What does your whisky cabinet covet—something rare and limited from a faraway land? Something new and exciting that’s locally made? In the world of whisky collecting, beauty is in the eye of the bottle holder, but a few truths remain: A majority of the most collectible distilleries are in Scotland. It’s never too late to get started collecting. And older isn’t necessarily better.
When it comes to the here and now, American whiskey is taking hold as the next big collectible category. Many of the best bourbons and ryes are still both affordable and accessible, but simultaneously, they’re carving out a prime spot atop the collectible summit. If you’re smart—or lucky—you’ll grab one of these bottles while you can.
What you wish you could buy right now
Pappy Van Winkle
The granddaddy of them all, a bourbon sought after by rock stars, Michelin-starred chefs, Wall Street titans, and almost everyone else.
Buffalo Trace Antique Collection
Sazerac’s annual release of George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller, Thomas H. Handy rye, Eagle Rare 17 year old, and Sazerac 18 year old rye. These exceptional whiskeys are always less than $100—at least in theory.
Released in 2013 and again in 2016, Celebration may be the highest-priced American whiskey ever released—but the price pales in comparison to many single malts.
Parker’s Heritage Collection
Created in honor of late master distiller Parker Beam, Parker’s Heritage comes out just once a year—but it’s a wildly different style every time. This year’s is an 11 year old single barrel bourbon.
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon
Old Forester celebrates founder George Garvin Brown’s birthday on September 2nd every year with this special release. If you can still find it on September 3rd, consider yourself a happy camper.
Four Roses Limited Edition
All you need to know about Four Roses’ annual limited-edition releases is that they’re consistently exceptional. Unfortunately, your local liquorist probably has figured this out too and marked it up accordingly.
Whiskies you’ll wish you bought 10 years from now
Pappy Van Winkle
If you think Pappy Van Winkle is hard to get now, just wait ten years and see what happens.
Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project
A set of 192 single barrel bourbons, each barrel made from half of a single tree from different parts of a forest.
Partially aged in barrels made from Garryana oak native to the Pacific Northwest, offering a distinctive flavor. Buy the younger releases now to compare against more mature ones down the road.
Every year, FarmStock will evolve to include more of WhistlePig’s own whiskey, at older ages. A case study in the art of blending.
St. George Baller
A California take on Japanese whisky from one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious craft distillers, with a stunning label to match.
Freddie Noe, son of Jim Beam master distiller Fred Noe, just launched his first whiskey in 2017—and it’s a knockout. Get in on the ground floor of this new series from a new generation.
Who could better predict the collectible whiskeys of the future than the people who make them? We asked several distillers what new or craft whiskeys they see becoming collectible someday—besides their own.