Over the past decade lifelong whisky lovers are continuously saddened, as prices of aged single malt whisky continue to soar. Your average 12 year-old bottle of Scotch has risen by at least 30-40% in just a few years, and while this is good news for the distilleries, fans on a budget are finding their favourite drams a little more “sour” than usual.
On the other hand, smart businessmen with little to no interest in whisky are investing in bottles left, right, and centre, hoping that the value of aged expressions will continue to skyrocket.
Don’t believe that single malt whisky industry is booming? Well, you need only take a peek at the world’s rarest whiskies, and their shocking price tags.
YAMAZAKI 50 YEAR-OLD – $129,000
The Yamazaki distillery is owned by Suntory, and is responsible for making the most popular and globally awarded whiskies to ever come out of Japan.
When the Yamazaki 50 year-old was released in 2005, each of the 50 bottles was estimated at ¥1m (approx. $9,200 today.) Suntory released the tasting notes at the time, defining it as “richly sweet and mature.”
Image via Dekanta
On October 2nd, 2016, a bottle of Yamazaki 50 year-old broke a Guinness World Record for the highest price ever paid at an auction for a standard-sized bottle of whisky. The winning bid was a staggering $129,186, meaning that the bottle sold for 13 times what it was priced at 11 years prior.
Aged for half a century in Japanese mizunara oak and distilled using Japanese barley and local Yamazaki water, expect a rich, malty sweetness and dried fruit, which is balanced out by subtle smoke and deep notes of sandalwood and oak. That is, if you ever get a chance to try it!
DALMORE 62 YEAR-OLD – $250,000
Sixty-two years. That’s an entire lifetime. When the Dalmore 62 year-old was released in 2002 it was considered the most expensive bottle of whisky in the world.
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Only 12 bottles were ever released, each containing spirit dating as far back as 1868. The whisky was presented in a bespoke hand-blown crystal decanter featuring a platinum cast of the iconic Dalmore stag’s head. Each decanter was encased in a handmade wooden case, each of which, Dalmore claims, took over 100 man hours to create.
Note the use of the past tense as, in 2011, the very last bottle of Dalmore 62 year-old was sold at Singapore’s Changi International Airport for an astonishing $250,000. The Dalmore 62 was rare upon release, now you’d have a better chance of seeing a dinosaur, than a bottle of this.
THE MACALLAN LALIQUE 64 YEAR-OLD – $460,000
Created by, perhaps, the most popular Scottish distillery in the world, the Macallan 64 year-old presented in a one-of-a-kind Lalique decanter is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Apparently, others seem to think so too, as the expression sold at Sotheby’s, the famed New York City auction house, for $460,000. That’s right, almost half a million dollars. It sold in 2010 and today, according to Guinness World Records, it remains the most expensive single expression of whisky to ever sell at auction.
Image via Macallan
The project aimed to raise money for charity:water, an organization which provides clean, drinking water to people in developing countries. Apart from the auction, an international fundraising tour raised a total of $600,000 for the charity.
While the Macallan distillery has since partnered with Lalique to bring us other extremely rare releases, this was the oldest and most limited. The last drop was probably consumed a long time ago, but who knows, a few drops may be locked up at some billionaire’s mansion, under high security
Some huge whisky collections went on auction this year, and the winning bids were astronomical. As whisky’s popularity rises, we expect to see more and more incredible releases hit the auction block.