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| Bourbon is catching the imagination of whiskey lovers and investors.
Wine-Searcher is all about data rather than flaky financial advice, so we’re not going to tell you to invest in collectible spirits. Instead, we’re going to give you some numbers.
Those numbers would suggest that perhaps the most unlikely star investment vehicle of the past 10 years has not been old reliables like property or stocks, but Bourbon has become an unlikely star among those who buy bottles as an investment.
Whiskey generally has been turned into an investment vehicle in the past decade or so, with some spectacular returns to be had – but only if you backed the right horse from the start. Various Macallans have had ridiculous rises in price over the years; the Lalique 50 Year Old, for example, could be had for an average price of $76,000 five years ago. That’s a huge price for a whisky that was about $23,000 in 2011; today its global average retail price is north of $272,000. And that’s not even mentioning the million-dollar malt.
Bourbon is also a great bet, particularly because you don’t have to lay out so much money in advance.
The Bourbon boom shows no sign of stopping and more and more distilleries are releasing collectible bottlings, often at relatively reasonable prices, which are then going on to become price juggernauts. It might take a few years for them to achieve top prices, but the general trend seems to be upward.
Overall, the top 10 most expensive Bourbons cost an average 50 percent more today than they did last year, based on their global average retail prices. That’s 50 percent in a single year, which is just crazy money, but clearly there are plenty of people willing to pay it. It says a lot that last year’s list had two whiskeys on it that didn’t break the five-figure mark; this year, the lowest average price in the top 10 is almost $13,000.
There will be the odd bottling that is even more expensive, but for the purposes of our top 10 lists, we require that whiskeys have more than just a couple of offers. So let’s see how this year’s list looks.
The World’s Most Expensive Bourbons on Wine-Searcher:
|Whiskey Name||Score||Ave Price|
|Old Rip Van Winkle 25 Year Old||N/A||$57,077|
|Redemption 36 Year Old Barrel Proof||N/A||$33,627|
|Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Family Reserve 16 Year Old||N/A||$29,389|
|Colonel EH Taylor Old Fashioned Sour Mash||88||$25,999|
|Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash||94||$23,127|
|The Last Drop 1980 Buffalo Trace||N/A||$22,247|
|Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 17 Year Old||N/A||$20,000|
|Eagle Rare Double 20 Year Old||N/A||$17,535|
|Willett Family Single-Barrel 16 Year Old||N/A||$16,660|
|Michter’s 25 Year Old Single Barrel||93||$12,880|
There are some slight differences from last year, as astute readers will notice. Two whiskeys fell off the list – the EH Taylor Warehouse C Tornado Survivor and the Willett Family 24 Year Old have been shunted out by the Redemption and the Pappy 17 Year Old. Interestingly, the Warehouse C’s average price is actually lower than it was last year, so remember that not every Bourbon is a dead cert investment.
Among the ones that remain in the top, however, there are some jaw-dropping value rises. The Old Rip Van Winkle 16 Year Old is the standout, with a rise in average retail price of 96 percent in the past year, while the Willet family whiskey saw its average price soar by 93 percent. The Redemption enjoyed a rise of 87 percent, while Michter’s Celebration and the Rip Van Winkle 25 Year had average retail price rises of 75 and 70 percent respectively.
The lowest average price rises were for the EH Taylor (up 5 percent) and the Double Eagle, which rose by 10 percent, neither a shabby result. The rest enjoyed average price increases of between 21 and 23 percent.
The cheapest of these whiskeys, the Michter’s 25 Year Old, had a global average retail price of just $335 a decade ago, meaning it has gone up more than 38-fold in the interim.
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