The Honey Hole│Most Expensive Bourbons to Invest in 2023
The Honey Hole│Most Expensive Bourbons to Invest in 2023

The Honey Hole│Most Expensive Bourbons to Invest in 2023

Unique taste, age, and rarity make bourbon an investment opportunity. Learn about the different types to maximize your investment.





Long Term Growth

Long Term Growth

Bourbon is one of the world’s most popular whiskeys. Complex flavor profiles, limited availability, and fine craftsmanship make premium bourbons appealing to collectors and investors.

Earnings projections for bourbon investments can be as high as 150% in four years.

Demand for top-shelf bourbon has gone through the roof—sales are up 15% from 2014 to 2019—despite the rising prices. That said, here's the scoop on some of the priciest bourbons to help you find the best buy.

Why is Bourbon so valuable?

Bourbon fans know the drill: high demand plus limited supply equals sky-high prices. These prized tipples are costly for their unique color, flavor, aroma, and texture—not to mention the hunt for a rare bottle. From collector’s items to special-occasion treats, a good bottle of bourbon leaves a lasting impression on your guests and your wallet.

The most expensive Bourbon to invest in

Identifying the best bourbons to invest in begins with knowing the label and blend. Varieties like E.H. Taylor's Cured Oak, Michter's, and Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve feature high-priced barrels that offer potential returns. Collector editions and rare whiskeys, brands like Macallan Scotch and Van Winkle are popular choices.

For investors looking for long-term assets, whiskey casks and aging them is an appealing strategy. Before buying a bourbon, do your research. Become familiar with whiskey types and the species of barrels used for aging; Buy from reputable distilleries; and Consider limited edition styles, vintage selections, and special reserve bottlings. These things will help ensure that your assets appreciate.

If there’s room in your budget for a long-term value investment, the rarest and most sought-after bourbons are the way to go. Here’s the lowdown on the most expensive bourbon money can buy.

1. Old Rip Van Winkle Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23-Year-Old

  • Price Range: $6,499 to $6,600
  • Highest Sale Price: $52,000
  • Supply: 166
  • Type: 47.8%

The Pappy Van Winkle's 23-year old Bourbon has been around for over 145 years—satisfying connoisseurs time and time again with its smooth, mellow flavor. Rich notes of caramel, cream, leather, oak, and nuts make this spirit a delight. And to think all this deliciousness once cost only $200.

A Pappy Van Winkle 23-year-old Bourbon sells for around $6,000.

That's right, you'd need to fork out around $6,000 nowadays to get this bottle of liquid gold. And if it’s an award-winner you're after, Pappy Van Winkle won a Double Gold Medal at the San Fran World Spirits Awards in 2008. Rip Van Winkle might be some of the most expensive bourbon on the market, but it’s an excellent starting point to build a serious whiskey collection.

2. A.H. Hirsch Reserve 16-Year-Old Bourbon

  • Price Range: $2,400 to $15,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $8,100
  • Supply: 46
  • Type: ABV 45.8%

This A.H. Hirsch Reserve 16-Year-Old Blue Waxed Straight Bourbon Whiskey isn't your average bourbon-of-the-month. Crafted with great care by the legendary distiller Dick Stoll, this ghost whiskey was distilled in 1974 at the now-closed Michter's Distillery in Pennsylvania. With a mash bill of corn, rye, and malted barley, this high-proof nectar will knock your socks off.

A bottle of A.H Hirsch 16 year Reserve Bourbon Whiskey is worth up to $15,000 today.
Source: whisky auction

The flavor and taste profile of this rare whiskey is so appealing, and its attractive packaging, blue wax seal, and gold foil label add to its allure. And with only 4,244 cases ever made, you'll want to add this beauty to your collection before it travels to the North Pole for a permanent stay in Jolly old St. Nick's liquor supply.

3. Michter’s 20 Years Old Limited Release-Single Barrel Bourbon

  • Price Range: $4,000 to $10,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $8,700
  • Supply: 133
  • Type: ABV 57.1%

Michter's 20-Year-Old Bourbon is another illustrious ghost whiskey with the same mash bill, this time aged for two decades. When you uncork it, it exudes a powerful whiff of dried fruit, caramel, oak, and tobacco, followed by a creamy, toffee-tinged dark chocolate taste.

A bottle of Mitcher’s 20-year-old bourbon fetched up to $8,700.

Its smooth finish will leave you feeling like you just sipped a delicate blend of leather and smoke. But this limited edition whiskey only had 200 bottles released in 2012, so it's quickly becoming a collector's item and a solid investment.

