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Image: 64-year-old Macallan single-malt whisky in a Lalique crystal decanter.
Mo Scarpelli for charity: water
Aged — and served — to perfection? A 64-year-old Macallan single-malt whisky housed in this Lalique crystal decanter just sold for a record-breaking $460,000.
TODAY staff
updated 11/17/2010 2:01:47 PM ET 2010-11-17T19:01:47

An Irish proverb says, “What whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for.” And here’s a very special instance of a very special whiskey doing plenty of curing.

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A 64-year-old Macallan single-malt whiskey housed in a one-of-a-kind Lalique crystal decanter just sold at auction for a record-breaking $460,000. In a pleasing twist, The Macallan distillery and Lalique are donating 100 percent of the money to a charity that provides access to clean, safe drinking water in developing countries.

“We are delighted that the proceeds from this historic auction ... will help fund our efforts,” said Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water. “Clean water is foundational to communities, and I’m proud to be working with these two esteemed brands to foster thriving and healthy populations worldwide.”

The sale of the whiskey and crystal decanter happened Monday night at an animated auction at Sotheby’s in New York City.

The Macallan described the whiskey that sold Monday as the oldest and rarest it’s ever released since its founding in Scotland in 1824. The Lalique crystal decanter was made using the “cire perdue” or “lost wax” method.

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Together, the whiskey and decanter have been making a round-the-world journey and appearing at events designed to raise awareness and money for charity: water. In addition to the $460,000 raised Monday night, people donated another $145,000 at events in Beverly Hills, Osaka, Singapore, Shanghai, Taipei, Seoul, Hong Kong, Moscow, London and Paris.

The total of $605,000 raised for charity: water is expected to provide clean drinking water for more than 30,000 people.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

Explainer: $25,000 sundae? 12 expensive eats

  • Image: Frozen Haute Chocolate
    Even in the midst of a recession, some restaurants cater to the tastes of the ultra-rich.

    From a $175 burger to an ice cream treat that can melt your bank account, check out some of the world's priciest menu items.

    Warning: These foods are not for the frugal.

    Video: Kathie Lee and Hoda talk pricey foods

  • The 12-inch Luxury Pizza

    Image: The 12-inch Luxury Pizza

    The 12-inch Luxury Pizza at Nino’s Bellissima in New York City costs a whopping $1,000, which breaks down to $125 a slice.

    The restaurant needs 24 hours' notice to create the pie because it is topped with six types of caviar, which have to be specially ordered.

    In addition, the pizza includes lobster, creme fraiche and chives.

  • La Madeline au Truffle

    Image: La Madeline au Truffle
    Knipschildt Chocolatier

    Two bucks might get you a chocolate bar at the drugstore, but you have to come with a lot more sugar for a taste of La Madeline au Truffle from Knipschildt Chocolatier in Norwalk, Conn.

    The chocolate truffles go for $250 a pop about $2,600 for a pound.

    The confection boasts high quality ingredients including French Valrhona chocolate, fresh cream, pure Italian truffle oil and French Perigord truffle, and is crafted through an arduous process.

  • Richard Nouveau burger

    Image: Richard Nouveau burger

    Can a burger break the bank? Not if you're dining off the dollar menu.

    But a couple of $175 Richard Nouveau burgers from the Wall Street Burger Shoppe in New York City might do the trick.

    This swanky sammy includes gold flakes, black truffles, seared foie gras and aged Gruyere cheese accompanying 10 ounces of Kobe beef.

  • Mac 'n' cheese

    Image: Mac 'n' cheese

    Forget that boxed blue stuff.

    If you've got money to burn, Melisse restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif., serves up a mac 'n' cheese that costs $95.

    The dish uses expensive white truffles, fresh tagliatelle and brown butter truffle froth.

    It's offered only during truffle season, from October through December.

  • Kobe beef steak

    Image: Kobe beef steak

    Tokyo's Aragawa is one of the city's most famous — and expensive — restaurants.

    A serving of steak costs $368, and the price reflects the origins of the meat.

    The beef, commonly called Kobe, comes from the Tajima-ushi breed of Wagyu cattle and is considered a delicacy.

    But big bucks alone won't get you in the door at this restaurant, as seating is reserved for exclusive clientele.

  • Buddha Jumps Over the Wall soup

    Image: Buddha Jumps Over the Wall soup

    Kai Mayfair in London dubs itself the "home of the world's most expensive soup" for its $165 Buddha Jumps Over the Wall soup.

    The soup is made from shark fin — a controversial ingredient because shark finning is loathed by animal activists — Chinese mushrooms, sea cucumber, dried scallops, chicken, ginseng and gold.

    To order this dish, customers need to give the restaurant five days' notice.

  • Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata

    Imgae: Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata

    Looking for the breakfast of champions?

    You can drop $1,000 on the Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata at Norma's at the Le Parker Meridien hotel in New York City.

    It has 10 ounces of Sevruga caviar, which can retail for $80 to $170 an ounce.

  • Chocolate Variation

    Image: Chocolate Variation

    Mezzaluna, a restaurant in Thailand, holds the title of serving one of the most expensive meals ever, at $30,000 a head, in 2007.

    The restaurant also boasts one of the priciest dessert menus in the world and includes the Chocolate Variation for $640.

    The dessert includes champagne sorbet made from Cristal, and a slice of chocolate cake with edible gold and Perigord truffle.

  • Sultan's Golden Cake

    Image: Sultan's Golden Cake

    If you're in the mood to be treated like royalty, the Ciragan Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, offers the Sultan's Golden Cake for the princely sum of $1,000.

    The dessert takes three days to make and has figs, quince, apricot and pears marinated in rum for two years.

    In addition, it's topped with caramel, black truffles and edible gold.

  • Steak-and-mushroom pie

    Image: Steak-and-mushroom pie

    Chef Spencer Burge of Fence Gate Inn in the U.K. created a steak-and-mushroom pie that sells for $12,500.

    It's made from Wagyu beef, matsutake mushrooms, black truffles and two bottles of 1982 Chateau Mouton Rothschild, worth $6,800.

  • Frozen Haute Chocolate

    Image: Frozen Haute Chocolate

    Serendipity 3 in New York City was known for its Golden Opulence ice cream sundae, which sets customer back a cool $1,000.

    But in 2007, owner Stephen Bruce set out to get a Guinness world record for most expensive dessert for the $25,000 Frozen Haute Chocolate.

    What makes it so pricey? It includes a blend of 28 cocoas, is infused with five grams of edible 23-karat gold and served in a goblet lined with edible gold.

    Customers even walk away with souvenirs — an 18-karat gold bracelet with diamonds and the gold and diamond-crusted spoon and goblet set.

  • Hot dog

    Image: World's most expensive hot dog
    Liz Steger
    Serendipity 3 is also famous for it's $69 foot-long frank — the world’s most expensive hot dog according to Guinness.

    It's served on a pretzel roll toasted in white truffle butter. The all-beef sausage is grilled in white truffle oil and topped with duck foie gras, caramelized Vidalia onions, heirloom tomato ketchup and Dijon mustard.


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