A Google or YouTube search for "most expensive water" or "most expensive bottled water" turns up a quick series of lists. Most use old incorrect data including brands that no longer exist, and/or the prices are wrong. So we've gathered an updated list. We exclude the few marketing stunt waters sold for tens of thousands of dollars and count only brands that are available for regular purchase somewhere in the world. Though there is a growing trend of making extremely expensive special editions available on demand without a custom order, so they are included. Here are the world's top 10 most expensive waters in 2021.
- Fillico Jewelry Water from Japan - $1390 per litre
- NEVAS from Germany - $1180 per litre
- Bling H2O from the US - $219 per litre
- Svalbarði from Svalbard, Norway - $185 per litre
- Ô Amazon from Brazil - $110 per litre
- Uisge Source from Scotland, UK - $94 per litre
- ROI from Slovenia - $59 per litre
- MINUS 181 from Germany - $50 per litre
- Berg from Canada - $46 per litre
- BLVD from Tasmania, Australia - $27 per litre
Full details on the brands and why they are so expensive can be found in the rest of this post below. From super-premium to luxury water, each brand carries a story.
THE FULL STORY:
For years headlines have popped up talking about expensive water. A Google or YouTube search for "most expensive water" or "most expensive bottled water" turns up a quick series of lists. Most of them have incorrect pricing, or use the same old data including several brands that no longer exist. The not-so-subtle message in these pieces is that it is crazy for water to cost so much. The reality is more nuanced.
Some of the groundbreaking but discontinued water brands
that frequently pop up in outdated most-expensive lists
Water is a human right and a delight
Water is a human right. Full stop. Food is also a human right. Full stop. And in both cases, it can and should at times also be a delight for our senses. Different natural waters like different foods can bring greater and varied enjoyment through taste, presentation, and origins. Enjoying premium foods that cost more in no way negates the human right of all to food. Similarly with water, enjoying a unique natural water that sells at a premium for its qualities and rarity can be a true delight, while the human right remains firm.
Also read: The full list of waters from Down to Earth.
Many people think all water tastes the same. But most of us have known someone who can easily discern differences. Maybe you are one of them. And when the differences are explained and tasted, even more people understand. I have run numerous water tastings, usually with 6 different brands at a time, and no one has ever left without understanding that water is not just water. Most walk away with a favourite, such as in this brief clip of a water tasting we did at Gruvelageret restaurant here in Svalbard. And with water menus popping up at restaurants, hotels, bars, and spas around the world, there are more opportunities than ever for everyone to find their favourites.
A water tasting event in Taipei, Taiwan with water sommeliers Howard Hsia and Yvonne Wu from our distributor Water Selection
What can make a bottled water expensive?
Many natural bottled waters come from truly unique sources as water enthusiast Michael Mascha has described here. This can make the price much higher than ordinary brands because transportation, measures to offset the carbon footprint, purity maintenance, and ensuring the sustainability of the sources can be expensive. These are often small family businesses who care deeply about their sources and make great effort to preserve them for future generations.
Bespoke packaging is also a driver as brands try to make something interesting for the consumer just as wine and spirits do. In some cases where the water itself is nothing special, packaging may be the only major factor behind a high price.
Some premium bottled water sources include (clockwise from top left) natural springs, rainwater, artesian wells, and icebergs. All require careful purity and sustainability management and many are difficult to access
How do we define the most expensive water?
Defining "the" price of a bottled water can be surprisingly difficult. Retail prices vary not just by country (reflecting transportation costs and taxes), but also outlet by outlet reflecting individual profit margin decisions. When one looks at restaurants or hotels who charge bigger markups to cover their higher costs, the variations are even greater.
So let's create an accurate up-to-date list for 2021. We have to make some rules to create an objective playing field:
- Ignore the "crazy" instances such as where a brand makes a handful of jewel-encrusted bottles merely as a marketing tool. However, there is a growing trend of making super-expensive editions available without special order procedures. These are included.
- Ranked on a US dollar per litre basis.
- Use the main dining table size wherever possible, typically around 750ml.
- Must be regularly produced and currently available somewhere in the world.
- If a brand has multiple products, only include their most expensive.
- Use only retail prices, no HORECA (meaning hotel/restaurant/cafe).
- Use the highest retail price found between the companies' own websites or known water specialist distributors around the world (such as on our Where to Find Us page, Aqua Maestro in Florida in the US being a good example).
These rules leave plenty of room for interpretation. But in general they produce a reasonable list truly reflecting the market position of each brand. So without further ado, here is the top 10 list of the most expensive bottled waters in the world in 2021.
#10 - BLVD - $27 per litre
Highest regular retail price: US$20 for 750ml at BLVD website Australia
Country: Tasmania, Australia
Source type: Spring
TDS (mineral level in mg/l): 86
BLVD is a division of Jon Monsir, an Australian luxury goods company. They saw the opportunity in premium water and sought out a unique source which they found in a spring in the pristine antipodean environment of Tasmania. The packaging aims for a high-end market with a bespoke bottle using high-quality ultra-flint glass and the brand name debossed in large letters.
