, before being bottled last year on 15 December, the anniversary of the King’s christening.
It is said to have an aroma of festive spices, mulled berries, lemon zest, demerara sugar and subtle beeswax polish and flavours of red apples, bitter orange and milk chocolate.
Stephen Rankin, director of prestige at Gordon & MacPhail, called it ”exceptional’’.
It’s definitely a bottle fit for a King, and of course anyone with a spare £25,000 lying around.
RRP: £25,000 (US$31,129)
Patrón en Lalique: Serie 3
As though Patrón’s regular Tequila range isn’t already ritzy enough, the brand took the luxury levels up another notch when it collaborated with crystal decanter maker Lalique on this exclusive release.
Masterminded by Marc Larminaux, Lalique’s artistic and creative director, the decanters that hold the spirit are handmade and individually numbered at Lalique’s factory in in Alsace, France.
And to craft the kind of añejo blend that’s almost impossible to produce again, master distiller David Rodriguez used 14 different rare Tequilas each aged for up to eight years in French and Armagnac casks.
Only 299 bottles of Serie 3 were made available globally – purchased via NFT marketplace BlockBar – and the select few who did manage to snap one up might have detected notes of spices, dried fruits, Sherry wine and intense wood.
RRP: £6,154 (US$7,500)
Rare Cask 42.1
Dedicated cognac fans hoping to get their hands on Rémy Cointreau-owned King Louis XIII’s latest Rare Cask release this spring had to endure a lengthy wait. More than a decade, in fact, since the release of Rare Cask 43.8 in 2009.
Selected by cellar master Baptiste Loiseau, the 775 special edition decanters made available for Rare Cask 42.1 have been handcrafted with black crystals from the the House of Baccarat in France, while the tierçons are derived from French oak trees that take more than 100 years to reach maturity, containing eau-de-vie sourced from Grande Champagne’s terroir.
And when we say dedicated Cognac fans, we mean dedicated Cognac fans that also have very deep pockets – as the bottles set buyers back around £41,084 (US$50,000).
RRP: £41,084 (US$50,000)
Clase Azul Día de Muertos Decanter
Over a five-year span, Clase Azul is releasing one limited edition Tequila per year ahead of Día de Muertos (Day of Dead), with each alluding to a different aspect that makes the holiday so special.
The roll-outs consist of 6,500 bottles made available worldwide.
The most recent instalment in 2022, named Día de Muertos Limited Edition Colores, was crafted by master distiller Viridiana, who aged the añejo blend for 28 months; first for 22 months in American whiskey casks, and then for a further six in artisanal rum barrels from the island of Martinique.
Meanwhile, the decanters that house the liquid are adorned by a silver-plated ornament and feature traditional decorations such as a skull and marigold flowers, that took Mexican artists twelve days to hand paint.
RRP: £863.89 (US$1,050)
On the opposite end of the spectrum to the gins you might usually go for at your local supermarket (such as Aldi’s ‘affordable’ Haysmith’s gin that won Gold at The Gin Masters 2023), comes Jam Jar Gin’s Morus LXIV, which when released in 2018 was billed as the ‘world’s most valuable gin’, clocking in at an impressively expensive £4,000 (US$5,167).
Distilled from leaves of an ancient Mulberry tree, which were each hand-harvested and individually dried before being blended with botanicals and distilled, the gin is bottled in a handmade white porcelain jar and recommended served with a drop of a water, which is said to release the full flavour of the gin, along with a woody sweetness and intense juniper.
Only 25 bottles were made available – through luxury department store Harvey Nichols – so access to one is fairly scarce, but for those dead set on owning a four-figure gin, the expression it surpassed for expensiveness, Cambridge Distillery’s Watenshi, can still be purchased for a slightly tamer £3,000 (USD$3647.37)
RRP: £4,000 (US$5,167)
Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend
You could say Appleton Estate’s recreation of the J. Wray & Nephew 17 rum blend (which inspired the Mai Tai cocktail in the 1940s) had rum enthusiasts a bit excited when it was released over the summer.
After all, the original blend is viewed as one of the world’s ‘most sought after bottles’. There was just one small problem though: Only 1,500 bottles of this were made and once they were gone, they really were gone, never to be made again.
Master blender Joy Spence took four ‘very rare’ distillates and aged the rum in the Caribbean for 17 years to get as close as possible to the exact profile: caramelised pear and banana notes, mingling with warm, nutty, oak, and floral herbal notes. She even had a sample of J. Wray & Nephew 17 rum to fall back on while trialling, as well as the original recipe and formulas.
While the retail price wasn’t too eye watering (at least compared to the rest of this list), don’t expect the same if you spot it on the resale market.
RRP: £410.26 (US$500)
Highland Park 54 Year Old
At the start of 2023, to mark its 225th anniversary, Highland Park revealed its oldest Scotch whisky to date: a 54-year-old single malt. Incidentally, it also ranks as one of the distillery’s most expensive to date at £39,000 (US$47,000).
The reason for the high price tag? The liquid was originally laid down in 1968. Then, in February 2008, four refill butts and six refill hogsheads were then combined and poured into first-fill European Sherry butts where the liquid was left to rest for its final 14 years.
Highland Park’s master whisky maker Gordon Motion said the whisky was ”nurtured through careful maturation and harmonisation”.
The presentation box, made from Scottish oak, is also something to treasure, with its design outlining the cliffs of Yesnaby in Orkney.
For those that purchase the whisky with the view to drinking it rather than keeping it on a shelf, you’ll find notes of crushed cumin, lychee and camphor, honeyed kiwi fruit and pistachio biscotti.
RRP: £39,000 (US$47,000)
Acclaim – The Karuizawa Whisky Stage
Although the original Karuizawa distillery closed more than two decades ago, Japanese spirits retailer Dekantā managed to get hold of some the last drops of liquid produced in the stills used in those final years, placing them in this ultra-rare three bottle set, of which only 50 were made available.
For its rarity, it’s appropriately priced at £41,092 (US$50,000), and is also packaged accordingly within a Wajima Lacquerware cabinet that features 24-carat gold leaf layering and a hand-painted design from Japan-based artist David Stanley Hewett, who has also worked on the US embassy in Tokyo, as well as the Ritz Carlton.
No doubt it would make an excellent collectors item for any whisky buff, though probably not something you’d want to wheel out casually at your next dinner party.
RRP: £41,092 (US$50,000)
Dictador M-City Golden Cities Series
Ever fancied heading to Colombia to make your own million-dollar rum?
Well, provided you were considered to be one of the ‘very few of the most discerning individuals in the world’, this could very much have been a possibility thanks to Dictador.
The rum producer’s M-City Golden Cities series saw invitees visit its art-masters distillery in Cartagena, where they were invited to choose from 110 private casks, and then, under supervision of the brand’s master blender, Hernan Parra, bring to life their own one-of-a-kind rum – which is presented in a handmade, personalised 24-carat gold one-litre bottle, obviously.
Prices for each bottle started US$1.5 million – it could have been more depending on customisable factors and specifications – and once those prices hit the US$1 billion mark, the collection concluded and no further bottles were sold. That was that.
Disclaimer: winning the lottery might not actually be enough to get your hands on this one.
RRP: From £1,227,795.00 per bottle (US$1.5 million)
Looking for more expensive spirits? Last week Sotheby’s unveiled the full line up of rare spirits going under the hammer at the Distillers One of One auction in October.