The Most Expensive Whiskey in the World

When money is no object, these bottles deliver

  • 10 Drink
  • Updated: Sep 30, 2016

The most expensive whiskey in the world, Isabella's Islay, costs $6,400,000. Think about it: for that much, you could stock up on nearly 2,500 bottles of Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old, one of the most expensive bourbons in history. It's clear that high-end whiskey tends to put other pricey spirits to shame.

In our efforts to settle an argument (and a few bets), we decided to catalog some of the standout bottles—and even though we were expecting some extravagance, the ceiling on these prices was still jaw-dropping.

The Most Expensive Whiskey, from Scotch to Bourbon

Isabella's was designed to be a superlative luxury product, to be fair, and most of what you're paying for is the diamond-, gold-, and ruby-encrusted bottle, but it's nonetheless astounding that anyone has ever really paid that for a bottle of whisky.

While scotch is responsible for most of the top spots on this list, we made sure to include some representative bottles from other categories as well. Despite not coming even close in terms of actual price, Michter's Celebration Sour Mash Whiskey and Pappy Van Winkle deserved honorable mentions, as well as Yamazaki 50 Year Old on the Japanese whisky side. When it comes to showing off your buying power, borders don't really seem to apply.

This isn't meant to be a comprehensive list, but instead a collection of the must-see standouts. And, thanks to the ever-increasing price of scotch (and whiskey as a category, due to unprecedented demand), there are sure to be some newcomers that will upset the order any day now. Luckily, for most of us, this is a spectator sport.

  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    Isabella's Islay holds the title of world's most expensive whisky, and it does so by a mile—well, technically by about 6 million dollars. While the cask-strength scotch inside is reportedly very good (though what self-respecting drinker would speak ill of a spirit they bought with the equivalent of a Beverly Hills mansion?), most of what you're paying for is…
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    The Macallan 64 Year Old in Lalique Cire Perdue is one of the most expensive whiskies in the world, selling at auction for $460,000 in 2010. Only one bottle was ever produced, and all of the proceeds went to benefit charity:water, a nonprofit that helps people in developing countries gain access to clean drinking water—as such, it's a bit less ridiculously e…
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    Dalmore 62 Year Old Single Malt Scotch once held, for a few brief years, the title of world's most expensive bottle of whisky. Only 12 bottles were ever made, released individually between 2002 and 2011. In that last year, the final bottle was purchased at an airport in Singapore for £125,000, roughly equivalent to $250,000 at the time. Compared to some of t…
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    The Dalmore 64 Trinitas Single Malt Scotch is a limited release of three bottles of extraordinarily old whisky. According to marketing materials on The Whisky Exchange, it contains spirits dating as far back as 1868, and at $145,000 (an estimate, as no price is currently listed through the retailer) it is one of the most expensive whiskies in the world. Of t…
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    The Balvenie 50 Year Old Single Malt Scotch is an extraordinarily expensive (and extraordinarily old) bottle of whisky, clocking in at an average retail price of $35,000—and like most scotch, that number is likely to only go up for the foreseeable future. There are a few different bottlings of this whisky, taken from different casks and presented in slightly…
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    The Macallan 62 Year Old Single Malt Scotch in Lalique crystal is part of the distillery's partnership series with, well, famed French crystal artisans Lalique. The series includes five bottles, each beautifully and uniquely designed, ranging in age from 50 to 62 years. This is the oldest (and priciest) expression, and according to Macallan it's practically …
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    Glenfiddich 50 Year Old Single Malt Scotch is the oldest expression from the famed distillery, and is only released in limited annual batches of 50 bottles (out of a total of 500). Averaging $22,000 at retail, it's also their most expensive product by a long shot. The current release was bottled from two casks, first filled in 1955 and 1957, and will be tric…
  • Single Malt Japanese Whisky
    Yamazaki 50 Year Old Single Malt Japanese Whisky is an extremely rare limited release, numbering just 150 bottles in total. According to retailers Master of Malt, it's "incredibly rich," "filled with aromatic wood, dried herbs and a barrage of exotic spices." They go on to call it "an elegant and mind-blowing single malt. Once-in-a-lifetime stuff for sure." …
  • Limited Release Sour Mash Whiskey
    Michter's Celebration Sour Mash Whiskey was produced in a very limited run of only 273 bottles in 2013, blended from a combination of 20- and 30-year-old casks. Even the label itself is elegant, made of 18 karat gold, and the price—nearly $4000—reflects that luxury-minded approach. Michter's Celebration Sour Mash is a bit of a white whale in the whiskey comm…
  • Straight Bourbon Whiskey
    Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old Family Reserve Bourbon (along with pretty much all of their whiskeys) has become something of a mythic bottle of booze. Thanks to a combination of production shortages—apparently aging bourbon this long loses a lot to evaporation, or the angel's share—and a drastic increase in demand over the last several years has caused its res…

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