They sell only a sparkling version and only to the high-end hospitality sector and online. The story behind the brand and source may not have quite the same oomph as the scrappy entrepreneurs behind brands like nearby rainwater-sourced King Island Cloud Juice, but they have placed real effort into the packaging and Tasmania is certainly a great location to source water from.
#9 - Berg - $46 per litre
Highest regular retail price: HK$268 for 750ml at Aqua House Hong Kong
Source type: Iceberg
TDS (mineral level in mg/l): 10
Alongside Svalbarði, Berg is one of only a small number of currently operating iceberg water companies we know of in the world. Like Svalbarði, they gather individual iceberg pieces in a very manual process. In their case gathering doesn't take quite as far a journey since they source from icebergs that have floated down from Greenland and are melting in the waters just offshore eastern Canada.
A small local industry has grown up in Newfoundland producing different beverages from iceberg water including beer, vodka, and bottled water. The Quidi Vidi brewery in St. John's has a well-known iceberg beer in a popular cobalt blue bottle that has been a big hit. Coming from an iceberg source, Berg is ultra-low mineral. They have a distinctive glass bottle for their signature packaging and also produce a less-expensive plastic version.
#8 - MINUS 181 - $50 per litre
Highest regular retail price: €29 for 681ml at Fine Liquids Germany
Source type: Artesian
TDS (mineral level in mg/l): 320
MINUS 181 comes from a 181 metre deep artesian well in northern Germany. Fine Liquids in Germany is the only place we could find it for sale, but the website suggests availability in other regional venues. They have a rather odd-sized bottle at 681ml produced by Riedel, a company founded in 1756 known for their wine glassware. Which matches up with the fact that they offer a special gift box which includes bespoke glasses. The bottle bears similarities to Elsenham in the UK and the Arte bottle from Solé in Italy. They are also one of a small number of waters using the elegant Vinolok glass "cork" enclosure.
Their website has a review with tasting notes from German water sommelier Peter Schropp, Managing Director of the Doemens Academy. They are clearly aiming high end, but with a fairly ordinary source and a design with strong similarity to others, they are going to need to work hard to distinguish themselves.
#7 - ROI - $59 per litre
Highest regular retail price: €25 for 500ml at Fine Liquids Germany
Source type: Spring
TDS (mineral level in mg/l): 7481
ROI is easily the most extreme tasting water on this list, and possibly in the entire world. They market themselves as the world's highest magnesium water which gives it a crazy punch. Water sommelier Martin Riese once described it as being like "two alka-seltzers" (sidenote: the testers try Svalbarði after ROI in that video). Celebrity Zac Efron said it was his favourite during a tasting with Martin on the Netflix series "Down to Earth". Wellness influencer Darin Olien on the same show had a classic line about the magnesium content saying "it tastes like there's a coin in there".
The company has a history going all the way back to 1647, and a source bearing the legend that Apollo told his winged horse Pegasus to strike the ground from which the spring then opened up. They claim a number of health benefits from the extreme mineral composition. Then they go a step beyond with their elegant bespoke bottle which carries a gravitas and beauty that matches such a "heavy" and historic water very well.
#6 - Uisge Source - $94 per litre
Highest regular retail price: C$12 for 100ml at Yonge Street Winery Canada
Country: Scotland, UK
Source type: Well, Spring
TDS (mineral level in mg/l): Varies by type - 125, 183, 225
Uisge Source is unique on this list as a water sold specifically for whisky pairing. Appropriately sourced from Scotland to match the region's famous whiskies. It sort of cheats getting on this list as it is only sold in small 100ml bottles which inevitably means the price per litre is going to be higher for a premium special-purpose product. But we'll cut them some slack as they are doing something different that deserves to be on a list like this.
They sell three types all at the same price point to give different whisky pairing experiences. Highland (225 TDS) and Speyside (125 TDS) come from historic wells, while Islay (183 TDS) comes from a spring. They have also introduced a special version at the same pricing called Allt a Mhullin Moutain Water. It is sourced from a spring fed by water flowing down from the highest mountain in the UK near Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. The same water is used to create award-winning whisky at the Ben Nevis Distillery.
#5 - Ô Amazon - $110 per litre
Highest regular retail price: €70 for 750ml at Ô Amazon website Brazil
Source type: Air capture
TDS (mineral level in mg/l): 4
Ô Amazon Air Water is the only premium brand we are aware of that captures water directly from the air. And they do so from the Amazon wilderness where the trees already naturally filter the humid air. There are mist waters which gather water that condenses from fog on nets or other surfaces, but Ô Amazon has a unique process. They filter the natural humid air, then run it over cold coils which causes the water to condense so it can be gathered into tanks for bottling. The process means it has never touched the ground, giving it an extremely low TDS.
