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Top 10 Most Expensive Libations

crubel . . . Comments

Many like to tilt one back now and again — or again and again. And the price of alcohol, in its various guises, ranges from free jailhouse hooch to holy shit! For the budget-conscious boozer there’s a certain cost-benefit analysis to purchasing your tipple of choice. For the uber-rich, getting lit never cost so much. Is it worth the price, or a case of fools and their money?

So we’re talking wine, Bourbon, Scotch, beer, Cognac, you name it. Some in the list are artifacts of history, some are still being made, and some are just plain kitsch. Ten different permutations of ethyl alcohol; the high cost of getting high:

10. $100 Market Price — $7,686 for One Bottle of Beer

200Px-Tutankhamunale.Jpg

It stands to reason that the working man’s Champagne is the only product on this list that the working man can afford. But at $100 a bottle, Sam Adams’s “Utopias” is too rich for my blood alcohol level. It does come bottled in a cute, brewing-kettle shaped bottle, and with an alcohol content of 25% by volume (strongest beer in the world), it gives a bit of bang for the buck.

However, $7,686 was paid at auction for the first bottle of Tutankhamun Ale. It was developed by Cambridge University scientists who gleaned the recipe from hieroglyphics and brewing dregs from the catacombs of one of Tut’s in-laws. The remaining lot of beer was sold for about $76 per bottle.

9. $350 Bourbon

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Evan Williams 23 year old Bourbon tops the bourbon elite with a price tag of $350. It is available only at the distillery.


8. $10,000 Cognac

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The big Cognac houses always seem to one-up each other for the distinction of super-duper-ultra-deluxe-mega-killer-kick-A Cognac. The latest entry is Remy Martin’s venerable Louis XIII’s upscale “Black Pearl,” selling for over $10,000 a bottle. Unlike the regular Louis XIII bottling (about $1500), Black Pearl is blended from 1200 different eau-de-vie raging in age from 40 to 100 years. It’s so exclusive that it’s sold by invitation only. Lowlifes can’t even look at the product at their website without a password. (Oo la la!)

7. $14,730 Bottle of Champagne

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Yes, I know Champagne is wine and I already have a wine category, but it deserves a special category because it’s… well its Champagne!

In 2005, a Methuselah of 1990 Louis Roederer Cristal, fetched $14,730 at auction. A Methuselah (explanation) is a giant bottle of Champagne equal to eight regular sized (750ml) bottles. So, really it was only like $1,841.25 a bottle. What a deal!


6. $54,000 Rum

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Irie irie, mon! Jamaican rum for $54,000? Four bottles of this rum bottled in the 1940’s were discovered recently. Why it’s believed to be so valuable, I do not know. I didn’t think rum was trendy enough to fetch this price. Maybe Bob Marley pickled something in it.

5. $75,000 Scotch Whisky

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With a release price of $38,000, a bottle of The Macallan “Fine and Rare Collection,” 1926, was sold to a South Korean businessman in 2005 for $75,000. Unlike many other products on this list, this bottle is not a collectable for collection’s sake, nor an excuse for a lavish bottle. The money paid for this Scotch is money paid for the stuff in the bottle, and it‘s meant to be drunk. For these reasons, I elect The Macallan as the most expensive social lubricant on Earth. If you’d care to try it without investing in a whole bottle, an Atlantic City casino sells a 2oz. pour for only $3,300!


4. $160,000 Bottle of Wine

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At a 1985 Sotheby’s auction, a bottle of 1787 Chateau Lafite was purchased for $160,000. Even without adjusting for inflation, this still stands as the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold (or bought even). Why so much for an undrinkable bottle of rotted vinegar? This relic was in the proud possession of Thomas Jefferson, whose initials are etched into the bottle.

3. $200,000 Bottle of Irish Whisky

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Found in 2005, this century-old bottle is from Ireland’s Nun’s Island distillery (defunct since 1908). Attempts to locate a sample came to naught until a lady, unsolicited, walked into a liquor store with a bottle in hand. She thought it “might be worth something” and wanted to see if the proprietor knew what it might be worth. It’s worth something, but priced at over $200,000 it has yet to sell in over 2 years. When it sells, it will be by far the most expensive bottle of whisky or whiskey. Any takers?


2. $1,000,000+ Bottle of Vodka?

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How crazy will the trendy, high-end vodka craze get? I’ve always been fairly certain vodka is all about a cool bottle and a hip name. Now I’m certain. “Diva” vodka seeks to trump all-comers — game, set, and burp. This triple distilled vodka, like many other vodkas, is also charcoal filtered. The charcoal in Diva’s case comes from a different array of carbon bonds; the vodka is filtered through crushed diamonds. But what really ups the price is the custom-made bottle. Inside each bottle is an array of real gemstones, the quantity and quality of which depend on how much you’re willing to pay. A high-end bottle of Diva (“low-end” being $3,700) will cost you more than a million dollars. Wanna do shots?

1. $1,500,000 Bottle of Tequila?

