Spirited Away: The Ambrosia of This World
Throughout this mini-series I’ve written from my experiences and from my level to best portray a relatively relatable journey (or bender) through a variety of different spirits. From highs to lows, and from exemplary to awful, I’ve endeavoured to showcase spirits in a manner that benefits the majority of tastes; but not today. No, today I’m here to discuss the indulgences that neither you nor I (certainly not I) will ever experience. These are the spirits that were seemingly crafted in the heart of a dying star for their rarity and have most likely only passed the lips of decadent richness and powerful royalty. This is the nectar of the gods that has slipped from the heavens; the ambrosia of this world.
…Apologies for sounding so melodramatic but you’ll understand from their price tags alone that these are spirits to be taken seriously; more so than a pack of poltergeists with a fondness for flinging knives. It’s not just the titanic sized price tags that’ll impress you (and sink your hopes of ever sampling them), it’s the craftsmanship that has gone into both the packaging and its contents. Calling these drinks artwork is more than merited, even without omitting the ones that seem gaudy at first glance. Sure, some are more valuable due to the bottle itself (such as one encrusted with a ludicrous 6,000 diamonds) but that shouldn’t diminish the value of anything on this list.
Let’s begin at what’s charitably called the cheapest item on this list; Legacy by Angostura. Only 20 of these have ever been put up for sale, each at a mighty £20k a piece, making this the most expensive rum in the world. That claim has already got my taste buds begging my brain to save up for years to even look at one of these bottles, yet as avid a fan as I am for all things rum, even I have to admit that the only reasonable time there’d be to shell out 20 grand for booze would be during a hedonistic spending spree after winning the lottery. Twice.
Released in 2012, Legacy was crafted to celebrate half a century of independence for Trinidad. Made of a blend of seven rums aged for at least 17 years, each specifically chosen from over 80,000 casks of Angostura’s finest reserves, one can only imagine how delicious this rum is. It’s been reported that it has predominately honey and vanilla flavours, with hints of roasted coffee and orange zest, though given that one of the lucky procurers of this rum used to sell a shot of Legacy for around six grand, it’s hard to confirm this. Scratch that, it’s nearly impossible to confirm this, but a man can dream. A man can dream.
The presentation is utterly sublime too, with somewhat simple tones to it. Inspired by a timeless Art Deco, the smooth crystal decanter was designed by the British jeweller and luxury goods house Asprey. It’s not just beautiful for the elegant bottle though, as it features a sterling silver topper that’s shaped like the incredibly rare Trinidadian butterfly, resting upon a sugar cane, which perfectly captures the free spirit of a proud, independent nation. Housed in a handmade, red calf leather cased and velvet lined box, the whole ensemble is a beauty to behold. Out of the 20 that were made almost all of them were sold to private collectors before they even reached the market.
The next luxurious liquor we’ll look at is, somehow, still considered to be cheap on this list. Priced at £100,000, the John Walker & Sons Diamond Jubilee was created to celebrate, you guessed it, the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
The dedication to the Diamond Jubilee and the Queen can be seen in every aspect of this whiskey. The spirit itself is a tantalising blend of grain and malt whiskies that were all distilled the year the Queen took the throne, and they were fused in casks made with the oak from the Royal Estate in Sandringham. They were even laid down at the Royal Lochnagar distillery, which is situated close to the Queen’s Balmoral Castle, making this a whiskey virtually hand made for Queen Elizabeth II. All it needs now is for an exclusively corgi based delivery system.
Reported to taste like a transition between light fruits, spice infused creaminess and a smoky wood finish, here’s hoping the Queen enjoys it, especially as she’s probably one of the only people who’ll taste it. Along with the incredible price tag there’s also the fact that only 60 (I’m sensing a theme here) were ever made, so chances are the only way you’ll get a taste is if you’re ever knighted.
Despite the flavour and richness of the whiskey itself being an appealing prospect it’s the presentation that’s somewhat justifying the price. Simply the sight of it is awe inspiring, housed in a diamond shaped Baccarat decanter, finished with a Britannia silver collar that’s complete with a half-carat diamond just for good measure. Though despite all the complaints that we mortals will never taste, let alone own, one of these glorious examples of divine whiskies there’s little room to grumble, as although one was gifted to the Queen, the other 59 were sold for the purpose of charity, with the entire £5.9 million made in sales going towards the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship fund. And you can’t really get mad at a charity.
I could write about these all day yet the word limit requires me to be somewhat concise. I could carry on about incredibly rare, one of a kind spirits like coconut brandy or insanely complex alcohol filtered through literal diamonds, but if there’s one final example of these forever-out-of-reach drinks that I simply have to speak about it’s this; the D’Amalfi Limoncello Supreme. Quite the twist, eh? Who would have thought that a Limoncello liqueur would be discussed among the most expensive spirits in the world? Well if you’re anything like me then you’re about to be shocked (and perhaps even a little appalled) by the cost of this spirit. £27 million. Let that sink in; £27 MILLION, for a bottle of LIMONCELLO. I often think of anything more than £15 as too much for a bottle of the stuff but this, this is simply baffling.
Or is it? Well let’s take a look at the history of D’Amalfi Limoncello Supreme and gleam why the price is so high. Originally commissioned by an anonymous Italian lover of Limoncello, only two bottles have ever been made, with only one of the commissioned bottles being purchased. This makes the one remaining, extraordinarily expensive bottle still for sale more or less a unique item. Now, this may not come as a surprise, but while I was researching this drink I found it difficult to determine what it tasted like. Unsurprising since, as aforementioned, there’s only two bottles of the stuff in the world, most likely both remaining unopened, which made one website’s description of the taste perplexingly mystifying. It was made using the peels of the sweetest lemons from the famous Amalfi Coast though, so an educated guess would say it’s blissfully delicious.
You may still be wondering where that monumental price tag comes from though, as unique item or not over quarter of a billion pounds is still a steep price. Well like many lavished items it’s the packaging that racks up the price, with three flawless diamonds located along the collar, totaling a combined CTS of 13, and one of the world’s rarest diamonds embedded in the bottle, sized at a staggering 18.5 CTS.
Those are just three of the world’s larger-than-life spirits, each of which I’d give part of my liver to own, but there’s so many more out there that merit looking into; for the ridiculousness of the price if nothing else.
Do you know of any other outlandish spirits worth checking out? Which one would you love to include in your personal collection? Let us know in the comments section below or via Facebook or Twitter! And of course, be sure to check out the rest of the Spirited Away series, as well as the rest of the gourmet goodness on the Gourmet Society blog!
By Tom Simpkins