7 Oldest Scotch in the World

In order for whisky to qualify as Scotch, it must meet certain standards as specified by law. At its core, Scotch whisky is malt or grain whisky made in Scotland. Additionally, all Scoth whiskies must be aged in oak barrels for at least three years.

The first record of distillation in Scotland dates back to about 1494 and according to the Scotch Whisky Association, Scotch evolved from a drink called uisge beatha, meaning “water of life.” Since then, several distilleries have been producing Scotch to sell around the world. Most of the oldest existing vintages are from the early 1900s, but the oldest bottles of Scotch date all the way back to the 1850s.

7. Macallan 65 in Lalique

Date: 1951
Bottled By: The Macallan Distillery
Country of Origin:  Craigellachie, Moray, Scotland
Value:  $35,000

Macallan 65 in Lalique photo source: themacallan.com

In mid-2016, Macallan released a 65 year old Scotch whisky in a Lalique Decanter. The sixth and final addition to the Macallan in Lalique collection is on of the oldest and rarest whiskies ever released by Macallan. The Scotch is limited edition and only 450 bottles were produced and priced at $35,000 each.

The special Lalique Decanter was designed by Marc Larminaux, the Creative Director for Lalique. Designed like a vintage perfume bottle, the decanter is a nod to Lalique’s long history as skilled glass makers. Macallan and Lalique began their partnership in 2005 and each bottle in the collection represents one of the Six Pillars of the Macallan brand.

6. Glenfiddich 1937

Date: 1937
Bottled By: Glenfiddich Distillery
Country of Origin:  Dufftown, Moray, Scotland
Value:  £68,500 (about $97,557)

Glenfiddich 1937 photo source: The Whisky Exchange

The Glenfiddich 1937 Scotch whisky was first poured in cask 843 in 1937 and left to mature for the next 64 years. The Scotch ended up being a slow-maturing whisky and ten consecutive warehouse masters watched over cask 843 as the Scotch continued to age. In 2001, Glenfiddich’s Malt Master David Stewart decided that cask 843 was ready to be bottled and 61 bottles were produced.

According to Glenfiddich, the rare 1937 Scotch has a dark amber color and tastes of treacle, sweet notes, cedar, oak, and dry bitter chocolate. In 2016, a very rare bottle of the Glenfiddich 1937 was sold for £68,500 (about $97,557). The bottle had been estimated to sell for £25,000-35,000 by the Bonhams Whisky Sale in Edinburgh. This is the highest price ever paid for a bottle of Glenfiddich.

5. Macallan Fine and Rare 1926

Date: 1926
Bottled By: The Macallan Distillery
Country of Origin:  Craigellachie, Moray, Scotland
Value:  $75,000

Macallan Fine and Rare 1926 photo source: themacallan.com

The Macallan 1926 Scotch whisky is the oldest Scotch in the brand’s Fine and Rare collection. The Scotch was distilled in 1926 in oak barrels. In 1986, only 40 bottles were produced. This particular Scotch is a rare and considered one of the few whiskies that can mature for long periods of time without losing its character. It is also a dry and concentrated whisky that has not had any water added. The 1926 Scotch’s deep color is natural and is purely from the cask aging.

According to different sources, the Macallan 1926 is valued at $75,000. However, the highest price ever paid for a bottle at a Christie’s auction was only £22,600 (about $32,187). It was purchased in 2007 by a South Korean businessman.

4. Dalmore 64 Trinitas

Date: contains spirit from 1868, 1878, 1926, 1939, and the 1940s
Bottled By: Dalmore Distillery
Country of Origin:  Alness, Scotland
Value:  £100,000 (about $142,420)

Dalmore 64 Trinitas photo source: thedalmore.com

The story of the three bottles of Dalmore 64 Trinitas Scotch whisky that were released in late 2010 starts with Dalmore’s original ultra-premium whisky, the Dalmore 62. Sometime in the early 2000s, 12 bottles of Dalmore 62 – which was a blend of spirits from 1868, 1878, 1926, and 1939 – were produced.

Sukhinder Singh, owner of the The Whisky Exchange, asked Dalmore if they could make any more 62. They were unable to, but ended up topping off the last few liters of 62 with a vintage Scotch from the 1940s. Dalmore created three bottles of ultra rare Dalmore 64 Trinitas and priced them at £100,000 (about $142,420). Two of the bottles sold and only one bottle is left for sale on The Whiskey Exchange.

3. Dalmore 62

Date: contains spirit from 1868, 1878, 1926, 1939
Bottled By: Dalmore Distillery
Country of Origin:  Alness, Scotland
Value:  £125,000 ($178,024)

Dalmore 62 photo source: The Whisky Exchange

Dalmore 62 is such a rare and coveted Scotch whisky that the final bottle was sold for £125,000 ($178,024), making it the most expensive bottle of Scotch in the world. In 2002, only 12 bottles of the Dalmore 62 were produced. The first bottle sold for £22,000, which was considered high at the time. As the remaining 12 bottles were released, the price of each one increased dramatically, resulting in the record sale in 2011.

The Scotch is rare because it contains a blend of spirits from 1868, 1878, 1926, and 1939. It was created by master blender Richard Paterson. The Dalmore 62 became so well-known that it was featured in a major Hollywood film, Kingsman: The Secret Service.

2. Old Vatted Glenlivet

Date: 1862
Bottled By: Glenlivet Distillery
Country of Origin:  Moray, Scotland
Value:  $7,735

Old Vatted Glenlivet photo source: thespiritsbusiness.com

In 2013, a bottle of Old Vatted Glenlivet from 1862 was sold at auction by Bonhams for $7,735. The Scotch was from the estate of 19th century industrialist William Bayard Cutting. Although there is one bottle of Scotch that is reportedly older than the Old Vatted Glenlivet, it has been dubbed by many people as the world’s oldest vintage whisky.

In early March 2017, another bottle of Old Vatted Glenlivet made headlines because of what the owner of the Scotch – Sukhinder Singh, famed British Collector of rare alcoholic beverages and the owner of The Whisky Exchange – decided to do with it. Instead of putting the Scotch up for sale, Swiss independent watch brand, Louis Moinet, in cooperation with Wealth Solutions decided to create the Whisky Watch. A drop the Scotch was placed into 50 designer timepieces that were being sold for £14,625 ($17,866) for the 40 stainless steel pieces or £37,375 ($45,655) for one of the ten 18-karat rose gold watches.

1. Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky

Date: between 1851 – 1858
Bottled By: Glenavon Distillery
Country of Origin:  Ballindalloch, Scotland
Value:  sold for £14,850 (about $21,149)

Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky photo source: BBC News

A 14 oz. bottle of Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky is considered the oldest Scotch whisky in the world. The Scotch was bottled by the now-defunct Glenavon Distillery sometime between 1851 – 1858. No one is quite sure when the Scotch was actually bottled because the distillery closed down in the 1850s. Prior to ceasing operations, the Glenavon Distillery was licensed to John Smith, son of George Smith, who was the founder of the nearby Glenlivet Distillery.

In 2006, the Scotch was sold for £14,850 (about $21,149.33 in the current exchange rate) at auction in London. The anonymous buyer paid nearly 50% more than the estimated sale price of £10,000. The Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky was put up for sale by a Northern Ireland woman whose family had owned it for the last three generations.



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