There are a lot of bucket lists that include drinking really old whiskey and in some cases, a decades old bottle of whiskey really is a fulfilling experience. The older whiskey gets, the more time it’s had to develop complex flavors and character, making it a more interesting sip. But people should also realize, getting older doesn’t guarantee that it’s going to be better, only that it’s going to be more expensive, and you definitely don’t have to spend that much to get a great tasting whiskey. We’d much rather get thirty or forty bucks together and drink a good bourbon or rye than drop a couple hundred or even a couple thousand on what could amount to chewing the inside of an old oak barrel. Because what we found pretty quickly was, the alternate title for this list could easily be, “The 6 Most Expensive Liquids You Won’t Believe You Just Spent Money On.”
Macallan 37 Year Old
This bottle is two kinds of old. First off, it was distilled in 1937, which means if the product were human, it’d be just past its life expectancy. Second, it was bottled in 1974, meaning this thing’s had 42 years of limbo time since it came out of its barrel. To be clear, keeping the whisky in a bottle longer doesn’t do anything to the taste or feel or anything like that. We’re not dealing with wine here. At the most, it enhances that particular run’s reputation and allows Macallan to up the price each year. But we have to say that the opportunity to drink a single malt put in glass back when our parents still had baby teeth is an intriguing one. $32,375
Yamazaki 50 Year Old (2005 Release)
Japanese whisky’s always been somewhat pricey, but now that more people are starting to get into the drink, the prices are starting to get a little more approachable. Although, this probably isn’t the first place you should go if you’re looking to join the scene. For the money, you could just go to Japan and get personalized tours of distilleries with tastings thrown in.
If you do spend the money though, you’ll get one of the rarest bottle of whisky on either side of the Pacific. It’s a bottle of 50 year old whisky first released in 2005, and is a part of the same line as the whisky that won double gold medals at the San Francisco Spirits Competition. The winner was the 18 year old variant, so if the young one’s that good, then the 50 must be something unlike most whiskies on the market. $134,000
Glenfarcas 60YO #1672
This is the first bottle of whisky on the list that could probably be considered elderly. This is the whisky that doesn’t understand where all these new punnily named coffee shops are coming from. This is the whisky that has jelly spearmint leaves in a decorative crystal jar in its wallpapered living room. This is the whisky that drives the Buick that made you late to work this morning.
Of all the whiskies on this list, this is the one with the most interesting color. It’s a mix between traditional whisky color and a deep red wine, and comes from the Sherry casks it’s aged in. The tasting notes have it being one of the longest finishes of any whisky they’ve sampled, which is totally believable. There’s no way you can spend as much time in an old barrel as this whisky without getting some long lasting consequences.
For your money you’re getting some slick presentation as well, with a fancy bottle, case, and decanter stopper. You should be able to get some years out of this one and you’ll definitely want to. This isn’t the kind of bottle you pop and finish. Ripping shots of a sexagenarian just doesn’t feel right. $14,583
Royal Brackla 1924
Royal Brackla is a mix of the Japanese and Scottish markets in that the Scottish bottled this particular run for the Japanese in 1984. When they bottled it, it had been aged for 60 years and that was in 1984. Another 32 years in the bottle puts this whisky at 92 years old, but remember, whisky doesn’t age once it’s been bottled. This won’t ever age to be more than a 60 year Scotch, even if it does keep getting older. That’s actually the reason we didn’t put this whisky last. It’s easily the oldest time-wise, but it’s not the most aged whisky you can buy. $16,007
It comes in a straightforward but extraordinary tear shaped, hand blown crystal decanter that’s as much a piece of glass art as it is a container for whisky. The complete lack of embellishment emphasizes that the whisky is the important thing here, not the container. The whisky’s supposed to be some of the best ever made too, with a unique flavor that only seven decades in a barrel could create. It’s supposedly a malt like no other, so if you find yourself trying to figure out what to do with twenty grand, get yourself this whisky and a candy bar with your leftover dollar. $19,999
When it was released in 2010, the Mortlach 1938 was the longest aged whisky the world ever sipped. Distillers Gordon & MacPhail then broke their own record with Mortlach 75 Year Old, a Scotch Whisky aged for three quarters of a century. It was well received by most, though maybe somewhat hyperbolically.
To us, the most impressive part of the 75 year whisky, and by extension, all whisky older than a week, is the patience it takes to make it. For a 75 year whisky, if 75 years is the original plan when you first pour it into its cask, you do so knowing you most likely won’t be alive to drink it. And possibly your children won’t be either, making your grandchildren the ones who will bottle it. At that point, it’s not really about how good the whisky’s going to taste, it’s a test of whether or not you’re good enough at your job and confident enough in your product that there will even be a market that wants your whisky 75 years from now. That’s a level of certainty that most governments can’t attain. £24,002