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Tequila Ley .925 sells a 6 year old 100% Blue Agave Tequila in a pure platinum bottle for $225,000. Yes, some sucker actually bought one. If you’re on a budget, you can get the half-gold, half-platinum version for $150,000.

The company now produces a one million Euro bottle ($1.5 million USD) which is platinum encrusted with diamonds. They must be a bit hard-pressed to sell it, since they offer a one hundred thousand Euro finder’s fee if you can find a buyer. If the bottle sells, it’ll be the most expensive bottle of any alcohol. Curiously, the company is not too discriminating as to what goes in the bottle; they’ll fill it with some Cognac if you prefer.

BONUS: Most Expensive Bottle of Wine Never Sold?

In 1989, another of Thomas Jefferson’s Bordeaux’s (this time a 1787 Chateau Margaux) was taken to the Four Seasons restaurant in New York to show it off. Near the end of the evening, a waiter bumped the dinner table and upended the wine, resulting in a total loss. A total insured loss of $225,000. Cheers!

Contributor: crubel



  • I agree with you on the vodka. I almost only drink spirits…not a big fan of beer/wine here. I’ve had some pretty expensive Croatian vodkas at restaurants, and they don’t even match up to good ol’ Red Square. I know, it’s embarrassing to admit, but I do drink it. =(
    The only thing that needs to be avoided is Tesco Value Vodka. A friend of mine bought me some of this as a joke, and it’s absolutely lethal. It gave me the worst hangover I’ve EVER experienced. The said hangover lasted almost 2 days.

  • StewWriter

    Wow, this list was well worth the read. Now, I am not a liquor fan by any stretch of the imagination — too many drunken nights off of too many bad boozes I suppose– I am more of a beer fan, however I always spring for the higher-end beer since I retch at domestic (around here that’d be Miller, Bud, Michelob and the like). Fortunately i hail from a city with a slew of micro-brews including Bells beer and it is one of the finest I’ve had here or anywhere. A six pack of the best of the Bells, generally Two Hearted or an Oatmeal Stout can run you about 8-12 bucks, and that’s pretty high, I guess. Anyway, a great list and I love the pictures!

  • i feel drunk just reading this list. I think i may have to get some CR tonight!

  • Mathilda

    I like good alcohol as much as the next person, but I don’t understand the point of buying something because the bottle is pretty or just to keep it and own it. Apparently there is some question about whether the Thomas Jefferson wine is even real (as in, really ever owned by him, and really from that time period). You can read a long article about it here. I thought it was quite interesting; all about wine counterfeiters, wine dating, and people with more money than sense.

  • Wow…and I thought Patrone was expensive. o.O

  • aplspud

    Ryan: I once imbibed on a clear alcohol with the moniker (I kid you not) “Vodka of the Gods” and I can attest it surely was not.

    This list is difficult, since some of these are to drink, some are not, some the high price is almost strictly for the packaging (platinum bottle!?) and some have high prices through auction, which often belies true value. I’d be interested to see a list of high priced alcohol based completely on the market drinking price.
    Also, how about a list of the cheapest liquors? Boone’s Strawberry Hill anyone?

  • crubel

    StewWriter: thanks, and I’m a big fan of 2-Hearted Ale. It’s borderline audacious to make such a hop-heavy beer in this day and age, but it fits the style and I love it. No other beer comes as close to smelling and tasting fresh hop flowers. It’s good beer is considered “low brow,” since you can by world class beer on a beer budget. Equally wolrd-class wine is unapproachable.

    Mathilda: I certainly agree, which is why I was interested in the list. Call it conspicuous foolishness. Also, thanks for the link. It’s an excellent (and fascinating) article.

    aplspud: my research indicated the most expensive market prices (ignoring auctions) are the super high-end Cognacs ($10,000 bottle above), the rare old Scotches that are just now being released (like the $38,000 Macallan above), Krug for initially released Champagne, Conti for Burgandy, Petrus for Bordaux, and believe it or not an Ontario winery is charging $30,000 for half bottles of their icewine.

    For the cheap stuff I originally had a link for it. Check out http://www.bumwine.com. Perhaps it’s in bad taste, but still funny.

  • Gryphon

    Not the list you want to be reading the sunday morning after the night before. That’s the price you pay for drinking cheap Korean beer.
    What’s the most expensive bottle of Irish Whiskey that actually sold?

  • aplspud

    Thanks Crubel :)

  • drb0b

    Thought you might like to know that number 4, the Jefferson Wine, has been shown to be a fake, as have many other high-priced vintage wines. Kind of puts the whole thing in perspective, $160,000 dollars for a bottle of wine made in a garage in Germany :).

    Part of the story is here, it’s pretty interesting;

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article1496835.ece

  • Thomas

    Make a list of worlds best beers. I’m sure Belgian beer will fill the top 10

  • Drogo

    Thank you but I’m perfectly happy with my Budweiser, Jack Daniels, and JaegerMeister.

