As the snow brings the country to a standstill and Christmas draws ever closer, many people will be helping themselves to a winter warmer or two (just to keep the cold out of course).
But for some collectors, having a wee dram can be just the start of a life-long love affair with whisky. In recent years the most expensive bottles have been seen not just as status symbols, but as excellent investments as well.
Whisky can be an incredibly rare commodity depending on the year and the distillery (and in some cases the bottle itself), and for many collectors only the best is good enough. So with this in mind we present our list of the top five most expensive whiskies ever sold at auction.
1) - The Macallan 64 year-old Single Malt
In November this year a bottle of this near-mythical whisky was sold at a charity auction in New York for an amazing price of $460,000, leaping into the record books as the most expensive whisky ever sold. This was, however, partly down to its bottle: a one-of-a-kind and utterly unique Cire Perdue crystal decanter, created especially for Macallam by Lalique.
2) - The Dalmore 64 Trinitas
Created from a blend of vintages from 1868, 1878, 1926, 1939 and one from the 1940s, the Dalmore 64 Trinitas can truly be described as a rarity: only three bottles were ever created by the legendary Dalmore highland distillery. The final bottle sold in October 2010 for an incredible $160,100, which works out to be around $32,000 per glass. So it's probably best not to have a double one.
3) - The Maccalan 1926 Fine and Rare
Distilled in 1926 in oak barrel and bottled in 1986, only 40 bottles of this whisky were ever produced. They were initially priced at a reasonable $38,000 each, but in 2005 a South Korean businessman paid an enormous $75,000 for the privilege of owning one of the last remaining bottles. According the Macallam themselves, "The actual purchase took place at the liquor retail store, Interbang, in the upmarket Gangnam area of Seoul". And to think he only went in for a box of matches...
4) - The Dalmore 62 Single Highland Malt Scotch:
Only 12 bottles of the Dalmore 62 Single Highland malt were ever produced. It was distilled in 1943 from 4 single malts dating from 1868, 1876, 1926 and 1939, and each was labelled with its own name.
In 2005 an un-named businessman purchased a bottle at the Pennyhill Hotel in Surrey for the princely sum of $58,000. This particular bottle was called Matheson after the Dalmore Estate's owner, Alexander Matheson, and the businessman (along with five friends) proceeded to drink Matheson there and then at the bar. Resulting in some of the most expensive hangovers in history.
5) - The Bowmore 1850 Single Malt
In September 2007, at a sale organised by Martin Green, a record auction price for a bottle of whisky was achieved when for a rare 19th Century bottle of Bowmore sold for $45,313. The bottle had once been owned by William Mutter who, along with his brother James, had operated the distillery since the 1850s. The bottle was presented to him in 1851 at the time of him giving up his share of the distillery and had remained in the family for generations.
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