There are few things as fine as relaxing with a glass of quality scotch, be it neat, on the rocks or with a single drop of water. Scotch whiskies express an unbelievable range of flavours, hidden beneath overtones of smoke, peat and wood. While most may never venture beyond Johnnie Walker Blue in price, there are those who prefer a dearer drop. Whether you have a pallet that can pick out the slightest notes or you’ve only just started to appreciate scotch, these special scotches are priced to impress.
These are some of the finest and most expensive scotches in the world, made more expensive by their rarity, age, quality and special bottles. In this list there are scotches that only ever had one bottle, scotches sold in fine decanters crafted by french crystal masters and scotches older than your grandparents. Getting your hands on any of these may be difficult and costly, but the flavours will speak for themselves.
If you’ve got something special to celebrate or just want to toast your own success, you may want to acquire one of these sought-after works of art. As luxury goes, few things impress discerning guests as much as a fine, rare scotch whisky poured from a fine decanter. If you’ve got a few thousand dollars lying around, perhaps one of the entries on this list might interest you.
Honourable Mentions: Isabella’s Islay – $6,200,000
Okay, this one isn’t a scotch because it was not made in Scotland. However, it is a single malt and deserves to be mentioned because of the insane price tag. The U.K. Luxury Beverage Company created a bottle encrusted with 8,500 diamonds and 300 rubies. The bottle is made of pure U.K. English Crystal. The whisky itself is rarely mentioned in light of how absurdly expensive the bottle is, although the makers insist it is great.
Chivas Regal Royal Salute – $10,000
This 50-year-old Royal Salute was bottled in 2003 as a special honour to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 50 years on the throne. She was coronated in 1953. There were 255 bottles produced and this one gets an honourable mention for its gorgeous hand-engraved 24-carat gold label.
10) Glenfarclas 1955, 50 years old – $10,878
This beautiful scotch was bottled in 2005, exactly 50 years to the day after its distillation. It was hand-picked by the owner of the distillery to celebrate the bicentenary of his relatives purchasing the distillery in the 19th century. All 100 bottles were sold before they were even produced once word got out about how good this whisky is. Some say this could be the best single malt ever made, certainly by Glenfarclas and perhaps by anyone. It smells of eucalyptus and toffee, tastes of charcoal and mixed fruit and has a long, oaky aftertaste. The bottle has a beautiful, classic appearance that is complemented nicely by the classic wooden box.
9) Dalmore 50 Year Old Decanter – $11,000
This Dalmore vintage is known for its intensity of flavour. Connoisseurs refer to it as “an unforgettable experience.” The flavour of this beautiful scotch is complex and attacks the palate immediately upon sipping. A drop of water may be a good idea with this one, as it was bottled at cask strength and is therefore extremely potent in flavour. By adding a drop or two of clean, distilled water, the intensity may be cut enough to allow for appreciation of the more subtle notes that make this scotch special. These include woody notes as well as some more subtle aromatics. It comes in a fine crystal decanter that is reminiscent of old European style, complemented nicely by the beautiful wood box in which the decanter is contained.
8) The Macallan 55 Year Old Lalique Crystal Decanter – $12,500
This fine whisky is bottled in one of the most gorgeous bottles of all time. Its beautiful shape and colour are reminiscent of old-world luxury and Egyptian hieroglyphics. With a dark rosewood colour and a nose of peat smoke, citrus and oak, this spicy tasting whisky will set collectors back $12,500. Part of the price is determined by the fine crystal decanter designed by the master crystal workers at Lalique Crystal, who make another appearance further down the list. For collectors of beautiful things and lovers of smoky, expensive whiskies, this bottle is a must-have. This one is built to stun.
7) Mortlach 70 Years Old – $28,000
This beautiful scotch comes in a unique teardrop-shaped bottle that showcases its gorgeous sun-bleached mahogany colour. It has a smooth, waxy mouthfeel and smells of fruit and recently-snuffed candles. This scotch is reputed as being perhaps the best tasting scotch of all time by connoisseurs. It has notes of tobacco, dried figs, and an intriguing light smokiness. Its age and quality drive the price to a cool $28,000. Only 54 bottles of this scotch were ever created, making it an extremely rare find.
6) Glenfiddich 1937 – $71,700
This extremely rare 64-year-old scotch was only ever captured in 61 bottles. As such, not a whole lot is known about the scotch in terms of its flavour, aromas or mouth feel. Presumably, at that age, it is rich, warm and smooth. The master distiller that first barrelled it noticed that it was an unusually slow-developing scotch, which has been nosed and tasted occasionally over the 64 years that it aged. Finally, in 2001, the master distiller said it was ready to be bottled. A single bottle was sold at auction for $71,700.
5) The Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare – $75,000
The Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare is appropriately named. It is a dry, concentrated scotch with a liquorice aftertaste. This bottle is part of the Fine and Rare series, in which Macallan showcases some of their best single malts from the entire history of the distillery. As the oldest in the range, it is famed for its rarity and depth of flavour. Only a few are released each year, making it a prestigious bottle to own for high-spending collectors.
4) Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve 1955 – $94,000
In the dark and cool of Glenfiddich’s warehouses, this fine scotch sat waiting from 1955 to 2011. After all that time, this whisky emerged with a fine light amber hue, tasting of barley and smelling of orange. Additionally, the scotch has a light, smoky flavour and comes in a gorgeous rustic bottle. For fans of the Glenfiddich distillery, this pricy item is certainly worth pursuing, if for nothing but the prestige. Its bizarrely light colour and unbelievable flavour are enough to impress anyone. If you’re looking for some real luxury and rarity, this bottle should intrigue you.
3) Dalmore 64 Trinitas – $153,360
Only extremely special single malts ever make it past the 50-year mark in the aging process. Fewer still reach the age of 64. Aging something for this long requires the masterful patience and restraint of multiple generations of master distillers. As such, only three bottles of Dalmore 64 Trinitas were ever produced, hence the name. One was immediately sold to a very privileged collector in the United States, while another remains in the Dalmore personal collection. The whisky has strong notes of raisin and Colombian coffee with hidden flavours of orange, mango and marzipan. The flavour is reputed to be extremely beautiful. These three bottles were each adorned with finely crafted pieces to complement the smooth silhouette of the bottles themselves, designed to be beautiful and sexy. These whiskies scream luxury and are highly sought after for their rarity and quality.
2) Macallan 64 Year Old in Lalique – $460,000
This fine whisky is made so expensive, in part, by its fine decanter. The ‘Cire Perdue’ decanter was hand-crafted by the master crystal workers at Lalique Cradles. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of the crystal company’s founder and namesake, they partnered with Macallan to create something truly special. Macallan created the whisky from three separate casks, each a sherry-soaked Spanish oak cask. The casks were filled in 1942, 1945 and 1946 respectively. The whisky sold at auction in November 2010 for $460,000. All proceeds of this sale went to promote the availability of clean drinking water in Africa. No other bottles were ever created.
1) Macallan “M” (1940) – $631,850
In January of 2014, a single bottle of Macallan “M” from 1940 sold at auction in Hong Kong for a staggering $631,850, making it the most expensive bottle of scotch ever sold. The scotch is recorded as having raisin and fruit overtones with slight notes of leather, lemon and cherry. It has twin flavours of green apple and vanilla, neither of which overtake the other. Part of what makes this whisky so expensive is the amount of time it has been aged. This variety was barrelled for a whopping 70 years before being bottled. Like the penultimate entry on this list, the bottle was crafted by the masters at Lalique to complement the mission of the whisky itself, which was to be the finest, most exquisite whiskey ever created.
This whisky has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most expensive scotch ever sold.