Top 10 Most Expensive Bourbons In The World

Aditi Kandhari

Updated · Oct 02, 2023

Top 10 Most Expensive Bourbons In The World

Most Expensive Bourbons: American alcohol known as bourbon is primarily made from maize, though it can also contain corn, oats or cereal. It’s produced in Kentucky but matures for at least two years in scorched wooden barrels to give the liquor its distinct taste and hue.

To be classified as true bourbon, the liquor must contain at least 51% maize and have aged for two years or more in freshly toasted oak casks. Enjoyable both neat or in beverages worldwide – this legendary liquor enjoys widespread consumption both by itself or mixed into drinks around the world.

History of Bourbon

Bourbon’s roots can be traced back to the end of the 18th century when pioneers living in modern-day Kentucky started making liquor from all of the plentiful corn that grew there. It is believed that “bourbon” originated with Kentucky’s Bourbon County – renamed after France’s Bourbon family – though the exact origins of its name remain uncertain.

At first, bourbon craft brewers employed similar processes as Scotch and Irish whiskey producers; however, over time they developed their own distinctive techniques. One major breakthrough involved using scorched oak casks for ageing the spirit; this gave it its distinctive colour and taste while keeping it from spoiling during transport.

In 1964, the U.S. Congress established specific criteria for what could be classified as “bourbon,” designating it a “unique production of the U.s.” In order to qualify; bourbon had to contain at least 51% maize; be aged in freshly burned oak casks for no less than two years and be released at 80 proof or higher.

By the late nineteenth century; bourbon had become increasingly popular among Americans and was even used as currency during the American Revolution. Unfortunately; Restrictions hit hard on this sector of the industry; leading to several closures. After the Restriction ended in 1933 however, there was a slow resurgence of production until the 1950s and 1960s.

Bourbon has never been more in demand; both within the US and internationally. Kentucky alone boasts hundreds of factories while many other states also produce their own whiskey makers. While bourbon can be enjoyed plain or over ice; it also plays an integral role in several classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned or Manhattan. With centuries of illustrious past and unique taste still intact, bourbon shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Types of Bourbon

  • Kentucky bourbon
  • Straight bourbon
  • Single-barrel bourbon
  • Small-batch bourbon
  • Wheated bourbon
  • High rye bourbon
  • Flavoured bourbon

Popular Brands

  • Jim Beam
  • Buffalo Trace
  • Wild Turkey
  • Maker’s Mark
  • Knob Creek
  • Woodford Reserve
  • Elijah Craig
  • Four Roses
  • Old Forester
  • Basil Hayden

Uses of Bourbon

  • To fully enjoy the robust flavours and aromas of bourbon, many people prefer to sip it neat or on a few rocks.
  • Traditional drinks like the Old Fashioned, Manhattan and Whiskey Sour all contain bourbon as a primary ingredient. Furthermore, it can be added to more modern concoctions like Bourbon Mash or Whiskey and Honey for an added twist.
  • Bourbon can add an extra layer of flavour and complexity to many foods, particularly pastries like bourbon bread cake and pecan pies, as well as stews, curries, and meat enamels.
  • Dinners such as roasted meats, fiery dishes and decadent sweets can all be enhanced with bourbon. Its robust flavours pair beautifully with various tastes and sensations.
  • For special occasions like birthdays, vacations or marriages, bourbon can make an ideal present. Many bourbons come in eye-catching containers or wrapping, making them ideal presents.

Benefits of Bourbon

  • Bourbon contains antioxidants ellagic acid and ferulic, which may help slow cell deterioration and lower the likelihood of developing certain illnesses.
  • Drinking bourbon in moderation has been linked to improved cardiovascular health, including a decreased likelihood of coronary artery disease and strokes. This may be partially attributed to its antiviral properties.
  • Similar to other alcohol varieties, bourbon has been found to offer digestive advantages such as relieving gastrointestinal system irritation and stimulating healthy gut bacteria growth.
  • Studies have demonstrated that moderate bourbon drinking can have a calming effect on the human body, aiding in the reduction of anxiety and stress.
  • Finally, bourbon can provide individuals with joy and contentment when consumed straight or added to drinks.

