Here we explore the captivating story of Ley .925’s La Ley Del Diamante (AKA Diamond Sterling Tequila) – what was supposed to be the most expensive tequila ever sold at $3.5m. In this article, I’ll cover the history, unique bottle design, and the fascinating details that contribute to its staggering $3.5 million asking price.
The short story is that La Ley Del Diamante is not the most expensive bottle of tequila because no one ever bought it! It was first brought to market in 2007 for $725,000 (1 million Euros) but received no bids. In 2016 it was next offered for sale for $3.5m but again, no one bought it. In 2017 the bottle’s producer first opened the bottle as part of a fundraiser, presumably admitting defeat.
In my book you can’t call yourself the most expensive bottle if no one actually buys it. Ley .925 does however hold the Guiness World Record for the most expensive bottle, which sold for $225,000 in 2006. The record still stands today. The promoters are arguably guilty of using this earlier record to pass off Ley Del Diamante as the most expensive bottle of tequila. They have certainly fooled many online.
Table of Contents
History of the “world’s most expensive bottle of tequila”
- Just one bottle of La Ley Del Diamante was made with the objective of becoming the most expensive bottle ever sold. Not the most expensive liquor. Not the most expensive tequila. The most expensive bottle.
- La Ley Del Diamante means “the law of the diamond” in English. It has also been promoted under the name Ley .925 Diamond Sterling.
- The bottle was made from ceramic covered in 2.5 kg of platinum and set with 4,100 diamonds. It contained 1.2 liters of extra añejo tequila, aged for an average of 7 years.
- When it first launched in July 2007, the target price was 1 million Euros (US$725,000 at the time).
- The bottle toured various money centers around the world including Las Vegas, Dubai, Paris, Monaco and London trying to drum up interest. Despite their best efforts, the “world’s most expensive bottle of tequila” didn’t sell.
- After a few years of quiet the campaign was re-launched in 2016, this time with a $3.5m target price. Once again they were unsuccessful and the “world’s most expensive bottle of tequila” was never sold.
- The bottle next appeared in 28 April 2017 as part of the launch of the “world’s most expensive taco” at hotel Grand Velas Los Cabos. The taco was made from kobe beef, langoustine, Beluga caviar, gold flakes and kopi luwak. It apparently came with a $25,000 price-tag. As there was never any Guinness World Record actually entered I can only imagine they never actually sold any.
- The taco was raffled off to event-goers with the winners being treated to the first two glasses of Ley del Diamante tequila from the newly opened bottle. With raffle tickets going for just $30 each, someone got a great deal.
- Hacienda la Capilla, the company behind the creation of Ley .925, still has possession of La Ley Del Diamante.
Watch as the world’s highest priced (but never sold) tequila is opened for a fundraiser in 2017.
So what is the most expensive bottle of tequila ever sold?
The most expensive bottle of tequila ever sold was for $225,000 in July 2006. It was created by Tequila Ley .925 and made of 4.4 pounds of platinum and white gold. It was sold to a private US based collector in Mexico City in July 2006. The bottle was part of Tequila Ley .925’s Aztec Passion Limited Edition range.
In October 2006 it received the Guinness World Record for the most expensive BOTTLE ever sold. The tequila itself was valued at $2,500. It’s not clear why a record wasn’t given for the most expensive bottle of tequila, but it may be because only one of this type was produced.
Fernando Altamirano also holds the record for the most expensive bottle of mezcal.
Find out about the most expensive tequilas currently available for sale.
What other tequilas does Tequila Ley .925 sell?
The company has a regular line of tequilas which are comparatively a bargain.
Ley .925’s regular line up
- 40% ABV, 100% agave
- Price: $64
- 40% ABV, 100% agave
- Price: $66
- 40% ABV, 100% agave
- Price: $80
- Extra Añejo
- 40% ABV, 100% agave
- Price: $130
- Añejo Cristalino
- 40% ABV, 100% agave
- Price: $100
Ley .925 Pasion Azteca Limited Edition
Each bottle in the range is filled with one liter of extra añejo tequila aged for six years. They also came with a one liter cristal bottle of the same tequila, so buyers could enjoy the tequila without opening the expensive bottle.
