10 Most Expensive Whiskies in the World

The most expensive whiskies in the world cost between $10,000 and $630,000. Bottles of whiskey from $1 million to $7 million have been reported, but the catch is that one is encrusted with diamonds and the other is an April Fool’s joke.

The table below lists the ten most expensive whiskies in the world. The second most precious is a 64 year old Macallan in Lalique Cire Perdue crystal. The scotch was laid down in 1942 at the height of the second World War. The list includes four other Macallan vintages, two Glenfiddich and two Dalmore.

Whiskey can be Scotch, Irish, Bourbon, Rye or Canadian. It can carry flavours of rosewood, coffee, chocolate or cigar leaf. It has been savored for centuries by kings, counselors, artists and thieves.

most expensive whiskey macallan m

1. The Macallan “M”: $628,205

The most expensive whisky in the world is the Macallan “M” bottle. The whiskey sold for almost $630,000 at a 2014 Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong. That’s the steepest price ever paid for a bottle of whiskey in recorded history.

17 craftsmen worked for 50 hours each just to make the whiskey’s bottle. The “Constantine” decanter is named for the Roman emperor. The glass is hand blown, and 40 of the bottles were destroyed because of imperfections before perfection was attained.

The seven barrels that make up this whiskey were chosen from the master blender out of 200,000 barrels. The whiskey in those casks ranged from 25 to 75 years in age. The whiskey had notes of wood smoke, green apple, raisin and cinnamon.

Most Expensive Whiskeys in the World

2. The Macallan 64 Years Old in Lalique Cire Perdue 1946: $460,000

The second most expensive whiskey in the world is also the oldest Macallan vintage. The 64 year old scotch was bottled to celebrate the 15oth birthday of René Lalique. Lalique founded one of the world’s most respected crystal production houses. The whiskey was bottled in a Lalique decanter created with the lost wax or investment casting technique. This isn’t just a bottle of whiskey. It’s also a one of a kind work of art.

The bottle was auctioned through Sotheby’s in New York. It sold on 15th November of 2010 for $460,000. That’s the second highest price tag for a bottle of whiskey on record. The auction benefited charity:water, a nonprofit with a mission to supply clean drinking water to everyone on Earth. Before the whiskey was auctioned, it went on a world tour through eight cities. The auction is said to have helped more than 30,000 people.

The whiskey itself came from three casks laid down in 1942, ’45 and ’46. The bottle’s form comes from an 1820’s ship’s decanter. The artwork relief on the side depicts the oak woods and barley fields of the Macallan Estate in the North of Scotland.

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3. Yamazaki 50 Year Old: $133,999

most-expensive-whiskey-from-japanThe third most expensive whiskey in the world is the Yamazaki 50 Year Old from the Suntory distillery in Japan. Suntory is Japan’s oldest and most respected distillery. The Yamazaki Whisky is the company’s signature single malt. They call it “multi-layered with fruit and Mizunara aromas.” It’s been called a delicate yet profound experience, both spiritual and deep. It also comes in 25 year, 18 and 12 year vintages for those who’d rather not spend over $100,000 for a bottle.

4. Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve 1955: $94,000

Most Expensive Whiskeys Janet SheedA bottle of the world’s fourth most expensive whiskey sold for $94,000 in a charity auction in New York in March of 2012. There is some debate over the validity of the $460,000 Macallan in the #1 spot. The issue with that whiskey is that the decanter may have accounted for a significant portion of the price. In the case of the 1955 Glenfiddich there can be no such confusion. Sold in ordinary bottles, there were only 11 ever made.

The scotch was described by a taster from the Globe and Mail as straw-gold in color with an extremely light, near-mesmerizing taste. The barley flavor had hints of heather, pear and hay. It was purchased by a 46 year old property developer from Atlanta named Mahesh Patel. When asked, Patel declared that it was indeed worth 2,350 bottles of a lesser alcohol.

