12 Expensive Whiskeys Worth Splurging On

SAVING & SPENDING - BUDGETING & EXPENSES
You won’t need to be a whiskey connoisseur to realize these bottles are totally worth the splurge.
Updated March 14, 2023
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Getting into whiskey can be intimidating, especially because there are so many different categories of the spirit. There’s scotch, bourbon, rye, and then, of course, there is whiskey, and there is whisky — both of which are technically correct spelling. What’s the difference? Simply put, the spelling depends on where the alcohol is made. The U.S. and Ireland spell it “whiskey,” and Scotland, Canada, and Japan spell it “whisky.”

There are also different classifications based on how it’s made and what it’s made of, but we’ll get to that later. If you want to add top-of-the-line whiskeys to your at-home collection or you’re budgeting to buy something impressive for the whiskey-lover in your life, we’ve compiled a list of 12 high-end whiskeys (on an escalating price scale) that are definitely worth the investment.

Breckenridge Reserve Blend Bourbon Whiskey

Courtesy of Breckenridge/Facebook Breckenridge Reserve Blend Bourbon Whiskey

Price: $49 at Reserve Bar

The Rocky Mountains of Colorado are home to the Breckenridge Distillery. This high-rye Bourbon Whiskey is aged for a minimum of three years, in charred, new American oak barrels, and blended to reveal the unique qualities of the Bourbon Whiskey.

Its basic bourbon includes notes of dried orange peel, vanilla, and rye spice in each glass.

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Heaven’s Door Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Courtesy of Noah's Mill Noah’s Mill Bourbon

Price: $49 at Reserve Bar

Heaven’s Door comes from Bob Dylan, who is a partner in this bourbon venture. The bottle includes an iron gate design that Dylan himself created in his metal-work studio. 

This straight Bourbon Whiskey is aged for a minimum of 6 years. It's described as smooth and lasting, with notes of baking spices and vanilla layered over a bed of toasted oak.

Jim Beam Signature Craft Soft Red Wheat Bourbon Whiskey

FoodAndPhoto/Adobe bottle and glass of Jim Beam

Price: $50 at Minibar

One of the best-known makers of bourbon is Jim Beam, which has bottles at a range of price points for bourbon drinkers. This signature bottle is on the higher end, but the extra wheat kick in the mix may be favorable for some drinkers.

Coppersea Bonticou Crag Straight Rye Malt Whiskey

Courtesy of BreakingBourbon.com Bottle of Coppersea Bourbon

Price: $73 from Caskers

This straight rye hails from New Paltz, New York, in the Hudson Valley, and is sourced from area farms. The “straight rye” label means the whiskey is produced with a mash that consists of malted rye. The spirit is aged for just two years, but reviews have been piling up online noting that despite its relatively young age, it still makes for an incredible sipping experience.

The taste has been described as fruity with a hint of cinnamon, which eventually yields to a honey-like finish. This is definitely worth the price of the bottle for anyone looking to invest in some top-of-the-line American whiskey. Also, if you happen to be in the area, you can stop in the distillery in the foothills of the Shawangunk Mountains for a tasting before you buy. The whiskey gets its name from the hiking trail, Bonticou Crag, in those mountains.

Widow Jane 10 Year Old Bourbon

Courtesy of Widow Jane Bottle of Widow Jane bourbon

Price: $77 on Reserve Bar

Widow Jane 10 Year Old Bourbon kicks off our list with an oaky, high-end whiskey distilled in New York City. Bourbons are a type of American whiskey that are barrel-aged and made primarily from corn. Widow Jane’s 10 Year is the least expensive bottle on this list, and it is well worth the price.

The spirit is made by combining rich straight bourbons in five-barrel batches. The taste has been described as having notes of both fruit and nuts, with a charred oak and spicy finish. If you’re looking to dip your toes into the world of high-end whiskey, this is an excellent place to start.

Eagle Rare 10-Year Bourbon

Courtesy of Eagle Rare Eagle Rare 10-Year Bourbon

Price: $80 at Drizly

Eagle Rare is aged for at least 10 years, but patience is rewarded with a smooth taste. The complex aroma and smooth and lingering taste are a testament to this long process.

