We’ve all heard of people boasting of a vintage collection of wines and classic single-malts couched in their bars, but how much do we know about the choicest of tequilas in the world—barring the kinds that swirl in your margaritas? This National Tequila Day, acquaint yourself with some of the world’s most expensive versions of this fine liquor. By Bayar Jain

The trick to recognising a premium bottle of tequila lies in understanding the craftsmanship backing the blend. While most forms of this liquor are served as a shot with a lemon wedge and salt chaser to accompany, good tequila is meant to be sipped. In doing so, the natural flavours, aromas, and the tastes crafted by the mixologists’ skills are allowed to linger. This National Tequila Day, inch a little closer to becoming a tequila aficionado by familiarising yourself with some of it’s most expensive variants.

1. Ley Diamante: USD 3.5 million per bottle (INR 261,626,400)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Tequila Ley .925 (@tequilaley925) on

This luxurious bottle of tequila, dubbed as the most expensive of its kind in the world, is crafted with expertise in its every inch. The premium extra Añejo—a kind of tequila ordinarily aged in oak barrels, which, upon maturing, taste of agave, rich vanilla and floral aromas—is left in barrels to work its magic for seven years. With such expertise involved in the making of the liquor, it’s only natural for the exterior casing to have similar fine skill. A Ley Diamante bottle has two kilos of platinum, and 4,100 white diamonds entrusted. So precious is this casing that it is often considered one of the most important jewels made in Mexico since 1810!

2. Clase Azul Spirits 15th Edition: USD 30,000 per bottle (INR 22,38,675)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Clase Azul Tequila & Mezcal 🔹 (@claseazultequila) on

Although a sharp drop in terms of price when compared to the world’s most expensive tequila, it is important to note that this premium liquor is sold as a 15-bottle collection, effectively taking the cost up to USD 4,50,000 (INR 3,35,78,145). Crafted to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Clase Azul Spirits, this collection is inspired by the beauty of Mexican traditions. To tell the story of ‘México Through Time’, the lavish drink comes encased in a ceramic bottle studded with precious elements like amber and 24-karat gold. The liquor itself is a blend of two ultra-aged (15 and 11 years, respectively), reserve tequilas created exclusively for the collection.

3. Barrique de Ponciano Porfidio: USD 2,200 (INR 1,64,170)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by MJ (@emcorkbottle_vista_ca) on

A rare find for tequila enthusiasts, Barrique de Ponciano Porfidio is produced in batches of 2,000 bottles a year. This gem is aged for 10 years in oak barrels, with a cent per cent of agave in its constitution. The absence of added minerals or contaminated water further adds to its luxury, allowing the drink to swish down your throat easily. If that isn’t lavish enough, then peek closer at the bottle. The tall casing is embossed with letters and images using 21-karat gold, allowing the container to shine.

4. José Cuervo 250 Aniversario: USD 2,179 (INR 1,62,641)

World Tequila Day
Photo Courtesy: cuervo.com

Another ultra-aged tequila, this special edition liquor is a result of Jose Cuervo’s 250 year anniversary. To make this vintage drink, tequila is first aged in French and American oak barrels, post which it is blended in their legendary cellars. To finish, another year of ageing is undertaken in special sherry barrels brought in from Spain. However, this process of packing a punch of flavours begins well before letting it mature. When picking the harvest, only single-crop fields are used. Moreover, 100 per cent blue agave finds a way into the final product.

5. 1800 Colección Tequila: USD 1,800 (INR 1,34,563)

World Tequila Day
Photo Courtesy: 1800tequila.com

Named after the year tequila started ageing in oak barrels, a bottle of this extra Anejo tequila is considered one of the rarest variations of it in the world. This is because only 100 bottles of 1,800 Colección Tequila have been manufactured till date. Every edition of the gem is paired with a custom-made decanter crafted to perfection by multidisciplinary artist, Gary Baseman. Like the name, the decanter, too, comes heavy with meaning and symbolism. Dubbed the Sirena de Deseo, the Belgian crystal encasing translates to Mermaid of Desire.

Related: A Handy Guide To The South American Drinking Game