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Column: Is The $2 Million “Fabergé Egg” Irish Whiskey The Peak Of Over-The-Top Premium Luxury Bottles??

What do you get when you combine a wooden box, an egg, a watch, and a bottle of Irish whiskey?

In the whiskey world, the answer is a luxury pack worth at least $2 million.

The recently launched Emerald Isle Collection is a collaborative release from the Craft Irish Whiskey Company and jewellers Fabergé. With only seven individual packs available, each one includes:

  • Two bottles of 30 year old whiskey, along with a hip flask filled with said whiskey.
  • A Fabergé jewelled gold egg, described by the official press release as a ‘bespoke objet’. It holds an uncut emerald from Zambia inside.
  • A watch (or should I say ‘timepiece’).
  • Two Cohiba cigars along with a gold-plated cigar cutter.
  • A gold-plated water pipette.
  • A carafe filled with spring water from the same region from where the whiskey was made.
  • Whiskey stones made out of obsidian.
  • A very pretty wooden box that holds all of these objects, and objet.

The packs were launched at a private auction in Texas, with a starting price of $2 million. The proceeds will go to charity, with 50% donated to the Correa Family Foundation which helps sick children and the other 50% going to a charity of the winner’s choice. The official press release also notes that donations are made after the ‘cost price’ of the pack is covered. Naturally, a product like this is pretty easy to dismiss as another example of how whisk(e)y prices are inflating like balloons, as more brands jump on the profitable premium luxury train.

The Emerald Isle Collection
The Emerald Isle Collection (image via The Craft Irish Whiskey Co.)

However, the packs do represent a new milestone for Irish whiskey. With this move, the Craft Irish Whiskey Company aims to catch up to the Scotch brands that have spent years marketing their whisky as an ultra-premium luxury product for the world’s richest people.

The (insanely) high starting price of these packs will likely help inflate the prices of premium and older Irish whiskey in the future, especially releases from this particular bottler. It will attract the attention of the increasing number of multi-millionaires who are starting collections these days whether for pleasure or investment.

Certain Scotch releases (especially from Macallan and Bowmore) are considered highly desirable for collectors. Many have regularly broken auction price records in the last couple of years. This particular auction places Craft Irish Whiskey Company bottles in a similar category. There is a reason that the pack’s official press release makes a point of comparing its $2 million starting price to the most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold; the $1.9 million Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare. Irish whiskey can now be associated with the most expensive Scotches.

However, some Scotch aficionados may scoff at this presumption. The Macallan sale didn’t include a Fabergé objet and Cohiba cigars as part of the deal. The auction of this pack also cements the idea that Irish whiskey can become an expensive collectable like the most expensive watches, jewellery, art or any other luxury products.

The collaboration with Fabergé emphasizes this concept. The combination of the two brands here achieves something similar to what Bowmore recently did with a collaborative release involving Aston Martin, launching a new ‘Black Bowmore’ edition for £50,000 a bottle. This price is 500 times more expensive than what the first edition of Black Bowmore first retailed for when it was released in the 90s, and more than triple the price of the fifth edition of Black Bowmore  from a few years ago. Including Aston Martin helps justify the extreme price hike. The Emerald Isle pack takes things to a completely new level by making this Bowmore example look so cheap in comparison.

As a result, the Emerald Isle packs are a fascinating marker for the future of the Irish whiskey market. They establish the Craft Irish Whiskey Company as a leader in ‘collectable’ ultra-premium Irish whiskey. It also enables other Irish whiskey brands to potentially enter this world. Expect other brands, Irish or otherwise, to engage in expensive collaborative releases with a diverse array of luxury brands/products.

Putting aside the admirable fact that the proceeds of this auction are going to charity (assuming that ‘cost price’ leaves plenty of cash for worthy causes), the Emerald Isle packs are disgustingly expensive, contrived, gaudy, and just plain ridiculous. Their sale will also be a huge success for the Craft Irish Whiskey Company.

One hopes that the auction winners will actually open the bottle they’ve won and enjoy what will likely be a superb whiskey, while gazing adoringly at the new fabulous objet now in their possession while they sip it.

Felipe Schrieberg

Felipe is a whisky writer, musician, author, spirits competition judge, and tastings host. As a whisky writer, Felipe has been widely published across industry magazines and websites. His book, London Cocktails, is published by Cider Mill Press and is distributed worldwide by Simon and Schuster. As a musician, he is the co-founder of The Rhythm and Booze Project, a duo fusing live music and whisky through gigs, tasting events, and multimedia. For his work, he was named the 2022 Icons of Whisky Communicator of the Year, and the 2021 Alan Lodge Young International Drinks Writer of the Year.

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