Alcoholic beverages are widely appreciated, having been consumed across the world throughout history for religious and recreational reasons. While most of us are content drinking inexpensive beer and wine products made for the masses, a wide variety of luxury alcohol is also available for those who can afford it. From rare bottles of wine and whisky through to extravagant cocktails with matching price tags, let's take a look at the world's most expensive alcohol products and take a sneak peak at how the other half live.
Despite the recent flourish of craft beers made in small batches, the humble amber beverage is often seen as a drink for the masses. While most beer is relatively affordable, 10-year old Vieille Bon Secours Ale is an exception to the rule at US$1,000 per 12-litre bottle. Another expensive beer is also the world's strongest, with Schorschbock 57 coming in with a price tag of US$275 per 330ml and an ABV of 57.5%. However, the world's most expensive beer title goes to a bottle of Allsopp sold in 2007 for US$503,300, with this single bottle of beer brewed in 1875 for an Antarctic expedition, meaning it can't even be consumed.
While luxury beer is relatively uncommon, the same can't be said for the wine and champagne market. An 1787 bottle of Chateau Lafite sold in 1985 for $156,450, thanks mostly to Thomas Jefferson's initials Th.J. etched into the glass. An extra-large bottle of 1945 Jeroboam from Chateau Mouton-Rothschild was sold for twice this value in 2007 at US$310,700, although the price per-glass was just one-third of the ancient Bordeaux. An 1811 bottle of Chateau D’quem sold for US$117,000 in 2011, with this ‘comet vintage’ produced in the harvest season following a comet sighting. If a glass of bubbly is more your style, a giant 20 litre bottle of Armand de Brignac Midas can be bought today for US$190,000.
The price of alcohol products often comes down to rarity, with vintage wines and aged spirits commanding the highest prices at auctions. Dalmore released their 62-year-old scotch in 2002, a drop that immediately became the most valuable in the world at US$180,000. Even the wood presentation case supposedly took 100 hours to create, with this price surpassed in 2010 when a 64 year old bottle of Macallan 64 in Lalique was purchased for $460,000. While whisky gets most of the attention at the top end of the market, a bottle of Legacy By Angostura rum will still set you back US$25,000. Luxury cocktails often combine rare and exotic spirits for mind-boggling price tags, with a single glass of the 'Gigi's' combining vintage champagne with an ultra-rare Armagnac brandy for US$14,000.
When it comes to the record-breaking end of the luxury alcohol market, it's more about the bottle than the drink inside. Diva Vodka comes in at third place at a cost of US$1 million, with the bottle’s core made out of Swarovski crystals. This seams cheap compared to a bottle of Henri IV Dudognon Heritage Cognac Grande Champagne at US$2 million, with a 100 year old ageing process combined with a bottle that has been dipped in 24 K gold and platinum and decorated with 6,500 brilliant diamonds. Surprisingly, the world's most expensive alcohol title goes to a bottle of tequila, with the Pasion Azteca Platinum Liquor Bottle by Tequila Ley costing a cool US$3 million, thanks mostly to its white gold and platinum bottle which has been studded with 6,400 diamonds.
Image source: Africa Studio