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1,000,000 year old single malt
November 30, 2006 5:57 PM   Subscribe

I wanted to buy (at some point) a really, really expensive bottle of liquor or wine (no Champagne). The idea was to hold on to it for a very long time until one day something so important happens in my life that I deem it worthy to drink the alcohol in celebration. Any suggestions on what to get?
posted by Falconetti to Food & Drink (44 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is cognac out because of the no Champagne rule?
posted by YoBananaBoy at 6:01 PM on November 30, 2006


30 year Lagavulin
posted by mattbucher at 6:09 PM on November 30, 2006


Cognac is in.
posted by Falconetti at 6:11 PM on November 30, 2006


I could be wrong, but I don't know of any spirits (other than wine and the like) that age in the bottle. So, while there's nothing wrong with buying bourbon, scotch, or vodka, waiting is only going to make it better for emotional reasons.

That being said, if it were me, I'd pick up some Evan Williams 23 year old bourbon, which I've had only once.
posted by Kwantsar at 6:12 PM on November 30, 2006


Single Malt Scotch Whisky is aged in barrels before bottling, so once in the bottle more aging does nothing, but possibly make it worse.
posted by rabbitsnake at 6:12 PM on November 30, 2006


Yeah, if your up for Cognac, then I say Remy Martin Louis XIII. At over $1,500 a bottle, definitely something you'd save for a big occasion. Unless you're Jay-Z or something.
posted by lannanh at 6:18 PM on November 30, 2006


Whiskey: The Macallan Fine & Rare Collection, 1939, 40 Years Old

Price: $10,125 per bottle (according to Forbes)
posted by JekPorkins at 6:21 PM on November 30, 2006


30 year Lagavulin

Omigod. I didn't know such a thing existed. And I think the $80 stuff is decadent? Now you've got me coveting something even more extravagant...
posted by jdroth at 6:24 PM on November 30, 2006


I'd go for a port. You can get an expensive bottle now and sit on it, or (maybe even better) you can get a recent but acclaimed vintage for not a whole lot of money, hold it for a long time (by which point it will have become an expensive bottle), and then drink it to celebrate.

I'm holding onto several bottles of a 1989 from a really nice vintner for just this reason.
posted by ewagoner at 6:25 PM on November 30, 2006


My father bought a bottle of port when I was born to give me on my 21st birthday.

Unfortunately, he died when I was 8, my mother forgot about it, then found it in a locked cabinet when I was about 25. And then it got broken by accident when I was 29 or 30, before I found an occasion to open it.

So I have no idea what it would've been like, but obviously HE thought it was a good idea.
posted by epersonae at 6:25 PM on November 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


What you want is a bottle of rum found in a shipwreck, a la Captain Haddock in Red Rackham's Treasure (Tintin, yeh?).

Idea filched from Georges Perec
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:31 PM on November 30, 2006


Don't know where I heard it, but I've always kept in mind some advice I'd heard: When your child is born, buy a bottle of Port, and by the time they are 21 and able to drink, it will have aged well and will probably be worth quite a bit of money (assuming it's vintage).

I used to think you were supposed to enjoy it with your 21-year old, but now that I'm older and greedier I prefer to think you get to drink it yourself in a self-congratulatory way, while you toss your kid $10 to buy a case of Natural Lite.

If the aging process isn't the point, then it doesn't really matter what you get. Anything vintage you buy now should be more valuable in the future, even if the taste hasn't changed. I'd suggest buying something you know you like and stashing that - nothing would ruin the celebration than finding out a $1000 bottle of 48-year old whiskey wasn't better than this year's limited release $80 bottle.

So if money were no issue, I'd just go over to Scotland and buy a whole damn barrel of single malt and sit on it until the rapture comes, whereupon I can get ready for my eternal stint in hell in a proper inebriated indignation.
posted by krippledkonscious at 6:32 PM on November 30, 2006


Should have previewed; cheers to ewagoner and epersonae, shotgun penalty for me.
posted by krippledkonscious at 6:36 PM on November 30, 2006


Pre-ban absinthe. Good luck finding any though.
posted by lekvar at 6:36 PM on November 30, 2006


waiting is only going to make it better for emotional reasons.

