Thursday, October 29, 2009

World's Most Expensive Whiskies.

On a recent trip to New York City a young man from Toronto stepped into Park Avenue Liquor Shop and bought a $10,000 bottle of single malt Scotch for his son.

"He wanted something very special," says Vice President Jonathan Goldstein, who sold him his second-to-last Macallan 50-year-old in its Lalique crystal decanter. "I don’t think he actually has a son--yet," says Goldstein. "In fact, I don't even think his wife is pregnant."

The man, barely 30, had flown into Manhattan but drove a rental car home to protect his purchase--one that will only increase in value until baby makes three.

01 - Macallan Fine & Rare, 1926 ($38,000 MSRP when released)

The oldest and most sought-after of Macallan's revolutionary Fine & Rare Collection is sold out. But for a mere $3,300 a dram, you can experience this unique Scotch whisky at the Old Homestead Steakhouse in the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J.

02 - The John Walker 1805 Pack ($20,000, according to manufacturer)

This cask-strength blend was specially created as an homage to John Walker. It's a blend of extremely rare whiskies, many from now-defunct distilleries and all ranging in age from 45 to 70 years old. Only 200 bottles exist, and none is for sale. Rather, each bottle will be presented, privately, to a select individual "who has made a significant contribution to modern life," says Brand Manager Bill Topf. Steve Fossett, the first person to zip around the world in a hot-air balloon was considered "bottle worthy." JW's keeping mum about other giftees.

03 - Glenfiddich Rare Collection 1937 [$20,000 (fetched at auction in NYC in 2006)]

Distilled in 1937, this spirit was aged in a hand-made oak cask for 64 years in a dunnage warehouse. In 2001, the cask yielded only 61 bottles of a rich and robust walnut-colored whisky with a nose of toffee, cinnamon and cloves and a sweet, cedar palate.

04 - The Balvenie Cask 191 ($13,000 at Park Avenue Liquor Shop in New York City)

On Jan. 26, 1952, cask No. 191, containing the last Balvenie single malt Scotch whisky from the 1950s, was laid down to mature in a single sherry cask in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. In 2002 the cask was emptied into just 83 bottles--the smallest Balvenie release ever. Only five bottles of this liquid, which hints at sherry and honey, were brought into the U.S. Each bottle is numbered, dipped in wax and hand-signed by Balwenie's master distiller.

05 - The Macallan Fine & Rare Collection, 1939, 40 Years Old ($10,125 MSRP)

A gentle step down from the 1926 Fine & Rare, the 1939 was first bottled in 1979, hence its designation as a "40 year old." In 2002, the entire Fine & Rare Collection was rebottled. Macallan describes it as having peaty and powerful wood flavors tinged with sweet toffee and dried fruits.

06 - Macallan Lalique. Current value: $10,000; (MSRP: $5,995)

In 2006, Macallan released its limited edition 50-year-old whisky in a sleek, specially designed Lalique crystal decanter and slapped a near-$6,000 price tag on it. Now this deep amber single-malt whisky--made with Golden Promise barley and with palatal notes of cumin, cardamom, dark prunes and chocolate--retails for almost double that.

07 - Bowmore 40-Year-Old ($7,000 MSRP)

This liquid spent the first 20 years of its life in a Spanish sherry butt, which in 1975 sprung a leak. Since no more sherry casks were available, the spirit was transferred to a bourbon cask, where it stayed 20 more years. No one knew how to inventory the barrel, so it was left to mature in a corner of the warehouse. Sometime in the late 1980s, Bowmore realized it had a most unusual whisky in the making and released it close to 10 years later.

08 - Johnnie Walker Blue Label Anniversary Pack ($3,500 MSRP)

Jonathan Goldstein, vice president at Park Avenue Liquor Shop, says this whisky--a limited-edition cask strength of their flagship blend, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, has been selling briskly. It comes in an original decanter created and engraved by Baccarat. Only 675 bottles of this premium blend (marked 1805-2005) were made available for sale in the U.S.

09 - Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1964 ($2,000 MSRP)

Over the years it has been a tradition at the Glenlivet Distillery for the master distiller to hand-select the most exceptional casks to be set aside to mature in the Glenlivet cellar. These casks were stored in the original warehouses built in 1858. For the past 150 years, the cool, damp environment has yielded whisky of distinct quality. The whiskies from these special stocks are bottled in a limited quantity. In 2004, when the 1964 vintage reached its peak of maturity, Glenlivet created 1,824 numbered bottles of this classic speyside whisky, of which only 800 were made available.

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