Popular Trends of Bourbon

  • Bourbon; an essential element in many mixed drinks, has experienced a resurgence due to the growth of artisan cocktail establishments and mixology classes.
  • Bourbon companies’ fame has also increased due to public endorsements from celebrities like actresses; singers; and sportsmen.
  • With numerous breweries offering tours and refreshments, the bourbon sector has grown into a sought-after tourist destination. This has only served to increase its appeal and visibility.
  • Bourbon has a special place in the hearts and minds of Southern Americans due to its longstanding heritage, skilful craftsmanship and generosity.
  • Customers from all backgrounds are drawn to the creative bourbons produced by several breweries through their experiments with novel methods and flavours.

Why Bourbons Are Expensive?

  • Bourbon must spend at least two years maturing in brand-new, burned wood casks before it can be released, though many whiskeys are aged for much longer periods of time which may increase production costs.
  • Many breweries produce very limited, or constrained whiskies which are highly sought-after by both consumers and collectors. Unfortunately, due to their rarity and rarity, these products tend to be priced above average.
  • Making bourbon involves several steps, such as selecting premium grains, extracting the alcohol and cask maturation. Furthermore, certain bourbons are produced using time-honoured yet laborious techniques which may increase manufacturing costs.
  • Certain bourbon companies enjoy a longstanding and prestigious image, leading to higher prices today.
  • States and nations may have different taxes and laws, which could significantly impact bourbon pricing.
  • Many bourbon companies invest heavily in advertising and promotion to enhance their brand image and boost sales. Customers may be charged more due to these expenses.
  • As previously noted; many whiskey companies are investing in creating high-end goods that attract those willing to spend more for quality. As a result; some relatively small and constrained bourbons have been introduced along with more costly varieties.

Top 10 Most Expensive Bourbons In The World

  • Old Rip Van Winkle 25-Year Old – Worth $55,165
  • Colonel E.H. Taylor Old Fashioned Sour Mash – Worth $25,962
  • Old Rip Van Winkle (Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 17-Year-Old) – Worth $22,588
  • The Last Drop 1980 Buffalo Trace – Worth $22,155
  • Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash – Worth $21,152
  • Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Family Reserve 16-Year-Old – Worth $19,417
  • Double Eagle Very Rare – Worth $17,300
  • Willett Family Estate Bottled Single-Barrel – Worth $16,660
  • Colonel E.H. Taylor Warehouse C Tornado Surviving – Worth $12,825
  • Michter’s 25-Year-Old Single Barrel – Worth $12,424

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#1. Old Rip Van Winkle 25-Year Old – (Worth $55,165)

Old Rip Van Winkle 25-Year Old - (Worth $55,165) - Most Expensive Bourbons In The World

The world’s most expensive scotch is Old Rip Van Winkle’s 25-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Crafted with maize, wheat and grain blend and aged for 25 years in oak barrels, this aged whiskey produces an exquisite smoothness on the tongue as well as undertones of caramel, cocoa powder and dried apricots; toffee, cinnamon and nutty notes in its aroma.

Its long aftertaste of wood spices along with woody notes makes this spirit perfect either neat or over ice – something special to enjoy this spirit!

#2. Colonel E.H. Taylor Old Fashioned Sour Mash – (Worth $25,962)

Colonel E.H. Taylor Old Fashioned Sour Mash - (Worth $25,962) - second Most Expensive Bourbons In The World

Colonel E.H Taylor Old Fashioned Sour Mash Kentucky Straight Distilled Liquor; is the second most expensive bourbon; in the world and is produced by Sazerac Organization in Kentucky; USA. Named for Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr.; this whiskey; follows traditional sour mash production methods that use part of what has already been fermented to create each batch – helping preserve its homogeneity and flavour characteristics.

Bourbon whiskeys are known for their smooth, rich flavours with notes of toffee, chocolate and oak from being aged a minimum of four years in fresh, toasted oak casks. This results in an intense flavour profile with an extended silky texture and subtle hints of richness.

Colonel E.H. Taylor Old Fashioned Sour Mash Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a versatile spirit, suitable for enjoying straight up, on the rocks or in classic cocktails like an Old Fashioned. For true Kentucky whiskey connoisseurs and those seeking premium quality products, Colonel E.H Taylor Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon Whiskey is an ideal choice.

