The Rarest Bourbons in the World

The Rarest Bourbons in the World

A guide to the most exclusive and elusive whiskeys

Bourbon is a type of American whiskey that is made from at least 51 percent corn and aged in new charred oak barrels. Bourbon has a rich history and a diverse range of flavors, from sweet and smooth to spicy and smoky. But some bourbons are rarer than others, either because they are produced in limited batches, have exceptional quality, have a unique story behind them, or highly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs. Here are some of the rarest bourbons in the world, and what makes them so special.

1989 OFC, Old Fashioned Copper, Buffalo Trace Distillery

1989 Old Fashioned Copper

With this release being comprised of only 18 bottles from a single barrel, it is one of the rarest and most elusive bourbons out on the market.  Of the 18 bottles, the rumor is that one broke in transit, one was opened for a dinner party in February of 2020, one was drank at a bar in San Antonio Texas this past year, and perhaps one other was drank at another undisclosed bar, leaving 14.  It’s likely that ten or fewer exists overall and the last “in search of” or “ISO” post I saw on this bottle had an asking price of $80,000!!!  Other sought after OFC vintages include 1982, 1983 and 1985 which collectively share less than 200 bottles between them!

Redemption 36 Year Old Bourbon

Redemption 36-Year-Old

Thirty what?  Six?  Yes, thirty-six years old!  As a part of the Seagram's "Ancients" lineup this bourbon pushes the limits of the possible and is perhaps one of the oldest to ever be released by anyone.  As we all know, as the juice sits in the barrel year by year, it gives up an increasing amount of the "angels share" to evaporation; over the course of nearly four decades of sitting in the wood that doesn't leave fact, from four barrels only 18 bottles were what was actually produced.  A typical barrel yields around 200 the angels had more than their fair share you might say!  A unique aspect of this bottling as well is that they are sealed with a 1978 U.S. penny marking the year in which the juice hit the barrel.  Presumed value for this bottle sits around $36,000; perhaps consider selling a kidney on the black market?

William Heavenhill Signature Bourbon 2008

William Heavenhill Signature

Bottled at cask strength, only 225 bottles of William Heavenhill Signature were produced by Heaven Hill to commemorate what would have been William Heavenhill's 225th birthday.  The 225 bottles were aged for 225 months and retailed for around $500 when they were released in 2008.  Expect a bottle of this juice to set you back $10,000. Dive in for information on the entire lineup of this highly allocated expression from Heaven Hill here.

Michter's Celebration Sour Mash Bourbon 2016

2016 Michter’s Celebration

The final blend of six barrels by outgoing Master Distiller Willie Pratt only 256 bottles total came to market.  With its 18-carat gold lettering, very limited release, and being the swan song of Willie Pratt, you can expect this 116.8 proof bottle to fetch around $18,500 in today's market.

1980 The Last Drop Bourbon

The Last Drop 1980 Buffalo Trace

When the George T. Stagg distillery was bought in 1992 by the Sazerac Company, the oldest continuously operating bourbon distillery in the world was handed over, including some barrels of bourbon which were distilled in 1980 stashed in the corner of one of the warehouses.  The Last Drop Distillers acquired these barrels producing less than 250 bottles in total.  Interestingly, the juice, a 20-year bourbon was released in 2020; it spent 20 years in the barrel and then another 20 in a steel tank which arrested the maturation process.  Although this is a modern release, just looking at this bottle takes you back in time; you can almost picture an Oldsmobile Cutlass with a velvety velour divided front bench seat, transporting Gary Gayheart to and from the distillery at the time.  This very unique bottle will run you around $10,400 in today's market.

Old Rip Van Winkle 25-Year-Old Bourbon

Old Rip Van Winkle 25 Year

Old Rip Van Winkle is a legendary name in the bourbon world, known for its high-quality and high-proof whiskeys. The 25 Year is the oldest and rarest expression of the brand, released in 2017 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the partnership between Julian Van Winkle III and the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Only 710 bottles were made, each hand-numbered and encased in a silver box. The bourbon itself is a smooth and complex sipper, with notes of caramel, vanilla, oak, and spice. The suggested retail price was $1,800, but the secondary market value is much higher, with a bottle just last week fetching $36,500.

Bourbon Blue Book

With over one million searches this past year and updated weekly, the Bourbon Blue Book™ is the definitive resource on the web for tracking secondary values of coveted bottles of brownwater.  Based on real secondary sales data it is not only the most comprehensive but the most up to date tool to ensure if you’re buying or selling a bottle, you’re doing so being whiskey wise.  MSRP is a thing of the past when it comes to sought after whiskey, and the line between retail and secondary is becoming more and more blurry.  Make sure you’re bookmarking our page so you’re in the know on what a good versus not so good price is the next time you’re thinking about a purchase.    

Access Taste Data for Nearly 500 Different Bourbons

Unpackage complex flavor intensity data on nearly 500 different bourbons to find a pour you’ll love in our Members Only section, where you can sign up and then pin/add our site to your home screen where it will function much like an app, often referred to as a “web app.” The new web app will incorporate all the existing features available on Bourboneur as well as an expanded offering of tools and resources to help Bourboneur’s everywhere become whiskey wise. Want to keep up with Bourboneur and our upcoming launch, bottles drops and more?  Join our community of thousands by scrolling down and subscribing to our weekly email list – you can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and yes, even TikTok.  Show us some love and give us a like on your favorite platform, or all of them and keep up with all the Bourboneur happenings!

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