That is what I meant. I don't care if it ages better in bottle or not.
posted by Falconetti at 6:45 PM on November 30, 2006


Note that vintage Port is not produced every year, only years in which the grapes from the Douro (the region of Portugal in which true Port is produced) are exceptionally good. Here's a chart of recent Port vintages.

If you're considering Port or other wines, you might give some consideration to how it's going to be stored--supposedly, wines that are being stored for several years should be kept in a fairly cool place, around 55°F. I don't have any personal experience with whether it really affects 10+ year old wines to be stored at room temperature vs. 55°F, but that's what the wine experts say.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:55 PM on November 30, 2006


A Riesling ice wine will apparently cellar for a very long time and remain drinkable. It's not like a million dollars, but a very good ice wine could set you back over $100.
posted by GuyZero at 6:55 PM on November 30, 2006


How long a time frame are you considering? 1-5 years? 10-15? 20+?
posted by Lycaste at 7:25 PM on November 30, 2006


Penfolds Grange. I think it's in the 200-300 dollar range.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:29 PM on November 30, 2006


I don't know if it's worth it. Sure, 30-year-old port is way better than recent port. It's also easy to just go buy 30-year-old port, in a store, and the somewhat high expense easily outweighs the hassle of keeping track of a bottle for 30 years.

As a sentimental gift to a child, it's cool. But beyond that...
posted by smackfu at 7:35 PM on November 30, 2006


What you want is a bottle of rum found in a shipwreck, a la Captain Haddock in Red Rackham's Treasure (Tintin, yeh?).

Am I crazy, or was there an auction of bottles of wine which went down with the Titanic and were salvaged? That's what I'd buy if I could.

They say keep wine still, out of direct sunlight and at a constant cool temperature, right?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 7:37 PM on November 30, 2006


Lay in a bottle (or a case) of Margaux. If you don't have any special occasions in the next 30 years, you probably lost at life - but drink it anyway.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:41 PM on November 30, 2006


I'd say punt on the wine or port. Unless you've got some way to keep it at a cool and (more importantly) consistent temperature, it won't age well over the kind of duration you're thinking.
posted by mkultra at 7:51 PM on November 30, 2006


I was thinking closer to 20+ years. The pain of keeping track of it for so long and the uncertainty of when it will be the time to drink it is what makes it desirable to me. Every day will open with the question: "Is this the day I get to drink this expensive shit I bought 15 years ago?"
posted by Falconetti at 8:26 PM on November 30, 2006


I'll second the Penfold's Grange. Far & away the most acclaimed red wine from the country that produces the best reds on the planet.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:30 PM on November 30, 2006


I'd advise Barollos, noting that a well-aged barollo is about the best damn wine anywhere, and that anyone who claims Australia can outclass Italy is a blinkered fool not to be trusted with anything beyond Fosters.
posted by klangklangston at 8:34 PM on November 30, 2006


(For what it's worth, I recently had the occasion to drink a very old bottle of very cheap bourbon — I think it was at least thirty years old — and I'd have sworn it was much more pleasant than it would have been new. I have no idea if this was a fluke, but I get the definite impression that it did improve in the bottle, even if that's not how things are supposed to be done.

Mind you, I have no idea what would happen if you kept good bourbon that long.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:37 PM on November 30, 2006


The funny thing, klango, is that Fosters simply doesn't exist in Australia. You couldn't drink it even if you wanted to.

Apart from that, your presumably amateur opinion is clearly trumped by the judges of the Sydney International Wine Competition, which holds the #1 googlerank for the three terms after Sydney, and is therefore obviously the foremost wine comp in the world, as it should be.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:11 PM on November 30, 2006


I'm also going to recommend the Penfolds Grange. I had the chance to have some that had been in a friends cellar for 30-odd years. It was very very nice. =]
posted by cholly at 9:45 PM on November 30, 2006


And their provincial professional opinion is trumped by the actual International Wine Competition, held where the judges aren't ranking purely on pairings with koala meat, in which Australians couldn't win anything but "Best Wine Made in Australia," even being beaten by CANADIANS for best Syrrah.
Or the Critic's Challenge wine competition, where the only wine from Down Under was made by Kiwis, and where Italian reds are routinely the best of show.

