The Lavish Booze and Amazing Stories Inside NYC's Rare Spirits Salon (PHOTOS)

Fair warning: A tumbler can top out at a couple thousand bucks.
03/13/2015 01:52 pm ET Updated May 13, 2015

As the finishing touch to the New York Palace's $140M refurb in 2014, the landmark hotel unveiled Rarities, a decadent 25-seat salon devoted to rare spirits and wines. Inside the original 19th-century shell of the Villard Mansion is one of the world's most precious collections, elegantly displayed in illuminated glass alongside period-inspired furniture, antique chandeliers, and an original stained glass-window. Wine & Beverage Director Justin Lorenz, who sources the bottles from auctions and estates around the world, shows us a few of his most special finds. Fair warning: a tumbler can top out at a couple thousand bucks.

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    “This is arguably the world’s finest gin. Carolus Nolet Sr. spent over four decades developing the recipe, whose botanicals include Saffron (one of the world’s most expensive spices) and lemon verbena. It’s produced in tiny copper stills and released in very limited quantities: the 2010 total production was 498 bottles. And the cap is a replica of a Bentley gearshift—how else to top a gin this good?” Price: $105/dram

    Photo Credit: Dani Vernon
  • Macallan 60-year
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    “Macallan has long been a favorite of scotch drinkers the world over, and this is the best scotch the distillery has ever made—hands down. They’ve never produced an older bottle and they didn’t make much of it; of 400 total bottles, only 72 are in the U.S.” Price: $2,835/dram

    Photo Credit: Dani Vernon
  • Fladgate “Scion” Port
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    “This is perhaps the most important and oldest port releases in the last few decades. The distinguished Douro family owned this cask-aged tawny port made in the mid 19th century (before phyloxera devastated the vineyard in the 1860’s, around the time of the Crimean War). The wine was then passed down through several generations before being discovered by Taylor Fladgate, after the death of the last direct descendant. It [encompasses] fifteen decades of maturation in oak casks, delivered in flawless condition.” Price: $485/glass

    Photo Credit: Dani Vernon
  • Ardbeg 1974
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    “From the island of Islay, Ardbeg is one of the smokiest of all scotch whiskeys. The 1974 is a renowned vintage for the distillery—one of its oldest and rarest offerings anywhere in the world. This particular scotch, because of its age, has the distinction of being one of the only bottlings left from when the distillery did its own floor malting. (Ardbeg was mothballed in 1981 then re-opened after being purchased by Glemmorangie in 1997).” Price: $1,285/dram

    Photo Credit: Dani Vernon

--By Nate Storey