- Platinum and white gold bottles: $225,000
- 33 bottles were produced, each engraved with a different capital city. For example Paris, France; Madrid, Spain; Tokyo, Japan
- It was one of these bottles that sold for $225,000 and achieved the Guinness World Record for most expensive bottle
- Platinum emblem weighing 300 grams
- Bottle finished in 2 kg of platinum and white gold
- Yellow gold and platinum bottles: $150,000
- 33 bottles were produced, each engraved with a name of the 32 Mexican states plus Mexico City
- Bottle finished in 2 kg of platinum and yellow gold
- Silver and gold bottles: $25,000
- 999 bottles were produced
- Yellow gold emblem weighing 300 grams
Source: Ley925.com (archived)
Inside the Bottle: The Tequila in Diamond Sterling
The tequila contained within La Ley Del Diamante is an extra añejo, aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels. It is a blend of tequila aged for three, six and nine years with an average of seven. This aging process imparts a smooth, refined taste with a rich, complex flavor profile. While the tequila is undoubtedly very good, it’s essential to understand that the true value of this bottle lies in its exquisite design and rarity.
Who made the Ley Del Diamante Tequila?
The tequila inside Ley Del Diamante was made at Hacienda La Capilla distiller in the southern region of Los Altos in Jalisco, Mexico (NOM 1479). The distillery also makes 29 other brands, the most popular being Ambhar, El Amo, Uno Por Favor, La Adelita and Puntagave. Ambhar is majority owned by Sex and the City actor Chris Noth.
How much would the bottle materials alone cost?
I estimate that the raw materials for the Ley Del Diamante bottle cost up to $367,500. A lot depends on the mix of diamonds that were used, which can vary quite a lot depending on size and quality.
Here’s what we know is included in the bottle:
- 2.5 kilos of .925 platinum (74.3 troy ounces)
- 4,100 diamonds totaling 328.59 carats
- 1.2 liters of extra añejo tequila
- Ceramic bottle
|Total materials cost||$332,500|
925 platinum means that 92.5% of the material is platinum and the other 7.5% is made up of other metals. So there is 2.31 kgs of pure platinum in the bottle (74.3 troy ounces). For platinum designs, the other metals are typically iridium or cobalt to improve its abrasion resistance.
Cost of the platinum: $75,000
Wholesale prices for platinum are currently around $1,000 per ounce. The platinum cost around $75,000 in today’s prices. Assuming the rest of the alloy is cobalt, would only add another $10 or so.
Why is platinum so expensive?
Platinum is very rare around the world. You need to mine ten tons of ore to get one ounce of pure platinum. So to get the platinum for the Ley .925 bottle, they needed to mine 75 tons of earth.
Cost of the diamonds: $255,000
The Ley del Diamante bottle has 4,100 diamonds at a total of 328.59 carats. Most diamonds are small with an average size of 0.08 carats. Diamonds of this type are called melee diamonds and are not priced individually like larger diamonds, but by bulk weight. Each carat worth (around 12.5 diamonds) would cost about $400.
But some diamonds on the bottle are up to 0.5 carats. Diamonds of this size can cost around $800 each, or $1,600 per carat for natural diamonds (about half that for lab made).
We have to make some assumptions as to the proportions of each kind of diamond. Assuming 5% of the 4,100 diamonds are 0.5 carats this means about 30% of the total carats are from the larger diamonds and the rest are melee diamonds.
Under these assumptions the total cost of the diamonds in the Ley Del Diamante Tequila bottle is $254,436.
Cost of the tequila itself: $2,500
The tequila inside Ley del Diamante is extra añejo, meaning it has been aged for at least three years. It is a blend of tequila that has been aged for three, six and nine years in white oak barrels, with an average of seven years.
For this kind of tequila I’ve estimated $2,500. This is based on Guinness World Records’ valuation for the tequila for a similar bottle of “Pasión Azteca” Limited Edition. It’s undoubtedly too high – you can get a bottle of Patron 10 year extra añejo for just $300-$400, but we’ll stick to that.