Like Svalbarði, they have a major focus on the environment, aiming for zero negative impact. They support projects to help local communities in the Amazon to sustainably utilize natural resources. A particularly important issue at a time where the Amazon forest's "lungs of the world" are too often burned down for unsustainable uses. They use their packaging and marketing to elegantly highlight the preciousness and rarity of the water with high quality glass
#4 - Svalbarði Polar Iceberg Water - $185 per litre
Highest regular retail price: HK$1080 for 750ml at Aqua House Hong Kong
Country: Svalbard, Norway
Source type: Iceberg
TDS (mineral level in mg/l): 21
We created Svalbarði to become the first truly rounded luxury water brand. As opposed to predecessors at this price point who have mostly just been about selling gaudy packaging. For Svalbarði, enjoyment of the brand is about the combination of our unique iceberg source from the arctic nature of Svalbard's fjords, light as air taste, elegant design, and eco-mission. The bottle's sustainable wood cap and wraparound tactile text invite you to pick it up and examine it.
The costs are high to be the world's northernmost water. Gathering icebergs just before they melt into the seas around Svalbard next to the North Pole at 78° north is laborious. Bottling in high-design packaging worthy of the source requires premium supplier sourcing. Supporting CO2-removing projects that help save 100kg of the North Pole ice cap for each bottle requires detailed certified auditing of our activities from supplier to customer. Ultimately, Svalbarði is about allowing people to enjoy a small but precious part of our arctic home in order to help save the Arctic.
#3 - Bling H2O - $219 per litre
Highest regular retail price: €139 for 750ml at Fine Liquids Germany
Source type: Spring
TDS (mineral level in mg/l): 120
Bling is the epitome of a brand that is almost 100% about the bottle with virtually no focus on the water itself. Designed by a Hollywood producer who saw the opportunity to put a new kind of style item into the hands of celebrities by decking out a frosted bottle with Swarovski crystals. They revel in their gaudiness saying "Bling H2O is pop-culture in a bottle. But it's not for everyone, just those that Bling." The old website said the water was sourced from a Tennessee spring they filtered 9 different ways, but now the source is listed as a spring in San Diego County in California.
Regardless of the lesser focus on the source water, they are honest about who they are and when founded in 2005 were one of the first two significant brands to hit a true luxury price point (alongside Fillico). 16 years later they are still around and putting out multiple editions, so they have clearly succeeded in finding a market niche. Quick side note, Bling does make a $2700 edition called "The Ten Thousand". We might have placed them at number 1 for that as one could argue it is "regularly" available on their website. But we left it off as it must be custom-made and doesn't really reflect their brand pricing.
#2 - Nevas (Design Edition) - $1180 per litre
Highest regular retail price: €1500 for 1500ml at NEVAS website Germany
Source type: Artesian well
TDS (mineral level in mg/l): Unknown, but calcium level of 62 mg/l
Nevas Water launched with initial availability only in Germany and has since spread around the world. Including as far away as our distributor Origin Floe in South Africa. They are clearly aiming at the "celebration" market as an alternative for champagne, including by only selling sparkling. Their number 2 position on our list comes from their €1500 "Design" edition. Unlike Bling's "The Ten Thousand" which we excluded, Nevas' extreme product is regularly available for normal delivery time orders and hence makes the list. Nevas' main product is actually a 750ml bottle which sells on their website for €22,50.
On their water characteristics, Nevas call themselves the first premium cuvée water. A term taken from the wine world that often refers to a high-quality blend of more than one type of grape. For Nevas, it refers to their blend of two different water sources. Specifically, two "several hundred years old" artesian wells, though we could not find where those wells are or the total TDS level. The tea and water sommelier blogger Michael Hemling speaks highly of them as a celebratory product and enjoyed its bold carbonation.
#1 - Fillico Jewelry Water - $1390 per litre
Highest regular retail price: ¥110,000 for 720ml at Fillico website Japan
Source type: Spring
TDS (mineral level in mg/l): 100
With the moniker "Jewelry Water", Fillico is the ultimate over-the-top design focused water brand. Like Bling H2O, it began in California in 2005 targeting Hollywood celebrities. A year later they began selling in Japan which has been their home ever since. Though they are available globally including online. Their website does discuss the quality of their water from a historic source in Kobe, Japan called Nunobiki Water. Which they claim is sought after by chefs and tea ceremony masters.
Fillico has always had a wild array of different designs which seem to constantly change. But as whatever is on the website all seems to be regularly available, even their most expensive makes the list. At present, that is their Haute Couture Flapper edition at 110 thousand Japanese Yen.
In the end, the design with its Swarovski crystals and other aspects is so over the top - with their social media playing up that aspect almost exclusively - that it is the overwhelming reason for the pricing. If you want a unique eclectic piece of glass to show off for your event, Fillico has you covered. For a price.
Is there a brand we missed that should be here? A price we got wrong? Have you tried any of these brands and found them particularly interesting? Let us know and remember that natural waters of all price points are a delight worth valuing.