There’s a lot of good Scotch out there on the market these days, but only so much excellent whisky from some of the finest of Scotland’s distilleries. That which is considered top notch is rare indeed and sometimes hard to get hold of, often commanding high prices on the primary market and, sometimes, even higher than that when it comes to being collector’s material. Here are a few whisky producers you should be aware of making this expensive Scotch, just in case you want to to add some to your liquor cabinet.
The Dalmore distillery, established in 1839, produces a wide range of aged Scotch that is matured in sherry and American white oak casks. Its oldest bottling to date is called the Trintas, a 64-year-old expression so rare only three bottles were ever produced. Containing whisky said to date back to 1868, 1878, 1926 and 1939, it was carefully prepared by master distiller Ricard Peterson. One of the three sold at auction in 2011 for over $200,000.
Easily rivaling Dalmore on the high price whisky stage is Macallan. This distillery was founded in 1824 and is currently owned by the Edrington Group. Its products are typically only aged in sherry casks, and age wise it goes from a 10-year-old up through a very rare 64-year offering. It is not the oldest in this case though which holds a record for the most expensive single malt ever to sell at auction. This instead goes to a rare, hand blown crystal decanter bottling of six liters of its M Scotch that earlier this year snagged $628,000 at the final gavel drop.
The Port Ellen distillery is one of many Scotch makers that have shuttered over the years as the fortunes of the whisky industry have waxed and waned. The operation ran on and off from 1825 until 1983 when the facility was mostly closed. Spirits giant Diageo owns what is left of the Port Ellen product aging in barrels and has released some of it now and again to collectors. It is not uncommon now to see 25+ year old bottles of it commanding at least $2,500 a pop at retail.
Glenfiddich is a popular Speyside distillery in Scotland that produces whisky mostly ranging in age from 12 to over 50-years-old. It is considered the world’s best selling single malt Scotch by most accounts, which is quite a feat for this operation first established by one William Grant in 1886. Some of its product is quite rare indeed, with one bottle of a 55-year-old release selling a few years back for $94,000.
The Bowmore, heralding from the fabled Scotch region of Islay, got its start way back in 1779, making it one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries. It thus has a lot of old stock lying around and patiently aging in ex-bourbon casks, in some cases for half a century or so. A bottle of a rare 54-year-old expression from here once fetched $160,000 at auction.
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...