Alcohol has been an integral aspect of human culture since 10,000 BCE. It has been consumed for pleasure, as a religious ritual, as a mind altering substance and as an escape from the pressures of survival.
Alcohol is consumed by many to feel cheerful or to get plain sloshed, but it is also consumed by connoisseurs who revel it the unique taste of finely distilled alcohol.
Rum, whiskey, Scotch, vodka, tequila, beer and wine are available at wine shops everywhere, but some of these alcohols are so rare and expensive that a bottle may stand in the owners bar for years, being drunk only occasionally.
Some are so expensive that they have never left the shelves of the distilleries that crafted them. Some gain their excessive pricing more for the bejewelled bottles than the fine distilling processes. Precious metals used for making bottle caps, designer wood and leather work on the cases and bottles also send prices through the roof.
Comparing the prices of the different drinks is best done by considering the different classes of alcohol separately.
- The Chivas Regal 50 year old Royal Salute costs $10,000. It was distilled in 1953 to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to receive a bottle. Only 255 bottles are left in the world.
- Macallan 1939 is a 40 year old Scotch, distilled in 1939 and bottled after forty years. A bottle costs a whopping $10,125.
- Glenfarclas 1955 was bottled in 2005 after 50 years of distilling. Priced at $10,878, one hundred and ten bottles flew off the shelf even before they reached the shelf; a testimony to the popularity of exquisite Scotch whiskey.
Single Malt Scotch:
- Dalmore 62 Single Highland Malt Scotch costs $ 58,000 a bottle. Only 12 bottles were distilled in 1942, but this malt is in such high demand that it was recently sold at an auction in Surrey.
- Kors Vodka 24k, comes in a striking handmade crystal bottle and sells for $ 24,500. The George V limited edition is the most expensive vodka in the world.
- The Diva V costs one million dollars. This unlikely price is derived from its diamond based purification procedure. The vodka is filtered through Swarovski Crystal Diamonds, which are also floating around inside the bottle and can be poured out to flavour the drink.
- Vodka that costs more than a fancy house sounds like a tall tale, and so it is. The Billionaire Vodka costs $3.7 million. Its fine distillation probably accounts for only a fraction of its cost. The flamboyant bottle that houses it is encrusted with 3000 diamonds. So far there have been no takers at the wine shops; this extravagance should perhaps find its way to the shelves of boutique jewellery stores.
- The Tequila Ley.925 costs $1.5 million. It comes in a platinum container studded with diamonds. As with the Billionaire vodka this brew has not found any takers.
- Legacy by Angostura was distilled in 2013 by master distiller John Georges to commemorate 50 years of Independence for Trinidad and Tobago. Only 20 bottles were distilled and sold for $25,000 a bottle. The bottle is designed by Asprey, jewellers to Prince Charles. It has a sterling silver cap and comes in a hand-made wooden leather bound case.
- The 1811 Chateau d’Yquem from Bordeaux, France, was awarded a perfect score of 100 by wine connoisseur Robert Parker. This rare vintage sells for $ 130,000 a bottle.
- Penfold’s Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 vintage has been uniquely bottled in a glass blown ampoule, holding one glass full for this divine liquid. It comes in a wooden case crafted by world class designer Andrew Bartlett. Only 12 of these ampoules have ever been marketed. An ampoule costs $170,000, making it the most expensive red wine in the world.