4. Colonel E.H. Taylor ‘Cured Oak’ Straight Bourbon

  • Price Range: $2,600 to $10,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $7,800
  • Supply: 13
  • Type: ABV 50%

Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor set the bar for what whiskey lovers deem as "the good stuff" long ago in the 1800s, and the world is still impressed by his masterpiece today. In a moment of appreciation, E.H. Taylor Cured Oak Bourbon honors his legacy with a special limited edition whiskey worth every penny.

It's aged for thirteen months in oak barrels with staves that have been double-cured for extra flavor—nothing less than top-shelf whiskey treatment.

A bottle of Colonel E.H. Taylor ‘Cured Oak’ Straight sold for $7870 in April 2022.
Source: wine-searcher

Back in April 2022, it sold for an astounding $7,870. This bourbon earned a Silver medal at the World Whiskies Awards and the prestigious 4 Star Highly Recommended rating from Spirit Journal. This success shows that Colonel Taylor's still upholds its legacy of quality, so don’t miss out—grab a bottle while we can.

5. W. L. Weller 19-Year-Old bourbon

  • Price Range: $6,700 to $10,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $8,444
  • Supply: 9
  • Type: ABV 45%

For the savvy whiskey connoisseur, the W.L. Weller 19-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a sound investment. Crafted in 1825 and re-discovered in 2000, this 90-proof spirit is worth every penny of its $6,700 (and growing) price tag.

The rare W.L. Weller 19-year-old whiskies are worth at least $6,700.

With a dark bronze hue and smooth finish, this bourbon is far from your typical spirit. Notes of toasted oak, caramel, apricot, almonds, and barley whiskey make every dram an unforgettable experience—that’s what makes a bottle of W.L. Weller 19-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey well worth the money.

6. A.H. Hirsch Finest Reserve 20-Year-Old

  • Price Range: $2,800 to $15,300
  • Highest Sale Price: $13,000
  • Supply: 10
  • Type: ABV 45.8%

A.H. Hirsch Finest Reserve 20-Year-Old is a rare and highly sought-after bourbon whisky. Distilled in 1974 at the Pennco Distillery in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania, this luxurious spirit has been aged for an impressive 20 years in oak barrels. The whisky has a rich, smooth flavor, with notes of caramel, honey, and vanilla. 

The straight bourbon whiskey, distilled at the original Mitchers distillery in 1989 is now worth at least $2,500.
Source: whiskeyauctioneer

This limited-release AH Hirsch Bourbon is the perfect addition to any collection, with its distinctive red wax seal and perfect labels. Only ten bottles were released and the high end of it’s price range fluctuates between $10,000 and $15,300. The highest realized sale price was $13,000—a huge leap from its $5,950 price tag two years ago.

7. Willett Family Estate Bottled Single-Barrel 16-Year-Old Bourbon

  • Price Range: $760 to $22,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $16,050
  • Supply: 4
  • Type: ABV 60%

Willett Family Estate whiskey is a unique, rare bourbon aged six years in new, charred oak barrels and bottled at 133.6 proof. It has a deep flavor profile and a classic “Willett note” of rich caramel and perfumy-sweetness.

A bottle of Willett Family Estate 16-Year-Old Single Barrel Bourbon auctioned at $759 in February, 2022.
Source: wineauctioneer

With limited supply, a $760 to $22,000 price range, and the highest sale price reaching $16,050, this bourbon is a testament to whiskey’s profitability as an asset class.

8. Eagle Rare Double Eagle Very Rare 20-Year-Old 

  • Price Range: $13,000 to $22,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $17,800
  • Supply: 34
  • Type: ABV 40%

Eagle Rare Double Eagle Very Rare is a highly acclaimed 20-year-old straight Bourbon whiskey distilled at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. Its double-barrel aging process adds unique flavor and complexity, and its crystal decanter with two sculpted crystal glass eagles gives it an edge of classiness you can find nowhere else in the lower 48.

This limited edition bourbon comes with a numbered letter of authenticity, making it a valuable collector's item. Its flavor profile is marked by hints of vanilla, toasted oak, and caramel, leading to a gracefully-aged oaky finish.

Prices of 750ml bottles of Eagle Rare Double Eagle Very Rare 20-Year-Old start at $13,000.
Source: caskers

The whiskey's value has appreciated by nearly 12% in the past two years, due to its rarity and the complexity of its full-bodied flavor, achieved by the hard-working men and women at Buffalo Trace Distillery, one of the oldest in America. If you ever go shopping for one of these, make sure your bottle has a wax seal of authenticity from Buffalo Trace Distillery so you know you’re messing with the real deal.

9. Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash

  • Price Range: $19,000 to $96,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $31,400
  • Supply: 8
  • Type: ABV 43%

Investors looking for a unique addition to their collections should look to Michter's Sour Mash Whiskey. This small-batch spirit has deep, historical roots stretching back to the 18th century when it was known as Shenk's.

