Bourbon is a corn-based whiskey aged in a barrel. However, some of the best quality bourbons go untouched due to their whopping price tags. Made with elegance, delicate craftsmanship, and aged in a precise temperature and environment, the most expensive bourbons do not fall short of every dollar.
We've compiled a list of the world's most expensive bourbons, ranked from pricey to the most lavish, to add to your bucket list.
Our Top Picks
Fruitiest Pick - Parker Heritage Collection 2nd Edition Bourbon
Sinful Summer Treat with Exotic Spices
Most Commemorative - Buffalo Trace OFC Bourbon
Nostalgic 90’s in Copper Plating
Best for Anniversaries - Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash
Silver Anniversary Special
12. Jefferson's Presidential Select (18-Year Old)
Jefferson's Jovia Delight with a Fruity Punch
Average Price: $1,099
Highly recommended by avid whiskey connoisseurs, the Jefferson's Presidential Select Bourbon rides with a complexity of flavors. Sweetness and wood influence overlap making it a superb concoction for all seasons - If you're a lavish spender, that is. Regardless, this refined bottle was part of Stitzel-Weller bourbon's small batch from the same distillery that launched the Van Winkle line.
What makes this liquor unique in its own right is that it's made with wheat bourbon mash bill, an ingredient uncommon in any rye grain. Jefferson's Presidential Select starts with a deep amber color on the first look.
As you nose this baby, the fruity and nutty sensations begin to explode, with rum-soaked raisins and dates, along with pancake syrup, banana, and toasted almonds. The palate grips with toffee, fig preserves, and vanilla, followed by the richness of toffee, fruit, and wood for a memorable finish.
11. Willett Distillery Family Estate (9-Year Old)
Caramel Concoction with a Smooth Finish
Average Price: $1,010
With years of tradition behind this bourbon, the Willett Distillery Family Estate Bottled Single Barrel brings whiskey aficionados, a nine-year-old drink with strong yet subtle spicy notes that are hard to come by.
This bourbon has 121.8 proof and was aged in hand-selected white oak barrels that bring you notes of pepper rye, caramel, toasted oak, and sweet corn. Caramel and oak are strengthened in the palate and finish off with a smooth mint flavor.
10. Willett Distillery Family Estate Bottled Single Barrel (22-Year Old)
Vintage Berry Bourbon with a Smokey Slide
Average Price: $1,347
Another fine addition to our list of the most expensive bourbons in the world is the Willett Distillery Family Estate Bottled Single Barrel. With 110 proof, it gives off unique smoky flavors that play around with black pepper spice and hints of orange peel, mint, and vanilla.
Nosing it will give you tumbling whirls of stone fruits, coffee, cigar leaf sweetness, and thick oak. The finish is sparkling yet still lingers on your palate with hints of red berries and oak spice, which many bourbon enthusiasts are drawn to.
Made in Willett Distillery, this significantly flavorful bourbon only has 96 bottles for sale and was created solely for the family's private barrel selection program. Its complex blend of flavors, along with its unusual depth, makes for a sensual sipping experience.
9. John E. Fitzgerald Very Special Bourbon (20-Year Old)
Two Decades of Cocoa Sweetness
Average Price: $1,748
Another worthy contender is not only one of the world's most expensive whiskeys but also the world's most vintage find. It is made with wheat bourbon at Stitzel-Weller Distillery using the 12 original Stitzel-Weller barrels.
The John E. Fitzgerald Very Special Bourbon has 94 proof. It offers a sensory experience like no other thanks to its long, gradual, yet balanced maturation that was aged using two different methods in two different locations. This bourbon boasts natural esters and fatty acids due to the barrels not passing through the chill filtration process.
With notes of rich cocoa and vanilla that the wheated-mash bill provides, this excellent bourbon follows through with spiced cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, teaberry, and black raspberry for a fruity punch. An impressive finish brings you a lengthy and refined touch that leaves you with a lightness that lingers on the palate.
8. Old Rip Van Winkle Straight Bourbon (25-Year Old)
A Toffee Topped Rarity
Average Price: $1,800
Distilled in Stitzel-Weller in 1989 and aged at the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, this expensive bourbon is made using wheat instead of rye in the mash bill. It features tones of predominant oak that do not overpower the sweet sugars accompanied by flavors of toffee, caramel, and toasted marshmallows.
This well-aged wheated bourbon is smooth and has a mid-range finish that also has quite the thickness and a kicker once it slides down your throat. It was then moved to Buffalo Trace, aged from 2002 to 2014, and eventually tanked in stainless steel in 2014.
With 100 proof, this bourbon’s slow but powerful burn is sold with a unique decanter placed in a handcrafted wooden box made in North Carolina by James Broyhill II of Heritage Handcrafted. Each box also has a glass top, along with a certificate of authenticity. With only 710 bottles made, this has to be a whiskey collector's must-have.
7. Old Rip Van Winkle 'Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve' Straight Bourbon (23-Year Old)
Award-Winning Smokey Goodness
Average Price: $2,794
This bourbon variety is a notable Chairman's Trophy Finalist at the 2012 Ultimate Spirits Challenge, proving excellence in its maturation and flavor development.
Using a top-grade and expensive distilling method, bottles of these bourbons are given an additional three years to mature thoroughly. Every sip brings out flavors of epic proportions that boast the smokiness of wood and tobacco.
