For any whisky enthusiast, the prize of the barley-based liquors is a fine Scotch.
Given the constant, and increasing, demand for scotch, producers have driven up prices of certain top scotches to outrageous levels.
These liquors are for the extreme connoisseurs (who also have unreasonably deep pockets).
Keep in mind that not all sales of Scotch are recorded and released as public information.
The following mentioned are the most expensive scotch whiskies sold at public auction. It’s more than likely other high quality Scotches circulate shadow markets at even more ridiculous prices.
The 5 Most Expensive Scotch Whiskies
So here they are:
The 5 most outrageously pricey scotches in the world, from the least to most (relatively speaking) expensive.
5) The Macallan 1926
With three different types of scotch in the top five (…or six), Macallan deserves serious consideration as the world’s top producer of high quality scotch.
As part of their “Fine & Rare” collection, The Macallan 1926 was aged 60 years before being bottled in 1986.
Forty bottles were initially created and sold at increasing prices through the years.
By 2007, at the first liquor auction held in New York State since prohibition, a bottle of Macallan 1926, valued at $38,000, sold for $75,000 after a bidding war was eventually won by a South Korean businessman.
Unlike all the others found on this list there is, incredibly, a bar that serves the 1926.
Borgata Hotel’s Old Homestead Steakhouse located in Atlantic City will serve a shot of this scotch to accompany a New York Strip, T-bone, or whatever cut you’re meant to pair with one of the world’s most expensive Scotch whiskies.
At $3,300 per ounce and half of steak, you better get a damn nice cut of meat.
The nose of the 1926 has touches of peat, oak, resinous spices, as well as hints of fig and other rich dried fruits.
The dried fruit flavor carries over to the palate and is joined by molasses, treacle toffee, dry root and licorice.
The finish is heavy with the barrel flavor of cedar, oak and other wood.
For a single malt whisky, the defining trait of the 1926 is the ability to retain its character through such a lengthy maturation process.
4) Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve (1955)
Our next rare and exorbitantly priced scotch is Gledfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve.
The batch is named after the granddaughter of the company’s founder, who passed away at 110-years young.
Only 15 bottles were made, and just 11 were made available to the market, the four other bottles kept by the Roberts family.
So how much is it?
The price tag for a bottle of this rare and expensive Scotch was about $94,000. Unfortunately, all 11 bottles have been sold.
The flavor of this Scotch is light and a woody-oak.
It’s flavor is reminiscent of other Glenfiddich whiskies, yet the hints of barely, hay, pear and heather are brought out in their purest forms.
The finish is faintly spicy, with a touch of nutmeg and cured-meat. The Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve is often described as the epitome of smoothness.
3) Dalmore 64 Trinitas (1946)
Keeping Macallan from a three-peat atop the category of most expensive Scotch whiskies ever sold is a former world record holder: the Dalmore 64 Trinitas.
As its name might indicate, only three bottles of this single malt were ever released.
Conceived with the final contents from the barrel of its precursor, the Dalmore 62, the trifecta was born after blending it with a 1940’s vintage scotch.
That initial Dalmore 62 blend is allegedly made from a composite of whiskies, one of which dates as far back as 1868.
When sold at auction in 2010, the first two bottles of the trio came out just ahead of Macallan’s Lalique Cire Perdue and became the first Scotch whisky to sell for six-figures.
Each bottle went for roughly $160,000 during an annual Whiskey Show that also featured a random drawing allowing one lucky attendee to sample the batch.
The nose is comprised of many disparate flavors including sweet raisin, crushed walnut, bitter orange and Columbian coffee.
These prominent features mix subtle notes of grapefruit, patchouli, white musk and sandalwood.
Following that initial taste are hints of caramelized apples, figs, mangoes, and sultanas lead into the eventual lingering finish of vino dulce muscatel, roast coffee, soft licorice, marzipan and treacle toffee.
Similar to the Lalique, this whisky has an amazingly complex flavor profile
Oh, by the way – the final bottle has yet to be bought.
Think about it…
…it could be yours for just over $150K!
2) Macallan’s Lalique Cire Perdue (1946)
Price: $460, 000
The Lalique Cire Perdue was sold in 2010 at the bargain price of just $460, 000.
Until the “M” was auctioned off, the Lalique Cire Perdue was the Guinness World Recorder holder for most expensive Scotch whisky.
It comes in a floral patterned carved-glass decanter that seems right out of the Victorian Era. The Scotch is now a 68-year old single-malt.
The batch itself comes from sherry-seasoned, Spanish Oak.
The initial taste has a wide breath of flavors: peat smoke, orange peel, cedar wood, and muscovado sugar, spiced with cinnamon and cloves.
The flavor then transitions into tastes of rosin, blood orange, cocoa, walnuts, treacle, and more peat smoke. That peat lingers in the finish and is paired with subtle notes of dark chocolate.
Overall, it is a complex, and very unique, combination.
1) Macallan “M” (1940)
Price: $631, 850
Earlier this year, a single bottle of Macallan “M” scotch was sold at auction for a staggering $631, 850.
It’s another variety that remains shrouded in some mystery, but its cost seems to be wholly a reflection of its quality.
Because of this “M” more appropriately holds the crown of most expensive scotch.
The Macallan “M” is a single-malt, that has been matured (hence the M) for over 70 years. To put this into perspective, the finest Scotch most of us will ever taste will likely be aged 25-years.
At 70 years, M is a veritable specimen and is being enjoyed by just one person in the entire world.
The Macallan “M” is rich in a resin-y and raisin-y flavor, with the body filled out by cherries and fruity overtones.
The subtle tastes of lemon, cedar, apple, violet and leather sit on palate and lead finally into the tobacco-flavored finish.
0) Isabella’s Islay*
On paper, the mysterious Isabella Original edition sits as the most expensive scotch available with a retail cost of $6.2 million.
The caveat with this ridiculously expensive single malt is that much of its cost is a due to the diamond-encrusted decanter it’s bottled in. The decanter has 8,500 diamonds and 300 rubies for good measure.
Given this, it is hard to believe that the main determinate of the price is the quality of the whisky.
The Isabella Islay seems to have cheated a bit, but nonetheless it can technically be considered the most expensive Scotch.
The taste profile is unknown as no deep-pocketed connoisseur has been bold enough to pay the seven-digit asking price for this exorbitantly whisky.
If you’re someone who makes less than seven-figures, or simply a rational person, you’ve likely wondered while reading this how anyone could spend so much on a bottle of Scotch.
Even most multi-millionaires would probably balk at the ridiculous prices for how much liquor you’re actually getting.
Is it really possible to love Scotch so much you’d spend more than a college education for a dozen or so glasses of it?
In reality, for most of those paying these enormous sums, such a purchase represents an investment.
Scotch whiskies of this caliber are extraordinarily few and far between.
With projections indicating a trend of increasing demand within this relatively young luxury-commodity market, collectible Scotch has quickly become a savvy way for the rich to get richer.
As proof of this, in less than 10 years both the Dalmore 64 Trinitas and it’s predecessor, the Dalmore 62, saw a nearly 105% increase in value.
That being said, for a handful of others buying these very expensive Scotch whiskies, it’s simply about indulgence.
In 2005, the Dalmore 62 became the most expensive bottle of Scotch whisky consumed in one sitting when six businessmen finished a bottle bought for $58,000. As a tip for their server they left the last sip of the bottle, a single droplet worth roughly $1,700.
It should be noted that the sales collected at the auctions of almost all the varieties mentioned here were subsequently donated to charities.
Turns out expensive scotch whiskies actually make the world a better place.