And I'm not clear as to how you got that googlerank, as the IWSC is clearly above in both quoted and unquoted forms. Perhaps you should look at .com rather than .au

(Hopefully, both of the above links will help the poster find more wines, and Ubu will realize that the chiding is in good fun, though, again, only someone of a criminal nature would prefer Australia to Italy when it comes to wine.)
posted by klangklangston at 10:24 PM on November 30, 2006


in which Australians couldn't win anything but "Best Wine Made in Australia,"

*ahem*
Trophies:
* Riesling - Peter Lehmann
* Single Estate - Leasingham (another Riesling)

Or the Critic's Challenge wine competition, where the only wine from Down Under was made by Kiwis

If you are talking "best of show". The detailed results include heaps of Australian wines receiving gold or platinum awards.

Overall, yeh, good wine is good wine. I guess we just have a bit of a thing for strong reds with body & balls, which doesn't always sit well with people more accustomed to the the thin & watery European drops.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:53 PM on November 30, 2006


Rare limited edition and special Scotches

The world's most expensive tequila at $250,000 a bottle!

Forbes list of the most expensive whiskies

posted by lannanh at 12:11 AM on December 1, 2006


Port wine would age well. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Château Yquem, or any other (good) Sauternes.

Sauternes is a sweet, white Bordeaux wine, the grapes are left on the vineyard until they develop a rare and noble breed of "noble rot" called botrytis. They are very concentrated grapes, high in sugar and very low in water content. They will age forever, and they cost a fortune.

It's really the only way to go.
posted by NekulturnY at 1:04 AM on December 1, 2006


If you want to go with a whisky, then a good choice would be a malt from a defunct distillery, of which there will necessarily only ever be ever-dwindling & ever more expensive supplies. My very favourite dram, Port Ellen, falls into this category - it's an Islay malt, quite like Lagavulin, only (to my taste) just that little bit better again. The recent series of cask-strength distillery bottlings are selling for $200+ per bottle, so are already something of a luxury.
posted by misteraitch at 1:29 AM on December 1, 2006


Second misteraitch on defunct whiskies instead of wine, especially if you're not sure how long you'll be keeping a bottle or in what conditions. The other nice thing about this is that you don't have to drink it in one go, and can share it among more people. From my experience I would try to get my hands on these Speyside (less harsh than Islay, typically) prizes:

Geo. & JG Smith's Glenlivet estate bottled by Gordon & MacPhail - recognizable by distinctive lion label. They were casked in the 50s, come in several ages and even the 15 y.o. is an absolute stunnah.

Dallas Dhu. Closed in the 1980s, again, you will find older casks rebottled by other distributors such as Gordon & MacPhail, Duncan Taylor et al (I have a 1977 Signatory bottling on the go).

Pre-1983 Benromach.
posted by methylsalicylate at 5:45 AM on December 1, 2006


I *really* wanted to buy a bottle of vintage port from 2001 when my daughter was born, but 2001 was a non-vintage year. I have a 2001 Warre's LBV waiting for her instead.

Still, port would be my first choice for this, with cognac a close second. Hadn't thought of Sauternes, but that's an interesting idea, too.
posted by briank at 5:48 AM on December 1, 2006


Wine is difficult to store well and a pretty high percentage of bottles, particularly of older wines, end up corked, which means that the taste of cork has permeated the wine and ruined the flavor. This is why you get to taste a wine before agreeing to pay for it at good restaurants. If you do decide to buy and store wine for a special occasion, one bottle is not enough--if it ends up ruined in the normal course of things, the whole project goes to hell. Instead, consider getting a case of something recommended by someone at a good wine shop as something that will age well. Or, if you're set on the single bottle of wine, make sure it has a synthetic cork.
posted by OmieWise at 6:07 AM on December 1, 2006


Lay in a bottle (or a case) of Margaux.