The 95.6 proof brings a nosing experience with exceptional hints that stand out, including oak, sweet vanilla, dark fruit, espresso, and buttery toffee. The palate brings maple, citrus, honey, and spice that allude to a sublime and long finish.
6. Parker Heritage Collection 2nd Edition Small Batch Bourbon (27-Year Old)
Sinful Summer Treat with Exotic Spices
Average Price: $3,103
An acclaimed brand of limited-edition whiskies, the Parker Heritage Collection is another superb contender in our list of the world's most expensive bourbons. Boasting refinery and precision, its 27 years of aging brings whiskey lovers hints of caramel and vanilla that swirls up to a sweet sensation.
This 2nd edition spirit sets off with a deep amber hue giving a balanced blend of rye and wheat whiskies. Its notes include a certain fruitiness to the bourbon, accompanied by exotic spices, mangoes, peaches, dusty corn, and tobacco to even out the sweeter notes.
With 96 proof, the palate offers a bourbon with character and a spiking touch resembling an oaky cabernet, which leads to a long soothing finish that is hard to ignore.
5. Old Fitzgerald Very Old Bourbon (8-Year Old)
Dark Fruit Indulgence
Average Price: $3,146
Taking a whole new turn as one of the most expensive bourbons globally, the Old Fitzgerald Bourbon Whiskey was distilled back in 1954 with eight years of aging to bring lucky collectors a sip of customized perfection.
Add this bourbon with 100 proof to your cocktail served on a quirky coaster with hints of dark fruit, brulee, and vanilla, an ideal sipping experience that will surprise even first-time bourbon drinkers.
4. Michter's Celebration Sour Mash Bourbon (30-Year Old)
Silver Anniversary Special
Average Price: $5,000
Another one for the bougie, the Michter's Celebration Sour Mash, features 115.6 proof and a rich history like no other. It was distilled by Michter's Distillery, the first distilling company in the US during Prohibition.
After being forced to close, they made a comeback in 1990 with selected 20 to 30-year old casks. Hand-bottled and finished with an 18-karat gold lettering label, this unique bourbon is truly a celebration to remember.
With notes that give off golden honeycomb, brawny spices, oaky and leathery tastes that linger on the palate, the Michter's Celebration Sour Mash is best served in a stylish and elegant rocks glass. It's no doubt a drink to enjoy with hints of caramel, nuts, and dark cherries to finish it off smoothly.
3. A.H. Hirsch Reserve Straight Bourbon (16-Year Old)
A Mythical Undertaking with a Touch of Caramel
Average Price: $9,000
Distilled back in 1974 at Michter's Distillery, the A.H. Hirsch Reserve is not only one of the most expensive bourbons but also a classy concoction that appeals to common tongues. This 16-year-old bottle is all about tradition; made in Kentucky using pot-still down to its last drop.
Its richness and sweetness are balanced despite its complex layers on the palate. Nosing this fine drink brings you creamy vanilla and caramel tones, along with an oak spice that reveals soft notes of toffee.
The finish is dry and oaky but brings out touches of baking spices and black pepper. With 91.6 proof, it's no doubt this unique bourbon is well-liked and was even featured in Men's Journal and the Rolling Stone!
2. Buffalo Trace OFC Bourbon (25-Year Old)
Nostalgic 90’s in Copper Plating
Average Price: $16,746
The Buffalo Trace OFC Bourbon is another vintage find and one of the world’s most expensive bourbons made in 1993. Distilled in Buffalo Trace Distillery, this excellent liquor gives you a nostalgic feel of the nineties.
Along with its one-of-a-kind flavors, this crystal bottle is placed inside a wooden box that features copper lettering with the back of the bottle showing milestones of the year 1993. It was released around the same time Jurassic Park and the X-Files came out.
This vintage concoction has 90 proof that brings an exceptional nosing experience with its dark cherries, hints of honey, and smoked oak. When it reaches your palate, you'll be surprised with rich caramel and vanilla notes, along with a refined cocoa flavor. The finish is delightful, with coffee, maple syrup, and oak lingering till the end.
1. Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon (20-Year Old Double Rare)
Toasted Oak for the Taking
Average Price: $20,354
Another one of Buffalo Trace's finest, the Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon, is a stand-out. Due to its rarity, this bourbon was made with exceptional packaging in mind. Only 299 decanters were released, which comes in an automatic silver box that lights up when opened.
This bourbon originated from the UK and has since made its way to Buffalo Trace distillery. It was matured twice with a sleek presentation that brings a pleasing experience to whoever is lucky enough to afford a sip.
With 90 proof, it has promising vanilla notes, toasted oak, and caramel, bringing a certain finesse once it hits the palate. The toasted oak lingers and eventually leads to a warm finish, 20 years of finessing in the making.
A Bonafide Bourbon Experience
A sip from the world's most expensive bourbons could take you to promise land. If you have money to burn and enjoy a well-balanced blend of vanilla, caramel, and finesse of a two-decade maturation, then the Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon is a must-try - that is, if you can get your hands on it.
Let us know in the comments which extravagant bourbon do you dream of tasting. Or share our list of the world's most expensive bourbons to your fellow whiskey lovers for a scintillating conversation.