The VICE Guide to Right Now

Designer Water, Horse Jizz, and Other Ridiculously Expensive Liquids

A gallon of semen from a popular show jumping stallion is worth $4.7 million.
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For illustrative purposes only. Photo: Sheri Hooley on Unsplash

In the age of self-indulgence and health obsession, hydro-luxury is soaring to new heights — just look at water-obsessed inventions like these. But if you think regular bottled water is ridiculously expensive, think again — you’d be surprised to know of other random liquids that come at a premium. From designer water to scorpion venom and horse semen, below is a list of obscenely expensive, and perhaps bewildering, liquids that will cost you an arm and a leg.

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A bottle of designer water

Sold at an auction in Mexico for $60,000 in 2010, the Acqua di Cristallo Tributo a Modigliani is listed in the Guinness World Records as the “most expensive bottle of water sold at an auction.”

According to Paolo di Verachi Studio, the maker of the famed water bottle, the water in the Acqua di Cristallo Tributo a Modigliani is “a blend of natural spring water from Fiji and France and also contains actual glacier water from Iceland.” As if this isn’t already super fancy, it’s also sprinkled with 5 milligrams of 23-carat gold dust.

The exquisite vessel that stores the water is a handmade glass bottle made of platinum, its design inspired by the work of late Italian artist Amedeo Clemente Modigliani. The exorbitant price is for a good cause though — according to the Guinness World Records, the money raised from that auction, hosted by Plan3t Foundation, was used to fight global warming.

Horseshoe crab blood

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Photo: Michael Browning, Unsplash

Due to the presence of copper, the blood of a horseshoe crab is an alien blue. What makes this blue liquid so valuable, though, is a fluid called limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) found in Atlantic horseshoe crabs. When it was introduced to the pharmaceutical industry in the 1970s, LAL provided researchers with a revolutionary way of testing for bacteria and contaminants in drugs. Today, it remains an important step in vaccine development — and one of the key ingredients in testing COVID-19 vaccines. Due to the high demand for horseshoe crab blood and practices of over-harvesting, however, horseshoe crabs around the world are now facing serious threats to their survival.

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This over-the-top perfume

The sparkly brainchild of French luxury brand Morreale Paris, the scent Le Monde sur Mesure has been touted as the “world’s most expensive fragrance.”

Priced at $1.5 million, only one bottle has been sold as of 2018. According to Morreale Paris, each bottle of the bespoke fragrance takes about a year to make. Housed in a wooden travel case, the perfume is “wrapped in gold armor and inlaid with precious stones,” and finally accompanied by an 18-karat gold bracelet. In fact, this fragrance is so exclusive, you’d need to be invited to a private art tour to even get a whiff of the lavish scent.

Horse semen

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Photo: Gene Devine, Unsplash

Horse semen is one of the most expensive liquids in the world, thanks to the star stallions in the highly competitive and lucrative equestrian sports industry. In 2015, it cost $200,000 for mare-owners to secure a mating session with American Pharoah, the famed Triple Crown winner. The Triple Crown is a title awarded to horses who win all three classic American horse races — the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes — in a single season.

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Artificial insemination is also common in modern horse breeding, where high-quality horse semen is frozen in small tubes (known as straws) and stored for future use. For the two-time gold medal-winning show jumper Big Star, a single straw of his semen will set you back about $1,200. And a gallon of, er, ‘Little Stars’ would cost $4.7 million.

Scorpion venom

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Photo: Shayna Take, Unsplash

A little droplet of venom from the deathstalker, one of the deadliest species of scorpions, costs about $130 — and $39 million per gallon — making it arguably the most expensive liquid in the world. Why is it priced so insanely high? As it turns out, certain types of scorpion venom contains precious chemicals that may be the key to medical breakthroughs — such as chlorotoxin, which can bind with certain cancer cells for easier identification of tumors in the human body. Studies have also shown scorpion venom to be an effective painkiller. Another possible reason for its exorbitant price tag is the process of extracting scorpion venom — also known as milking — which is, quite literally, excruciating. While one sting from a deathstalker is unlikely to be fatal for humans, a venom extractor told Business Insider that it’s “a hundred times more painful than a bee sting.”