In recent years, with the value of the U.S. dollar dropping and the Dow Jones Industrial Exchange, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all in bear markets, people are considering alternate investments as a safe place to store their money.
You may think of artwork or jewelry, or even men’s — but, oddly, not women’s — luxury watches as investments beyond the usual stocks, bonds or mutual funds. Wine and whiskey are also popular investments with the wealthy elite, with wine cellars worth millions of dollars and the most expensive single bottles valued at over $100,000.
But tequila is also getting its time in the sun as a popular alternate investment amongst the rich who like to party. People may choose to invest in tequila because they enjoy it. It’s long been considered a luxury adult beverage, especially if you snag the rare 100% blue agave version, which is experiencing production shortages and increased demand.
But what makes a tequila worthy of investment, or even paying hundreds — or thousands — of dollars or more to drink the bottle? Whether you’re considering in investing in tequila or just looking to splurge for a celebration, you should know what to look for in high-quality tequila and what factors drive the price up.
What Is the Highest Quality Tequila?
While you may prefer some over others based on their taste, any tequila made with 100% pure blue agave is considered the purest quality tequila. This can include varieties of aged tequila like añejo tequila — which can be barrel aged for three years — and other specialty tequilas aged for seven or eight years.
However, tequila comes in many different varieties, each produced in different ways. The common denominator amongst them all is they are made from the blue Weber agave plant, a succulent native to central Mexico.
Now, any spirit made from an agave plant is considered mezcal, so you could say that tequila is a type of mezcal. But most mezcals taste like a Mexican wine, while tequila has a heartier and often less sweet taste. In fact, silver tequila made with 100% blue agave that has not been aged often has a bite.
What Are the Other Types of Tequilas?
In addition to 100% pure blue agave silver tequila, there are also other types.
Reposado tequila, or rested tequila, is aged for two to 11 months. It can be warmer and smoother than silver tequila and may have the flavor of the wood barrel it rests in. It can be highly regarded if it is made from 100% pure blue agave.
Even higher quality is añejo tequila, which is aged in oak barrels for up to three years.
Aged tequila may sell for more money than silver tequila simply because more time and work goes into creating the product.
While reposado and añejo tequila may take on gold or amber hues due to the barrels they are aged in, not all gold tequila is 100% pure blue agave tequila.
In order to be billed as “made with blue agave,” it must contain at least 51% blue agave. Any tequila not made from pure agave is considered a “mixto.” Some mixtos take on gold colors due to added sugars, colorings and other additives. This can make it more palatable for some people. They might sell at slightly higher prices for consumers, but mixtos are never considered amongst the most expensive tequila brands on the market.
How Much Is Expensive Tequila?
Expensive tequila can vary dramatically in its price range. For instance, some consumers may consider Patron Silver, which retails for up to $39.99 for 750 ml, expensive. And it certainly is, compared to Jose Cuervo, which is a mixto tequila.
But Patron Silver and Gold are often served at parties of middle-class consumers, so expensive is really relative. Gran Patron Platinum, one of the more expensive options from this maker, can cost from $190 to $199 and is considered by some to be the best tequila available, especially without getting into prices that are cost-prohibitive to anyone but wealthy investors.
Once you start talking about investment quality tequila, prices can range from the hundreds on up to the thousands, hundreds of thousands, and even — in one rare case — millions.
What Is the Most Expensive Tequila?
Now that we’ve established that most varieties of Patron are on the low-end of “expensive” tequilas, you probably want to know, “What is the most expensive brand of tequila? And why are they so expensive?”
Quality, scarcity, bottle design, and the materials and craftsmanship with which the bottle is made – as well as consumer and investor demand – all drive the price up on these five most expensive bottles of tequila.
1. Ley Tequila 925 Diamante — $3,500,000
Ley Tequila 925 Diamante holds the record for most expensive brand of tequila — and it’s documented in the Guinness Book of World Records, too.
In the case of Ley, you are paying as much for the bottle as the 100% blue agave tequila inside, which has been barrel-aged for seven years. The bottle is made from five pounds of pure platinum and encrusted with 4,100 white diamonds. If you are interested in investing in liquor, art and jewels all at the same time, Ley 925 Diamante Tequila could be your answer.
2. Tequila Ley Ultra Premium — $225,000
If $3.5 million is too rich for your blood, consider the $225,000 Ley Ultra-Premium. Barrel-aged for six years, instead of seven, the tequila boasts similar quality to Ley Diamante but the bottle doesn’t carry the same hefty cost. Instead of diamonds, it’s made from white and yellow gold and platinum — still eye-catching, but not $3.5 million dollars’ worth of glitz.
3. Clase Azul 15th Anniversary Edition — $30,000
Right behind Ley is Clase Azul as one of the world’s most expensive tequilas. Its 15th anniversary edition goes for $30,000. Why is Clase Azul so expensive? It’s so pricey because there are only 15 bottles in existence — and two are only available as part of 15-bottle collections that sell for $450,000. The bottles are crafted from hand-painted ceramics, nestled in a box with 24-carat gold inlay.
4. Patron En Lalique, Series 2 — $7,500
While some Patron variations are accessible to many consumers, the En Lalique Series 2, produced in collaboration with the French crystal brand, would be considered a luxury liquor at $7,500 per bottle. Aged eight years in American oak, French oak and Sherry barrels for a unique flavor profile, the only thing more stunningly smooth than its taste is the cut crystal decanter that houses the tequila.
5. Barrique de Ponciano Porfidio — $2,000
Retailing at $2,000 a bottle, this 100% pure blue agave tequila is shipped in an artisan bottle in quantities of just 2,000 each year. The bottle’s design is created in 21-carat gold, adding to the collector’s value and the beauty.
Expensive tequila can range in price from roughly $200 a bottle up to tens of thousands and, at the pinnacle, Ley 925 Diamante’s $3.5 million bottle of barrel-aged, 100% pure blue agave tequila.
When you’re choosing tequila at this level, buy what you love and can afford. If it’s an investment, you may want to do more research than if you are buying it to drink or as a gift — and what a fortunate recipient that would be! The fewer bottles available, such as the case with Ley or Clase Azul, the more likely your investment is to appreciate.
Of course, even if you aren’t planning to drink — or invest in — any of these fine beverages, it can still be fun to dream.
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