Most Expensive Water Brands and Their Exotic Sources

most expensive water

Water, an elemental part of life, has been transformed into a luxury commodity. Once a free resource, it is now bottled, marketed, and sold at prices that rival the cost of fine wines and spirits. But why does water, a resource that covers 70% of our planet, come at such a high cost in certain circles?

The answer is not straightforward. While access to clean drinking water is still a challenge in many parts of the world, there is a burgeoning market for premium bottled water. In fact, in 2020, the global bottled water market size was valued at USD 217.7 billion and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.1% from 2021 to 2028. Consumers are not just paying for the water itself, but for the story, the brand, the source, and the experience.

Before delving into the world of the most expensive water, it’s essential to understand the water market’s genesis and the role played by global entities like the World Health Organization. Established in 1948 by the United Nations, WHO has been at the forefront of setting health standards, including drinking water. The World Health Organization founders’ guidelines have significantly influenced the bottled water industry, encouraging companies to ensure that their products meet or exceed these standards.

In the journey through this article, we will explore the factors that contribute to the price of bottled water, how specific brands have leveraged these factors, and the unique sources that elevate these water bottles to luxury items. We are about to discover the world of the most expensive water and its fascinating sources.

What Makes Water Expensive?

most expensive water brand

Water, a basic life necessity, is something most of us take for granted. However, in the world of premium bottled water, things are not so simple. What factors contribute to such astronomical prices, making water – a seemingly ubiquitous resource – so expensive?

The first factor is the source of the water. High-quality natural sources, such as mountain springs, underground aquifers, or glacial ice, are often located in remote or inaccessible areas. The costs associated with extracting, purifying, and bottling water from these sources contribute significantly to the final price.

The process of filtration and purification further adds to the cost. Some premium water brands employ advanced purification methods, such as reverse osmosis, distillation, and ultraviolet treatment, to ensure that their water is free from contaminants and retains essential minerals.

An additional factor is packaging. High-end water brands often invest heavily in unique, attractive, or environmentally-friendly packaging. Some use glass bottles, which are more expensive to produce and transport than plastic. Others opt for bespoke, hand-crafted bottles adorned with precious metals, crystals, or even diamonds, instantly transforming a bottle of water into a luxury item.

Furthermore, the marketing and branding strategies of these companies also play a substantial role in determining the price of their water. Creating an image of luxury, exclusivity, and sophistication allows brands to position their product as a status symbol, justifying the high price tag.

Two notable examples of this are Fiji and Voss water. Fiji water, sourced from an underground aquifer in the remote Yaqara Valley of Viti Levu, is naturally filtered and purified. Its iconic square bottle and vivid depiction of a tropical landscape help establish an image of purity, wellness, and escape from the ordinary. On the other hand, Voss water, from the pristine environment of Southern Norway, prides itself on its exceptionally low mineral content and its stylish cylindrical glass bottle, appealing to the aesthetic and health-conscious consumer.

It’s important to note that in some parts of the world, the high cost of bottled water reflects a scarcity of potable water. In such cases, the price is driven more by necessity than luxury. But, in the world of expensive bottled water, the allure is often less about hydration and more about the statement it makes about the consumer’s lifestyle and status.

The Most Expensive Water in the World

most expensive water in the world

If you thought a few dollars for a bottle of water was steep, prepare to have your mind blown as we dive into the realm of the most expensive water brands in the world. These waters boast of exclusivity, luxury, and the promise of the extraordinary.

  1. Beverly Hills 9OH20 Luxy Collection Diamond Edition – Topping the list at a staggering $100,000 per liter, this water is sourced from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. But, the real kicker is the packaging: a bottle encrusted with over 6000 diamonds and precious stones, designed by jeweler Mario Padilla.
  2. Acqua di Cristallo “Tributo a Modigliani” – At $60,000 per liter, this water stands out for its unique bottle, a tribute to the work of artist Amedeo Modigliani. It is a blend of natural spring water from Fiji and France and glacier water from Iceland, with an added 5mg of 23-karat gold dust.
  3. Fillico Jewelry Black King – Priced at $14,463 per liter, this water is sourced from Kobe, Japan. The bottle, decorated with Swarovski crystals and plated with gold and silver, is as much a piece of art as a container for water.
  4. Bling H2O The Ten Thousand – This water sells for $3,600 per liter. Sourced from Tennessee, it undergoes a nine-step purification process. The brand’s show-stopping feature is the limited edition corked 750ml bottle adorned with over 10,000 hand-applied Swarovski crystals.
  5. Ô Amazon Bird of Revelation – Selling for $2,784 per liter, the water is extracted from the moisture of the Amazon rainforest’s air using sustainable and low-impact methods. The bottle features intricate artwork by Brazilian artist Mauro Soares.
  6. NEVAS deklart – Valued at $1,042 per liter, this water originates from the ground of a UNESCO protected area in Germany. The real value lies in the crystal bottle studded with 20 diamonds and embellished with gold and platinum elements.
  7. Evian Virgil Abloh – This collaboration between the French water company and fashion designer Virgil Abloh sells for $207 per liter. The refillable glass bottle design, dubbed “Activate Movement”, aims to promote sustainability.
  8. Svalbardi – At $59-$86 per liter, this water is collected from icebergs in the Arctic Ocean near Svalbard, one of the last untouched wildernesses in the world.
  9. Iluliaq – Priced at $50 per liter, this water is harvested from icebergs in the remote Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  10. ROI – Selling for $59 per liter, this water is sourced from an artesian well in Slovenia that’s 600 meters deep. Known for its high magnesium content, it’s touted as beneficial for health.