Drink it on the rocks or use it for cocktails like a whiskey sour or Manhattan.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon Whiskey

Courtesy of Elijah Craig Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon Whiskey

Price: $100 at Reserve Bar

One thing that makes Elijah Craig’s barrel proof bourbon so special is that each bottle is unique. The bottles are hand-labeled and include the batch number and proof for that specific bottle, meaning each bottle may vary depending on the bourbon’s characteristics at bottling.

Neversink Select Bourbon Whiskey

Courtesy of Neversink Neversink Select Bourbon Whiskey

Price: $104 at Craftshack

Aged in barrels that were previously used for a brandy/cider mix by Neversink, this bourbon has strong notes of apple that really boost it to a different level.

Highland Park 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Photo courtesy of Richard Thomas / Highland Park Bottle of Highland Park Whiskey

Price: $175 on Reserve Bar

If you’re looking to try a high-end scotch that’s more reasonable in price than many others, Highland Park 18-Year-Old is a great option that has plenty of awards to back up that statement. This is a single malt scotch, which means it’s created with malted barley and made in a single distillery in Scotland.

It’s been named “The Best Spirit in the World” three times and was also awarded the Chairman’s Trophy for Best Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky in 2018 and 2019. Connoisseurs describe it as rich and balanced with a bit of sweetness and a smoky finish — and worthy of the price tag.

Yamazaki 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

bizoo_n/Adobe Yamazaki single malt Japanese whisky bottle and a Glencairn whisky glass

Price: $192 on Drizly

Yamazaki 12 Year is one of the most sought-after Japanese whiskies. The price point may vary a bit depending on where you get it, but whisky fans around the world have lauded the unique and signature taste from Japan’s oldest malt distillery.

The Yamazaki 12 Year hails from Kyoto, Japan’s former capital, and is considered the nation’s premier single malt whisky. Fans of the spirit note that it’s a drink you’ll want to savor. It has complex aromas with hints of fruit and spice and an excellent, rich finish. If you’re really looking to splurge, Yamazaki also makes a 25-year single malt and even released a 55-year recently, but these will both run buyers up several thousand dollars.

Jameson Bow Street 18 Year Irish Whiskey

Courtesy of Jameson Whiskey Bottle of Jameson whiskey

Price: $200 on Total Wine

For fans of Irish whiskey, Jameson Bow Street 18 Year Cask Strength offers a unique taste and experience. This spirit’s cask strength notation means it’s a high-proof drink: bottled straight from the barrel and not diluted with water.

The spirit is a special blend of rare pot still and grain Irish whiskeys. It is produced and aged for almost two decades at Jameson’s Midleton distillery in County Cork, Ireland. Then it’s sent to the Jameson Distillery Bow Street in Dublin — the whiskey giant’s original home — for a final finishing period. The 18 Year Cask Strength is the company’s rarest release, which explains the slightly larger price tag.

The Macallan Single Malt Scotch Sherry Oak Cask 18 Years

Courtesy of bexsonn.com Bottle of Macallan Single Malt Scotch Sherry Oak Cask 18 Years

Price: $415 on Bevmo

If you can get your hands on a bottle, The Macallan Sherry Oak is worth indulging in. The Macallan is a major player in the Scotch game and has been for centuries. The Sherry Oak 18 is matured in sherry-seasoned oak casks from Jerez, Spain. The long maturing process lets the rich, fruity, and full-bodied single malt reach its full potential.

We know the price may put off some people, but if you are planning to invest in whiskey, this one will make an incredible addition to any liquor cabinet. There’s a reason The Macallan has been a top distiller for nearly 200 years.

Bottom line

VAKSMANV/Adobe multiethnic group of businessmen spending time together drinking

Distilleries all over the world offer tasting events so you can try out a few different spirits and pick one that fits your palette and budget. This includes big players like Jameson, which offers fantastic tasting events at its famous Bow Street location in Dublin.

There’s always the option to buy one of these expensive bottles on your favorite rewards credit card and get some points in the process.

If investing in alcohol sparks your interest, there are other ways to get involved in this ever-booming industry. Judging by the recent spike in interest in beer stocks, more and more people seem to be making the move toward investing in booze.

Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.