Being something of a middlebrow Scotch aficionado myself (if you're in the LA area, join the club!), I know something about spending money on liquor. When you first develop a taste for the stuff and start building a little home collection, you feel OK about anything that doesn't come in a plastic bottle. But it doesn't take long for your palate to graduate from bottom-shelf 10-year-olds to the older stuff, and that's when your little hobby can become a big pain! Absurdly old and rare wines have been sought after by collectors for a long time, but rare liquors -- and especially rare whiskies -- have only come into vogue in the last decade or so. As a result of this new market, we're now starting to see distillers release breathtakingly expensive bottles in excess of 30 and 40 years old. If you want to go broke getting drunk, now's probably the best time in the history of whisky to do it. Here are five of the best ways to do it.
1. $75,000 - The Macallan Fine and Rare Collection, 1926, 62 Years Old
Whiskies this old were almost unheard of until recently, and now they're making headlines. Macallan being probably the best-known "quality" single malt Scotch in the world (Johnnie Walker is blended), it's no surprise that they would take the prize for the highest pricetag. The oldest and rare of Macallan's super-elite, 10,000-bottle "Fine and Rare" Collection, this particular bottle was originally listed for a mere $38,000, but after a bidding war a South Korean businessman ponied up the $75k. Those interested in tasting this rarest of the rare should head to Atlantic City, where the Borgata Hotel's Old Homestead Steakhouse sells it for a dizzying $3,300 per shot.
2. $11,995 - Macallan Fine and Rare Collection, 1939, 40 Years Old
The distinction for "oldest whisky you can still buy" also goes to Macallan, who describes this WWII-vintage dram as having "powerful wood flavors." After 40 years in an oak barrel, I'd be shocked if it didn't taste like old furniture! But those of you clamoring to spend what granny left you in one go, and cop a pleasant buzz whilst doing it, can order some here.
3. $160,000 - Chateau Lafite 1787
OK, this is wine (is my bias showing?) but it's worth mentioning if only for historical interest. Unlike the whiskies mentioned here, this price refers not to a particular release of bottles belonging to one vintage, but to one bottle in particular. The wine inside it has probably long since turned to vinegar, but it's the bottle's former owner, and his historical significance, which makes the 1787 sought after. Handy with a pen, this particular owner labeled the bottle himself, and even scratched his initials underneath -- "Th. J." We'll give you a hint: he was one of the USA's founding fathers. (C'mon, people.)
4. $48,000 - Glenfiddich Rare Collection 1937
6 of the most expensive bottles of whisky ever -- sure to be considered chump change soon -- aren't available in Scotland. To find them, you'll have to head east, to the duty-free shop at Hong Kong's Chep Lap Kok Airport. That's right -- and if you're flying to the USA afterward, you may just have to stow it with your checked baggage and cross your fingers.
5. $58,000 - Dalmore 62 Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky
The story here isn't so much about the whisky itself as much as its sale -- only 12 bottles were produced in 1942, one of which was sold in 2005 to a businessman in a London Hotel, who uncorked and finished it on the spot with five lucky friends. (Bitterness and envy proceeded to rock the Scotch world.) Here's hoping he used the company card.