#3. Old Rip Van Winkle (Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 17-Year Old) – (Worth $22,588)

Old Rip Van Winkle (Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 17-Year Old) - (Worth $22,588) - 3rd Most Expensive Bourbons In The World

On a price level, 17-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey from the USA is the third most costly whiskey.

Rip Van Winkle, Old A 17-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey produced by the Van Winkle clan has been aged for 17 years in scorched oak casks to give it its rich, creamy taste with notes of vanilla, toffee and spices.

Due to its limited annual production and rising demand for this rare spirit, it often sells at an exorbitant premium due to its limited supply and increasing demand worldwide.

#4. The Last Drop 1980 Buffalo Trace – (Worth $22,155)

The Last Drop 1980 Buffalo Trace - (Worth $22,155)

The 1980 Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky from Kentucky, USA is considered to be the fourth most premium whiskey worldwide.

A highly sought-after product from this distillery in Kentucky called The Last Drop 1980 Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Beverage had matured for more than 30 years before its release in 2013, composed of bourbon from 1980 and 1981.

This whisky’s flavour and aroma are deep, and complex, with subtle hints of fruitiness, chocolate, and coffee. With a prolonged, mellow ending that leaves it composed and silky in texture – only 438 containers were made! A limited production, this product is sure to please.

Whiskey connoisseurs value The Last Drop 1980 Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky as a rare novelty item. To fully experience its robust flavour and age, it should be sipped neat or poured over rocks.

#5. Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash – (Worth $21,152)

Michter's Celebration Sour Mash - (Worth $21,152)

Kentucky’s Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash Whiskey is the fifth most valuable whiskey worldwide. The Michter’s Company in Louisville, Kentucky produces this limited-edition bourbon using the sour mash method; this helps maintain consistency of flavour character for each launch.

Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash Whiskey is aged for at least 10 years in freshly burned American oak casks before it is released at 45.7% alcohol by volume (ABV).

With notes of dark fruit, roasted oak, caramel, toffee and other flavours all pervading its rich and varied scent, Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash Whiskey offers up a delightful range of tastes including cocoa powder, caramel and cinnamon on the palate which are smooth yet full flavoured; finished off with just a subtle whiff of spice at its end for added comforting warmth.

Many bourbon connoisseurs view this vintage as a rarity.

#6. Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Family Reserve 16-Year-Old – (Worth $19,417)

Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Family Reserve 16-Year-Old - (Worth $19,417)

The 16-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Distillery from the USA is currently the sixth priciest scotch in the world. Rip Van Winkle Family Reserve Handcrafted has been producing alcohol for over a decade, and their 16-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is one of their most acclaimed and sought-after offerings.

This particular bourbon boasts a complex flavour and texture with notes of toffee; creamy; and smoke from its 16 years in oak barrel ageing. It’s known as “wheat whiskey” since wheat was included in the mash bill instead of traditional rye; thus creating a softer and richer flavour than standard whiskey.

As an exclusive edition, this item comes packaged at 107 proof and makes an incredibly sought-after special edition item.

#7. Double Eagle Very Rare – (Worth $17,300)

Double Eagle Very Rare - (Worth $17,300)

Twenty-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Alcohol from the USA is the seventh most expensive whiskey in existence and it’s called Eagle Rare “Double Eagle Extremely Rare” by Sazerac Corporation.

Matured for two decades in wooden barrels, this bourbon develops an exquisite flavour profile, featuring subtle notes of cocoa, chocolate and oak flavours that come from being aged for 20 years.

Packaged in an eye-catching filtration process container featuring an eagle’s wing on its label along with its high demand, this whiskey makes an excellent option for whiskey connoisseurs alike due to its limited supply and high demand – perfect for whiskey connoisseurs alike!

#8. Willett Family Estate Bottled Single-Barrel – (Worth $16,660)

Willett Family Estate Bottled Single-Barrel - (Worth $16,660)

The eighth most expensive liquor in the universe; is Willett Family Estate Bottled Single-Barrel 16-Year-Old Straight Vatted Malt from Kentucky; USA. This limited-edition bourbon; from Willett Distillery in Kentucky has aged for 16 years in bourbon barrels to develop its rich and nuanced taste and texture.

Bottled at 120 proof with a blend composition of maize; wheat; and oats as its base spirit; this scotch stands out with its deep amber hue plus overtones of maple; blackberry; and spices on the palate along with velvet smoothness and intensity.