  • Fallenangel

    That is one bill on a night out I wouldn’t want Thank$ for a great li$t

  • tjgrs

    I’m a captain’s fan myself…but when it comes down to it, sam adams is the best beer there is (might also be because im proud im from boston, but its also very very good)

  • JOE ROSSON

    Hey JF, how about a list of the most potent cannabis, that would make for some interesting comments.I bet you could find a good lead in High Times. A few are “White Widow” “Purple Kush”and “G-13”

  • JOE ROSSON: Great idea – why not put it together and send it to me :)

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  • JOE ROSSON

    OK, I’ll give it a shot.

  • WOW….The Vodka, is amazing. BEST BOTTLE DESIGN EVA! If I ever become famous, that’s the….firs…no wait, secon….damn it! It’ll be the 421st item I’ll buy.
    ;]

  • vikas

    Great, its nice to find such details with photograph of bottles as it is most imperative for a prospective hotelier like me .
    Be sure to mail me when these bottles are sold and the beverages which are taking place of it

  • As a mexican I am proud with a tequila in the #1. Anyway you can have the very best tequila in Jalisco, Mexico for arround $300.00 usd , wich is a great investment. So, take a nice holliday in Puerto Vallarta, then go to buy your investment and wait a few years for a great profit. Without a doubt …..

  • Jake

    StewWriter:

    Bell’s Oatmeal Stout is the tits! Love that stuff! I live in Miller country and most Milwaukee-ans prefer the micros around town more the the piss-water Miller brew (Sprecher & Lakefront being the biggies). Being a Bell’s man, I think you’d enjoy these too…

  • Diogenes

    OOOOhhhh. This is what (m-b)illionaire drunks swill! And out of a glass slipper I suppose?
    Your probably right A.Cisterna- an investment. All rarities, in some form or another, have collectors.
    Tequila!

    That Whisky story is pretty interesting.
    How many of these have been tasted? Drop dead to find out!

    I was watching the tv brodcast the other night on the findings of the famed pompeii disaster of rome, and they were showing this guy on his hands and knees digging through the ancient sewer pipes with glee. The said he was digging through rich soil deposits, or something within that vein…Translate that to “ancient poo”. Is Scatologist the proper title?

    very informative list by the way.

    My point being with the sewer drudger, is that of “history” . When artifacts are unearthed or redicovered or accidentally discovered, or held onto in private hands/families or forgotten and re-discovered by populiar demand—these museums and monies and selfish lots and hoarders and thieves, allow for some sort of earthly-human-identity to churn.

  • Diogenes

    what is that “identity” you might ask.
    If the “spirits” of momentary dwelling
    is scattered out

  • Cool, I drink Evan Williams whiskey. :)

  • dahnz

    Geez and i thought gas way expensive… haha
    I want that tequila bottle… it is so pretty!

  • Malfore

    I just feel sorry for that waiter in the bonus one….you know hes still paying that off

  • Frank

    I like a good wine that will make me go gay for the night. Everytime i get a cheap bottle of wine, i just cannot go gay for the life of me. Beer never works either. The white wines seem to help me get gay faster. But red always makes me tired.

  • Q

    WOW, they should have listed these on Billionairexchange.com.

  • richie

    How can I buy all of those?

  • dragonfire

    I would rather smoke a joint of good bud…No hang-over no alcoholism..hahahahaha just a happy buzz and not at $1,000,000…never been a big boozer…I once turned down a shot of Scotch worth $350 a bottle..or about $15 a shot..Scotch turns me into a raving lunatic. 2 fingers of Chevias and 2 points of beer on my birthday saw me sleeping like a baby after room spins..hahahahaha Keep the booze at any price

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  • ????

    ?????! ??????? ??????????? ????? ?? ????? ??????????…

  • manuel

    YEAHHHHHHHH!!!!!

  • manuel

    YEAHHHHHHHH!!!!! TEQUILA RULES!!!!!!!

  • matt

    Plural is eaux de vie.

  • Mathilda,

    I'm a spirits and beer drinker….at 36, I still can't tell the differences in wines…BUT, what a great link you posted! I was glued to my chair. It read like a Deaver, Brown or even a Rowling tale of conspiracy and intrigue!!

    Thank you soooo much for opening my eyes to the world of wine…or should it be whine?

    Great list and cheers to everyone!

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  • Andy

    i think the vodka and tequila are kind of unfair as the top entries because a lot of the cost is the bottle… i mean just compare their bottles to the whiskey's

  • Mrs.Holcomb

    I am looking to sell a bottle of inported Vodka, it was bottled in Russia 2/14/ 1928, still has seal. Asking for 55,000.00.

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    What is a Bottle of 1955 Crown Royal Worth?

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  • mosomoso

    I love to collect and drink puerh tea. But not this much:
    http://ancientteahorseroad.blogspot.com/2007/01/p

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  • People are nuts….However, I did pay $250 for a bottle of Macallan’s Single Malt once…..Good Stuff

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