Would You Spend $825K on a Barrel of Whisky?

With Sazerac's Single Barrel Select program, it actually might be worth the cost

A drawing for a winner of Sazerac's Single Barrel Select program back in March, which allows consumers to buy barrels of their favorite whiskies
A drawing for a winner of Sazerac's Single Barrel Select program back in March
Buffalo Trace

Sazerac’s Single Barrel Select (SBS) program launched in 2014, although the experience underwent some enhancements earlier this year. SBS allows consumers to hand-pick their own barrel from a portfolio of spirits, primarily but not exclusively bourbon.

It’s been a success, and it appears to be growing: The SBS lot for 2023 has a 70% increase in stock from the lot in 2021, including a 99.98% increase in barrels of Buffalo Trace. Depending on availability, spirits enthusiasts have access to single barrels of Blanton’s, Eagle Rare, Weller, Paul John, The Last Drop and even a tequila (Corazón).

There are drawings four times during the year, complete with live-streamed drawing events — note that winning these drawings only gives you the opportunity to buy a barrel. There’s a points system to determine the number of entries and you need to sign up as an SBS member to participate.

Review: The Last Drop Redefines Rare and Extra-Aged Spirits
Their latest releases include a cask from Scotland’s oldest distillery, a unicorn Japanese whisky blend and a 70-year old Cognac

The latest drawings take place on July 26, with one for Sazerac Rye and another for Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare and Blanton’s. Each bottle from a winning barrel — which can either be chosen via an in-person visit or selected by someone on the Sazerac team — features a personalized medallion with the winner’s name or logo. Winners get the bottles shipped to a local retailer for purchase (a workaround due to booze laws) and the empty barrel itself is shipped as a souvenir.

So, where did that six-figure number in the headline come from? The total cost of a barrel purchase is calculated by multiplying the price per bottle by the number of bottles yielded (which is about 160-240), plus local sales tax. Prices for these barrels currently range from $5,000 to $825,000. That last number currently applies to a 1971 Blended Scotch Whisky from The Last Drop Distillers…but if you consider that Last Drop releases usually start at $4,500 per bottle and go up quite a bit from there, this actually works out to a relative bargain. Meanwhile, when available, other prices are much more reasonable: $5,000+ (Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare), $9,600 (Weller 107 Antique — definitely worth it) and $13,000 (Blanton’s).

The deadline to enter the July 26th drawing is this Friday (June 30).


Join America's Fastest Growing Spirits Newsletter THE SPILL. Unlock all the reviews, recipes and revelry — and get 15% off award-winning La Tierra de Acre Mezcal.