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This is the most expensive whisky in the world

Coveted, rare and exquisitely aged, the most expensive whiskies in the world come with soaring price tags.

Smoothness, provenance and complex, layered aromas are just a few of the hallmarks of an excellent whisky. But when the market value of a single bottle breaks into the six- and eight-digit marks, there has to be a little more to it. The most sought-after whiskies in the world are scarce, historically significant, accoladed and intricately crafted. Their values are usually elevated by limited production and appreciation over time, as well as high demand from collectors. From rare vintage releases to jewel-encrusted designs, premier online whisky retailer, The Whisky Masters, has identified the 10 most expensive whiskies in the world.

What are the most expensive whiskies in the world?

1. Macallan Valerio Adami 1926

The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 is at the top of the list, having fetched a whopping $4,153,000 at an auction in November 2023. This bottle, adorned with a label designed by renowned artist Valerio Adami, is one of only 12 ever produced, making it a true collector’s gem. According to Daniel Ufland from The Whisky Masters, “The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 is the epitome of luxury in the whisky world. Its rarity and artistic design make it a crown jewel in any collection.”

Bartender pouring whisky
© Adobe Stock

2. Macallan Michael Dillon 1926

Another Macallan treasure, the Michael Dillon 1926, aged 60, sold for $2,756,000 in October 2019. This unique bottle was hand-painted by artist Michael Dillon. Its exceptional craftsmanship and singular nature elevate it beyond a mere beverage, turning it into a valuable piece of art and history

3. The Emerald Isle

The Emerald Isle, aged 30 years, produced by The Craft Irish Whiskey Co., was sold for $3,796,500 in February 2021. This whisky comes with a Fabergé Celtic Egg, adding an element of opulence. The rarity and luxurious presentation make it a significant artefact, appealing to both collectors and connoisseurs.

4. Macallan Peter Blake 1926

Another 60-year-old whisky, the Macallan Peter Blake 1926, sold for $1,427,000 in October 2018. Designed by Sir Peter Blake, one of only 12 bottles, this whisky combines fine art with exquisite distilling. The limited edition nature and artistic collaboration make it highly sought-after among whisky collectors.

5. Macallan 1926 (Fine & Rare Collection)

Part of the Fine & Rare Collection, the Macallan 1926, aged 60 years, was sold for $3,607,000 in October 2019. Known for its age and rarity, this bottle is part of a prestigious collection that includes some of the oldest and most valuable whiskies. Its provenance and limited availability drive its high value, making it a prized possession.

Macallan 1926 whiskey bottle on rock by the beach
The Macallan 1926 is the world's most expensive whisky © Macallan

6. The Yamazaki 55-Year-Old Single Malt

The Yamazaki 55-Year-Old Single Malt, available for $1,061,000, is one of Yamazaki’s oldest releases. This Japanese single malt is a testament to meticulous craftsmanship and ageing, appealing to high-net-worth individuals who value quality and historical significance.

Suntory Yamazaki Distillery, Whisky Library
Suntory Yamazaki Distillery, Whisky Library © Suntory

7. Macallan Lalique 50 Year Old

The Macallan Lalique 50-Year-Old, available for $580,284, is part of the renowned Macallan Lalique series. Known for exceptional craftsmanship and design, this bottle exemplifies the perfect blend of fine whisky and artistic elegance, making it a significant collector’s item.

8. Macallan “The Reach” 81-Year-Old

At 81 years old, Macallan’s ‘The Reach’ is the oldest whisky ever released by Macallan, and has a value of $543,720. This bottle’s extreme age and the distillery’s rich heritage make it a valuable artefact, highly prized by collectors and connoisseurs alike.

Macallan The Reach whisky bottle
The Reach © Macallan

9. Macallan Anniversary Malt 50-Year-Old

The Macallan Anniversary Malt 50 Year Old, available for $345,722, celebrates Macallan’s storied history in whisky-making. This bottle is not just a drink but a celebration of tradition and craftsmanship, appealing to those who value the rich legacy of Scotch whisky.

10. Gordon & MacPhail Generations Glenlivet

The Gordon & MacPhail Generations Glenlivet, aged 80 years and available for $244,570, is one of the oldest single malts from Glenlivet. Bottled by Gordon & MacPhail, this whisky showcases the dedication and skill of generations of whisky makers. Each bottle tells a story, representing decades of tradition, craftsmanship, and expertise. So, the appeal of owning these bottles can go beyond taste; it can be about owning a piece of whisky history. “Owning such a bottle is like holding a piece of history in your hands, a testament to the artistry and passion of whisky-making,” Daniel Ufland says.

Whisky or whiskey?

Whisky without the ‘e’ is the typical spelling in the UK, Australia, Canada and most other countries, while whiskey is the usual spelling in the United States and Ireland. However, this category of spirits is nuanced. For example, Scotch is a whisky, but it cannot be called Scotch whisky unless it is entirely produced and bottled in Scotland, a rule governed by United Kingdom Laws. Similarly, bourbon is a whisky first produced in Kentucky, USA, and in order to bare the name ‘bourbon’ it must be made in the USA. But generally speaking, whisky is an umbrella term that refers to a group of spirits distilled from grains and aged in wooden containers, and can be straight or blended.

What’s the most expensive whisky in the world?

The most expensive whisky in the world is the Macallan Valerio Adami 1926, which sold for £2,187,500 (about AU$4,152,000 ) in an auction in November 2023.

What whisky sold for 2.7 million?

The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 broke a spirits sale record when it sold for 2.7 million USD during a Sotheby’s auction in London in November 2023.

Why is the Macallan 1926 so expensive?

The Macallan 1926 is an extremely rare vintage whisky that was distilled in 1926, with just 40 bottles released in 1986 after the batch aged for 60 years in sherry cask. Unavailable for public purchase, most of the bottles were offered to Macallan’s top clients. World sale records have previously been broken several times when different bottles have been put up for auction. The bottle also wears the Fine & Rare label from the 20th century.

How many bottles of Macallan 1926 exist?

Only 40 bottles of Macallan 1926 were produced. Several have been auctioned off to collectors and one was destroyed during an earthquake in Japan in 2011.

The information in this story was provided by The Whisky Masters.

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