Labor costs: $20,000
According to the company, the entire process took ten months from design to completion. It involved the work of three ceramists, ten jewellers to work the platinum and four diamond mounters. It’s difficult to estimate labor costs, but it would have taken a LONG time to deal with all the details. I’m going to have a bit of a stab in the dark and estimate that labor costs alone were $20,000. I’ll leave this out of the cost of the raw materials estimate.
World’s most expensive cognac
The promoters of La Ley Del Diamante are also behind the world’s most expenive bottle cognac, known as “The DNA of Cognac, the essence of the water of life…”. The bottle contains Henri IV Dudognon Heritage cognac from the Cognac Grand Champagne region.
It was released in 2008 as a single one liter bottle costing $2 million. The bottle was made of crystal, dipped in 24 K yellow gold and sterling platinum and covered with 6,500 diamonds.
The company behind the release later launched a series of bottles with the same cognac for $4m each (but none have actually sold).
The cognac is Henri IV Dudognon Heritage which has been aged for more than 100 years and bottled at 41% ABV.
The original bottle of Henri IV Cognac is featured on Netflix miniseries The Fall of the House of Usher. In the show, Roderick Usher offers Auguste Dupin a glass. Roderick explains to Auguste that the bottle cost him €4 million at auction and that a single pour would cost twice his annual salary.
The vast majority of the “value” is in the bottle itself, not the cognac inside. 100 year old cognac generally sells for much less than $100,000 per bottle. In 2021 a bottle of Jacques Hardy cognac that was distilled in 1777 and aged 100 years before being bottled was sold at auction for £40,500 – its current price estimate is US$52,700.
Who was involved in creating La Ley Del Diamante?
- Fernando Altamirano: Founder and CEO of Ley .925
- The force behind the project and noted as the bottle designer. Also the promoter for “the world’s most expensive cognac”, and “the world’s most expensive mezcal”
- Alejandro Gómez Oropeza: Prominent Mexican painter, designer.
- Alejandro was the designer for the coat of arms of the bottle inspired by his painting titled “Pasión Azteca”.
- José Dávalos Mejía and son José Dávalos Huerta of jeweller Industrias JD.
- Manufacturers of the bottle.
- Hacienda la Capilla: distillery that produces Ley .925 tequila. Financial backer.
- Other investors in the project included Pablo Brener Brener, Israel Brener Brener, Víctor Mena Aguilar, José Oleszcovski Wesserteil, Martín Díaz Álvarez and Pedo Aspe Armella.
To wrap up
Despite what you may read online, the most expensive bottle of tequila is not $3.5m, because one one actually bought it. The bottle was never sold and the manufacturers still own it. The most expensive tequila ever sold sold for “only” $225,000. The most expensive tequila you can buy today is Clase Azul Master Artisans sells for over $18,000.
Extra questions about what was supposed to be the world’s most expensive tequila
Who purchased the Ley .925 La Ley Del Diamante?
No one. Although the tequila bottle was marketed for $3.5 million it was never sold. In 2017 it was opened as part of a fundraising event, still in the possession of the makers, Hacienda Capilla distillery.
Why is Ley Del Diamante tequila so expensive?
Mainly because it was designed for the sole purpose of being expensive. The primary factor contributing to its astronomical price is the extravagant bottle, crafted from platinum and adorned with 4,100 diamonds. While the tequila itself is of high quality, the bottle design is the main driving force behind its value. The raw materials are estimated to be worth $332,500, so that’s still quite a markup.
Does Ley .925 offer other luxury tequila bottles?
Yes, Ley .925 also produced a gold and platinum version priced at $225,000. And they offered others for $150,000 and $25,000. Their standard range can be bought for less than $70 for the blanco and reposado. No diamonds or platinum however.
Is the tequila inside the bottle considered the best in the world?
Although the tequila is of high quality, the Extra Añejo is not the best tequila based solely on taste and aging process. The marketing angle was always about the bottle itself, not the tequila.