Smooth and comforting; with a subtle hint of richness at the finish; this whiskey makes an excellent blend for traditional cocktails like Old Fashioned or Manhattans as well as sipping straight or on the rocks.

Due to its limited production and strong demand from bourbon connoisseurs alike; it makes an invaluable addition to any bourbon collection.

#9. Colonel E.H. Taylor Warehouse C Tornado Surviving – (Worth $12,825)

Colonel E.H. Taylor Warehouse C Tornado Surviving - (Worth $12,825)

Colonel E.H. Taylor Warehouse C Tornado Surviving Straight Kentucky Bourbon Scotch, produced in Kentucky, United States of America, is the ninth most expensive liquor worldwide. This whiskey bottle bears the initials of Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr., a renowned whiskey distiller renowned for his inventive extraction methods and commitment to excellence.

This whiskey is made with rising maize, wheat and oats and aged for at least 8 years in fresh toasted American wooden casks. Warehouse C, one of the nation’s most durable complexes and known for having weathered every storm that has ever come its way, serves as the site where this maturing process takes place.

Colonel E.H. Taylor Warehouse C Tornado Surviving Straight Kentucky Bourbon Distillery’s remarkable liquor has a long tradition, an irresistibly rich taste composition and an indulgent mouthfeel derived from its special maturing process in a tornado-resistant facility. Enjoy this rare scotch for all its splendour!

#10. Michter’s 25-Year-Old Single Barrel – (Worth $12,424)

Michter's 25-Year-Old Single Barrel - (Worth $12,424)

Michter’s 25-Year-Old Single Barrel Bourbon Distillery from Kentucky is the tenth most premium alcohol ever created.

Aged for 25 years in hand-selected sherry casks; this exceptional cognac has been produced in limited amounts from maize, barley and fermented grain in Louisville with notes of chocolate; toffee; cocoa and creamy throughout its rich taste profile that leaves a lingering sensation in your mouth – making it highly collectable among scotch lovers as it’s highly sought-after and only occasionally released.

Enjoy it on the rocks or straight up – whatever works best!

Bottom Line

American liquor variety that has seen a recent surge in popularity is bourbon. With its long and distinguished history, this spirit is often associated with custom, skill, and friendliness – making it the ideal choice for mixing cocktails as well as sipping on its own due to its distinct taste profile and adaptability.

Recently we’ve seen various popular trends emerging within bourbons such as product offerings, innovation in production methods, and the rise of craft cocktail making; keeping existing fans as well as new ones engaged through these changes.

Though bourbons can be expensive due to the manufacturing, maturing, limited supply, advertising and decorative items involved, there are numerous less costly options that still deliver excellent flavour and taste. There’s never been a better opportunity than now to explore the world of whiskey and find your next favourite vintage regardless of whether you’re an experienced user or a newcomer to alcohol consumption.

  • Most Expensive
  • FAQ.

    What makes Bourbon unique?

    Ultimately, legislation defines Bourbon as a distinct whiskey. What qualifies as and isn't Bourbon is determined by the Federal Rules of Identification for Bourbon. A whiskey's mashing, or combination of ingredients used during boiling, must contain at least 51% maize to be labelled "Bourbon".

    Which five bourbon laws apply?

    No more than 51% of grains used in distilling must be maize. No more than 160 (U.S. grade) alcohol by volume may be used during distillation, and barrels made of freshly burned hardwood must be used for maturation. Finally, the maximum strength at which whiskey may be added to a cask is 125 degrees Fahrenheit (62.55% alcohol by volume).

    What aroma of bourbon is predominant?

    Timber, pine, almonds, hazelnuts, peanut, chestnuts and coconut all possess nutty and earthy notes. Even the mashed bill's ingredients can give off these subtleties; malt extract or wheat both adding subtle nutty notes to bourbon

    Who is the biggest fan of bourbon?

    Spain is, according to data compiled by Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS), a global trading organization that promotes hard alcohol producers and distributors worldwide, the country with the greatest passion for this delicious spirit.

    Aditi Kandhari
    Aditi Kandhari

    Aditi is an Industry Analyst at Enterprise Apps Today and specializes in statistical analysis, survey research and content writing services. She currently writes articles related to the "most expensive" category.

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