Janet Sheed was the oldest person in Scotland. The eleven whiskey bottled in her name comprised 11 bottles sold for charity. They raised $570,000 for charity and later sold for far more in private auctions.

5. Springbank 50 Year Old 1919: $78,000

springbank 1919 most expensive whiskeyMany of the world’s most expensive whiskies are available only in private auctions or from individual collectors. Their vintages have long since been bottled and sold off. They may have been sipped to the last dram, or a prized decanter may be secreted away in a mouldering steamer trunk somewhere. Not so the Springbank 1919. This bottle of 50 year old scotch can be had online, complete with an add to cart button right here. It’s in stock and next day delivery is even available inside the UK.

Described as one of the rarest single malts ever distilled, only 24 bottles were ever created. The malt was once listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most expensive whiskey in the world.

6. The Macallan 1926: $75,000

macallan 1926 most expensive whiskeyThe sixth most expensive whiskey in the world is the Macallan 1926 vintage. This fine old whiskey is the first of the Macallan fine and rare line. Distilled in 1926, this single malt marks the start of The Macallan’s “liquid history.”

A bottle of The Macallan 1926 vintage sold at auction in 2007 for $54,000. Another bottle is reported to have sold to a South Korean businessman for $75,000 in 2005.

Whiskey lasts longer than wine, and the Macallan is said to last longer than most whiskey. This malt in particular has the strength to age for 50 or more years in the barrel.

The 1926 vintage was hand-bottled at the distillery. No colors or water were added, so the dark color comes naturally from the oaken casks. The whiskey is unfiltered, which lends it more of the character of the original distillation.

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The Ten Most Expensive Whiskies in the World

The table below lists the ten most expensive whiskies in the world. Five Macallan vintages make the cut, along with two Glenfiddich and two Dalmore. A 1955 Glenfarclas also makes a showing with a price of nearly $11,000 for a single bottle.

Most Expensive Whiskeys
1Macallan M1939$628,205
2Macallan 64 Years Old in Lalique Cire Perdue1946$460,000
3Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve1955$94,000
4Springbank 50 Year Old1919$78,000
7Dalmore 62 Single Highland Malt Scotch Matheson1942$58,000
8Balvenie 50 Year Old1912$42,000
9Dalmore Selene 58 Year Old1951$35,000
10Macallan 50 Year Old1949$32,000

7. Glenfiddich 1937: $71,000

glenfiddich 1937 most expensive whiskeyThe 7th most expensive whiskey in the world is the Glenfiddich 1937 Rare Collection single malt. The whiskey has notes of cedar, treacle, burnt heather, chocolate and oak. The vintage comes from cask number 843, laid down in the year of the coronation of King George VI. Since then, it has been under the care of generations of master whiskey makers.

64 years later, only 61 bottles remained in the world. All of them have since been sold at auction. Some have since been drunk, but a fraction remain at large. The whiskey’s color is described as antique bronze and rich walnut. The bottle moved up the ranks of the most expensive whiskies of all time when a bottle of it sold at auction for $71,000 in 2012.

8. Dalmore 62 Single Highland Malt Scotch Matheson 1942: $58,000

dalmore most expensive whiskeyThe Dalmore Distillery was built by Alexander Matheson in 1839. This bottle of whiskey was named in his honor in 1942. It was reportedly the only one of its kind. There were ten other bottles from the same bottling that were given different names. This bottle reportedly sold at auction to an anonymous buyer, who opened it and drank it with his closest friends.

The Dalmore’s 12-point stag emblem comes from royal history. In 1263, King Alexander III of Scotland was charged by a stag. Despite the large hunting party, only one man acted to save the king. He was the Chief of the Clan MacKenzie, Colin of Kintail. For his bravery, the King awarded the clan the right to adorn their crest with a 12 point royal stag. When Clan Mackenzie took over operation of The Dalmore in 1867, they brought the symbol of their bravery to the whiskey they produced. Their fearlessness lives on in a whiskey famous for its boldness. The Dalmore is known for pushing back the boundaries of what’s possible with whiskey.