This whiskey gained much notoriety in the 1970s and 1980s for its unique taste and meticulous production process. It starts like bourbon and finishes like rye, with warm, toasted burnt sugar notes and just the right amount of spice.

Mitcher’s celebration Sour Mash Bourbon is valued as high as $96,000.

With a price range of $19,000 to $96,000 per 750ml bottle and the highest sale price of $31,400, investors will certainly be happy with their purchase. This bottle is a fantastic opportunity to invest in the fine spirit and whiskey market because, despite Michter's renowned craftsmanship and excellence, the distiller hasn’t produced a new bottle since the late 1980s—which means this bourbon’s scarcity is guaranteed.

10. The Last Drop 1980 Buffalo Trace

  • Price Range: $8,100 to $33,700
  • Highest Sale Price: $20,950
  • Supply: 10
  • Type: ABV 45%

The Last Drop 1980 Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon is a rare and exquisite whiskey, distilled and aged in 1980 and vatted into stainless steel recently. This 20-year-old whiskey has a complex flavor profile—dark chocolate, almond, leather, caramel, and oak.

A bottle of The Last Drop 1980 Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon can fetch upwards of $8,100.

With limited bottles available worldwide and sealed in two-bottle wooden cases, its price tag of this unique and rare whiskey is well worth it to luxurious collectors.

11. Colonel E.H. Taylor Old Fashioned Sour Mash

  • Price Range: $24,000 to $30,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $26,500
  • Supply: 9
  • Type: ABV 50%

Colonel E.H. Taylor's Old Fashioned Sour Mash Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky has been around since 1887 and is a mainstay of summertime sipping. This iconic whiskey is made with a blend of corn, rye, and barley, aged for over eight years in charred barrels, and sealed with a black wax top.

It’s sure to please Bourbon Enthusiasts as it got a 93-point rating from Wine Enthusiast Magazine and was named the 2012 New York Times Spirit of the Year.

Colonel E.H. Taylor Old Fashioned Sour Mash Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys are worth at least $24,000.

Tasting notes include caramel, brown sugar, dried fruit, and a spicy finish. This whiskey ranges between $24,000 and $30,000, with the highest sale price of $26,500. The high price and limited quantity make it a desirable piece for whiskey enthusiasts and collectors, which could increase in value over time.

12. Old Rip Van Winkle 25-Year-Old

  • Price Range: $9,850 to $65,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $56,875
  • Supply: 9
  • Type: ABV 50%

Old Rip Van Winkle 25-Year-Old tops the list as the most investment-worthy bourbon. Aged in oak barrels for a quarter century, its complex flavor is rare and worth the price tag, even without the highly collectible bottle it comes in. With limited quantities, the whiskey’s value is expected to appreciate due to its rarity and history.

The Pappy Van Winkle 25-year-old Bourbon is one of the most coveted vintage whiskeys.

Its highest sale stands at $56,875, but prices range from $49,000 to $65,000. Its timeless taste makes it an excellent choice for a connoisseur and will leave collectors with a remarkable return on investment if held for long enough.

Are bourbons a good investment?

Bourbon has become a popular investment asset due to its strong performance over the last decade. You can invest in whisky by buying bottles or casks through a broker, distillery, or investment club.

In 2020, Bourbon revenues and production volumes saw year-over-year growth despite bar and restaurant shutdowns. As a result, earnings projections for bourbon investments can be as high as 150% in four years.

However, the bourbon market is relatively small compared to traditional asset classes, meaning it can be hard to offload your investment quickly. Prices can also be unstable, so be aware of risks like being stuck with a bottle with no buyer, or worse: scams.

Bourbon vs Scotch as an investment

High-end Scotch whiskies regularly command impressive returns and set record prices at auctions. While Scotch is distinct from Bourbon, the two types of whiskey have had similar performance and indicate the upward trend of the asset class.

In December 2020, a four-decanter lot of Glenfiddich single malt from the 1950s went under the hammer for £830,000 (about $1 million) at The Distillers One of One charity event, setting a record for Glenfiddich sold at auction.

In another instance, a collector from Asia paid an eye-watering £16 million ($19.4 million) for a ‘one of a kind’ 1975 cask of Ardbeg single malt Scotch—a world record figure.

These anecdotes show how whiskey can perform investment assets, but the data shows its reliability. According to data from Rare Whisky 101, the Rare Whisky Icon 100 index has returned just over 400% since its inception in 2013. Scottish cask whisky ownership has consistently delivered average returns of between 8% and 12% yearly in recent decades.