The World's Most Expensive Bourbons


Recommended Posts

from the wine-searcher site.

The World's Most Expensive Bourbons

Nothing says Bourbon like a toasty char on a first-fill barrel.
© iStock | Nothing says Bourbon like a toasty char on a first-fill barrel.
We look at how Bourbon prices have shifted as interest in American whiskey has grown.
By Don Kavanagh | Posted Sunday, 07-Jul-2019
 
 

The Bourbon boom shows no sign of slowing, with a new generation of drinkers coming to appreciate its rich, sweet nature.

Perhaps that should read "new generations" – younger consumers are far more interested in whiskey generally than their elders and young Americans, in particular, are hooked on Bourbon, according to our search data. We'll be talking in more detail about that in a separate article next week but, for now, let's concentrate on the beauty of Bourbon.

Related stories:
The World's Most Wanted Bourbons
Whiskey's Wave Keeps Rolling
Dawn of the Two-Tier Drinks Market

One of the most beautiful things about it has always been its relative affordability. The most expensive whiskey on this list wouldn't make the top 25 most expensive Scotches, the dearest of which is almost 10 times the price of the top Bourbon. It's this value and reliability – and variety – that are attracting pocket-conscious consumers to the sector.

That's not to say that you can't spend a hefty sum on Bourbon. Prices have been edging upward as the number of Bourbon fans has increased and, while price hikes have been steady, they haven't been as dramatic as you'd expect for the volume of interest we've been seeing. That volume of interest has pushed three Bourbons into our list of the most searched-for wines, with Blanton's Original sitting at #25 in the overall rankings.

But we're not here to talk about popularity today, we're here to talk about conspicuous consumption and wealth signalling. Surprisingly, we've never run a most expensive Bourbon feature before, so we thought it was about time that we did. "Expensive" is, as I've said, a relative term, but there are a few eye-openers on the list.

And the one big difference that you'll notice from the most-wanted Bourbon list is the slightly diluted influence of the Buffalo Trace distillery; oh, it's here – especially around the top end of the list – but it is nowhere near as dominant as it has been on other Bourbon-related lists.

1. Eagle Rare Double Eagle Very Rare 20-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Top of the tree for Buffalo Trace's Eagle Rare brand, the outlandish average price of $20,354 is the result of its rarity – only 299 decanters were released. The decanters themselves come in a silver box and light up when opened. And the whiskey itself? It has a high rye content in the mash and it's bottled at 90 proof.

2. Old Rip Van Winkle 25-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Also produced at Buffalo Trace, albeit as a joint venture, the Van Winkle name is a storied one in Bourbon circles. Using wheat rather than rye in the mash bill, the Van Winkle range is highly sought-after and reassuringly expensive – in this case the average price is $19,782, a rise of more than $5000 in the past year.

3. Buffalo Trace OFC Bourbon A Bourbon that has actually seen a quite dramatic fall in its average price since last August, when it debuted on Wine-Searcher with an average of $16,746. It now sits at a slightly more sane $10,723.

4. Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Family Reserve 16-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon It's the Van Winkles again, with their 16 Year Old expression, which is slightly surprising, given the popularity and reputation of the 23 Year Old bottling, which sits outside this list with an average price of $3028. This version has actually fallen in average price since last year, dropping from $10,578 to its current $6368.

5. Michter's  25-Year-Old Single Barrel Bourbon When it comes to Michter's, you can pick up a bottle for around $50 or you can dig deep for this little beauty, at an average of $5085. Bottled at a lower proof than the average Bourbon, the end result tends to be a very smooth spirit and the 25-year-old bottling is exponentially so.

6. AH Hirsch Finest Reserve 20-Year-Old Straight Bourbon Distilled in the 1970s, the Hirsch Bourbons have long been favorites among connoisseurs and collectors. Its high prices are a reflection of the fact that it is no longer being produced, although the average price of this expression has come down by $2000 in the past five years, to $5009. 

7. Black Maple Hill 16-Year-Old Premium Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon A more recent addition to the Bourbon scene, starting production in the early 2000s. However, it has quickly garnered something of a cult following, partly due to the alleged involvement of one of the Van Winkles in the production. The average price has more than doubled in the past five years, from $1596 to $3891.

8. AH Hirsch Reserve 16-Year-Old Straight Bourbon Unlike its older sibling, this bottling's average price has increased steadily over the past five years, going from $1328 to $3301.

9. Old Fitzgerald Very Old Bourbon Another whiskey that leans heavily on wheat in the mash bill, Old Fitzgerald is a historic brand – it was distilled for medicinal purposes during Prohibition – that is currently produced by the Heaven Hill distillery. This expression has seen steady growth in the past five years, with the average price going from $1598 to $3207.

10. Parker's Heritage Collection 3rd Edition Golden Anniversary Bourbon Another product from the Heaven Hill family, this award-winning range of whiskeys is also a force for good – a portion of the price of each bottle goes to motor neuron disease research. After five years of fluctuations, its average price has settled at $3189.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a bottle of Black Maple Hill around here somewhere...   Non age statement bottle though.  IIRC paid $36/bottle and bought a case.  Saw a bottle sell recently for $700!!  It’s nuts what folks pay for hooch!!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keep in mind these values are from the Wine-Searcher site. A lot of the higher end bourbons I've looked at on there are either "showpiece" bottles (ones that shops keep on the shelf at ridiculous prices that they don't care if they ever sell because it looks good) or don't exist.

 

I had a Hirsch 20 stolen when my house was burglarized a few years ago. While my insurance adjuster was more than willing to pay for a bottle from a store or other provable retail establishment, it took me months to find one. Every store I tried to buy from on WS didn't actually have one, lol. I heard "yeah, that just sold this past week/month" at least 6 times. Bet you guys didn't know those $6k bottles of booze just fly off shelves, did ya?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, BuzzArd said:

I have a bottle of Black Maple Hill around here somewhere...   Non age statement bottle though.  IIRC paid $36/bottle and bought a case.  Saw a bottle sell recently for $700!!  It’s nuts what folks pay for hooch!!

It’s the old age-stated version that people are paying nutso prices for tho...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Psiman said:

Guess what it’s still Bourbon. Yuk!! I’ll take single malts thank you. No corn alcohol for me. Just my two cents 

I used to be snobbish that way, then I came to understand just how incredible bourbon (which is only partly distilled from corn, for the record) and rye could be - and how much more value for the dollar you get than with single malt scotch.  Now I can't imagine being without either American whiskey or single malts - I love them equally.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a decent number of vintage ones that fly under the radar Japanese bottles that collectors know (did you know Japanese at one point drank more bourbon than the US!?) and Willett bottles that go for multiple thousands.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, BuzzArd said:

A non age statement bottle that sold for $36 going for $700 is nutso IMHO... ?

IMHO any whiskey at $700 is nutso!  But while I've never tried the old 15-year it's a completely different whiskey (even different source) and I hear it's pretty amazing.

You see the same thing with Noah's Mill and some other KBD sourced whiskey - the long-gone age-stated bottles go for crazy prices on the secondary while the newer NAS bottles are shelf turds.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

Community Software by Invision Power Services, Inc.