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9. Balvenie 50 Year Old 1912: $42,000

Balvenie most expensive whiskeyThe ninth most expensive whiskey in the world is The Balvenie 1962. The 50 year old single malt was bottled in 2012, stoppered into 88 gorgeous bottles. The liquor has its roots in Speyside, Scotland. Drawn from European oak sherry cask 5576, it has been at Balvenie distillery as long as Malt Master David Stewart. The whiskey’s wooden case is made from 49 wood rings and one brass ring.

Balvenie distillery was built in 1886 near Balvenie Castle, Scotland. Master blender David Stewart started work at the distillery in 1962. He is still there and is one of the longest serving masters in the whiskey industry. He pioneered a maturation technique using two casks, now used widely in distilleries around the world. He was the first malt master to use sherry casks in the aging process.

10. Dalmore Selene 58 Year Old 1951: $35,000

dalmore selene most expensive whiskeyThe tenth most expensive whiskey in the world is Dalmore Selene 1951. The 58 year old whiskey is named after “the Titan goddess of the moon.” The idea is that sunlight burns, but moonlight shines. There were 30 bottles of this malt created in the Scottish Highlands.

The whiskey has been described as heavenly, with notes of lime, grapefruit and mandarin. The Dalmore Distillery is located north of Inverness on the banks of the Firth of Cromarty. It overlooks the Black Isle.

Bonus: The Macallan 50 Year Old 1949: $32,000

most expensive whiskey macallan 1949The #11 most expensive whiskey in the world is The Macallan 1949 vintage. It sells online for $32,000. It has been described as having exceptional intensity. One reviewer cautioned that one must possess a high level of appreciation for such a treasure to buy it.

The Macallan Distillery makes the world’s third best selling single malt. Glenfiddich and Glenlivet are #1 and #2. The distillery distributes 500,000 cases per year, so rare bottlings like this are highly coveted. The distillery originally aged all its whiskey in sherry casks, but more recently has added bourbon casks to the line.

The small stills at The Macallan distillery are so unique they have appeared on the back of Scotland’s 10 pound note.

Most Expensive Whiskies with a Catch

All that glitters is not gold, and all that costs a lot is not exceptional whiskey. The whiskies below may have sky high price tags, but that doesn’t necessarily mean heavenly flavor.

Isabella’s Islay: $6.2 Million

isabella islay expensive whiskeyA bottle of whiskey worth $6.2 million sounds impressive. When the bottle is bespoke crystal encrusted with white gold and thousands of diamonds and rubies, couldn’t you just put 7UP in it and sell it for just about as much? Isabella’s Islay may seem to some like a gimmick whiskey. Then again, some of the whiskies listed above delve into collector territory, working blown glass and one of a kind crystal into the deal.

In these cases, it’s the rarity that drives the price up, not the whiskey itself. However, with the expensive spirits listed above, the distillery had a solid reputation before the pricey containers came onto the scene. Isabella’s Islay seems targeted more to the oil sheiks and the wealthy Japanese investors of the world than true lovers of whiskey.

Aisla T’Orten 1906: $1 million

aisla torten expensive whiskeyHere’s an expensive whiskey without the artsy bottle. Aisla T’Orten sells for just over $1 million. First listed on MasterofMalt.com, the whiskey is 105 years old. It’s described as “muscular” and “melodious.” There’s just one small problem: It’s an April Fool’s joke.

Despite its fictitious origin, the whiskey has been passed around in top ten lists online as a real elite spirit. Its nose has been characterized as bordering on wood varnish, with hints of butterscotch, coffee, black pepper and potpourri. Its palate is said to contain “an eruption of calves’ leather and mahogany.” It also has overtones of Christmas cask, with hints of uranium and mandolin.

Some of the people who have sampled this fine whiskey call it “wonderful,” “graceful” and “great with Coke.” It would really be something if Aisla T’Orten wasn’t an anagram for “It’s not a real” (distillery).