My first thought was also of a great Bordeaux (guaranteed to get better over the years if properly stored), but reflection convinced me that the poster is clearly not knowledgeable about wine (or a "wine snob" if you prefer) or he wouldn't be asking the question, and frankly great old Margaux would be wasted on someone who wasn't used to drinking good wine. So buy the case and send half to ikkyw2 and half to me get some vintage port or great scotch (mmm, Lagavulin), whichever appeals to you. Or armagnac or calvados. Or madeira. Mmm, madeira...
posted by languagehat at 6:21 AM on December 1, 2006


Do you like any of these wine/liquors being suggested? It seems to me that one essential component is what you actually like to drink. Granted, that could change in 20 years, or you could start working on liking it now, but.... I'd start there.

That said, I like the sauternes suggestion, but as with all wines, there's the issue/burden of properly storing the wine over all those years. If you're going to keep wine, here's a guide to how long each French wine should be kept for. And here's a general guide to storing wine.
posted by Amizu at 6:29 AM on December 1, 2006


I was just dropping in to say what Amizu said. I have a bottle of poitin that was put aside by my uncle when I was born, for my 18th birthday. It's still sitting in my parents' house (and I'm 29 now), I wouldn't drink it if you paid me. What do you enjoy drinking?
posted by jamesonandwater at 7:22 AM on December 1, 2006


Do you like any of these wine/liquors being suggested? It seems to me that one essential component is what you actually like to drink. Granted, that could change in 20 years, or you could start working on liking it now, but.... I'd start there.

This is a good point. Some friends of ours brought us a really nice bottle of wine from Italy and advised us to hang on to it for five years or so to let it get to the proper age. We waited the five years, found a nice reason to open it, made a wonderful dinner, poured the wine, tasted it...

Our first thought was "meh."

It was ok but a $10.00 bottle of Fetzer would have satisfied us just as much. We're not wine snobs, but we we know the difference between kick-ass wine and "ok" wine.

So yeah, buy something that you already know you're going to like. Then, when Dakota Fanning turns 18, or there's some other reason to celebrate, you know you're not going to get the same "meh" feeling we did.
posted by bondcliff at 7:56 AM on December 1, 2006


Am I crazy, or was there an auction of bottles of wine which went down with the Titanic and were salvaged? That's what I'd buy if I could.

It's mentioned here. You can view the Titanic's wine list here with this note:

"When Dr. Robert Ballard explored the wreck of the Titanic on July 26th, 1986 he discovered hundreds of wine bottles scattered all over the ocean floor. The corks of the still wine bottles had imploded under the huge ocean pressure though the majority of the champagne bottles appeared to be intact. It was commonly known that the vibrations from the Titanic's engines would dislodge the sediment and diminish any old wine. The wine stewards aboard the Titanic decanted therefor any good red wines with enormous care, after having left them standing upright for several hours, so as to leave as much sediment as possible at the bottom of the wine bottles. It was not uncommon for the First-Class diners aboard the Titanic to drink champagne with every course from appetizer to dessert."
posted by mattbucher at 12:34 PM on December 1, 2006


The initial formulation of the question was going to exclude wines altogether because of the difficulty in storing wine for such a long period of time. I decided to broaden the question knowing that I would still get all good recommendations on whisky (which I like and which was what I had in mind at the beginning), but figured that someone might suggest a wine or other liquor that would jump out as having special significance to me.

I'm far from an expert on wine, but have had lots of exposure (especially to good port) and probably would have a much more refined taste in the next decade or two (I'm an obnoxious food snob, so there is a natural progression). Intelligent recommendations on wine would likely mean little to me now, as my palate is still developing, but in the long view would have more relevance. And anyway, the desirable quality in this whole thing to me is not so much the taste, but the psychic investiture and the concomitant self-created importance of one day uncorking or opening the purchase in response to an as yet to be determined event.
posted by Falconetti at 4:30 PM on December 1, 2006


Port you say? How about a Seppelt 100 Year Para?
posted by markr at 7:43 PM on December 1, 2006


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