These brands represent the pinnacle of luxury in the bottled water market. They promise not only hydration but also a taste of the extraordinary, making them the most expensive water brands in the world.

Is Expensive Water Worth It?

most expensive water

Now, we come to the question of whether premium, expensive water is worth the cost. From a purely hydration perspective, most experts would agree that the answer is a resounding no. The human body needs water, but it doesn’t require water sourced from a specific glacier or mountain spring, and certainly doesn’t benefit from it being contained in a bottle studded with diamonds.

Additionally, many scientific studies have shown that tap water in many developed countries is just as safe, if not safer, than bottled water. This is because tap water is often subjected to stricter regulatory oversight and more regular testing than bottled water.

Furthermore, the environmental impact of bottled water can be staggering. Plastic bottles contribute significantly to global pollution, and even glass bottles require a significant amount of energy to produce and recycle. Also, the transportation of bottled water across long distances results in a sizable carbon footprint.

From a taste perspective, there are some who claim to taste a difference between different types of water due to mineral content and pH level. However, in most blind taste tests, participants struggle to distinguish between tap water and high-end bottled water.

The decision to buy expensive bottled water, then, is more about personal preference and perceived value. If a consumer derives pleasure from the taste, the status symbol, the health benefits they believe the water provides, or even just the experience of drinking from a beautiful bottle, then to them, the water may be worth the price.

The Future of Bottled Water

most expensive bottle of water

The future of the bottled water industry is likely to be shaped by two main factors: environmental concerns and the pursuit of wellness. As consumers become more eco-conscious, brands will have to balance the demand for pure, premium water with sustainable practices.

Already, we’re seeing a trend towards reusable, recyclable, and biodegradable packaging, as well as carbon-neutral certifications. Water brands are also exploring innovative solutions such as sourcing water from the air, as done by Ô Amazon, or using solar-powered facilities, as in the case of PathWater.

Simultaneously, there’s a growing interest in “functional” or “enhanced” waters, which contain added ingredients like vitamins, electrolytes, or even CBD, purported to offer additional health benefits. As consumers increasingly seek products that support their wellness goals, this segment of the market is likely to expand.

In conclusion, while the world of expensive bottled water may seem extravagant or even wasteful, it’s a complex interplay of factors like source, process, packaging, marketing, and consumer perception that contribute to these high prices. Whether it’s worth the cost is a personal decision, influenced by a range of subjective factors.

As we look to the future, we can expect to see the industry evolving in response to consumer trends and environmental necessities. For all its luxury and sophistication, bottled water is, at its core, a commodity – and like all commodities, it will be shaped by the forces of supply and demand, innovation, and societal values.

Final Thoughts on Premium Bottled Water

world's most expensive water

The world of bottled water – particularly at the high-end of the market – can feel a little surreal. It’s hard to comprehend that there are people out there willing to part with hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for something most of us can get for free from our kitchen faucets. Yet, it’s the very ubiquity and necessity of water that makes it so intriguing as a status symbol. When you buy a bottle of water that costs more than some wines, you’re not just buying hydration – you’re buying a story, an experience, a badge of luxury.

Yet, when we put the world of premium bottled water into perspective, we’re reminded of the stark inequities that exist. While some have the privilege of debating the merits of glacial versus mountain spring water, there are still nearly 785 million people in the world without access to basic drinking water services, according to the World Health Organization. The dichotomy is as clear as it is uncomfortable.

However, as we move forward, the bottled water industry – like all industries – has an opportunity to be a force for good. It’s not just about reducing environmental impacts, but about using the profits generated from the high-end market to invest in water infrastructure in communities that need it most. Some brands are already leading the way in this regard, such as Ethos Water, which donates a portion of its profits to water projects in developing countries.

In the end, whether or not to buy expensive bottled water is a personal decision. It may provide a unique sensory experience or a status symbol, but it’s certainly not a necessity. If one does choose to indulge, it’s worth considering the broader impacts of that purchase – both on the environment and on global water equity.

As we face a future where clean, fresh water is likely to become an increasingly precious resource, how we value and consume water will undoubtedly become more critical. The story of water, it seems, is still being written.

Special Mention: Luxury Sparkling Water

most expensive bottled water

Sparkling water, with its effervescent nature, often occupies its unique niche in the expensive water market. Not only is it considered a more sophisticated alternative to still water, but it also adds an interesting dimension to the experience of hydration, particularly for those who enjoy its bubbly sensation.

  1. San Pellegrino: This Italian brand is synonymous with luxury sparkling water. It sources its water from a spring in Lombardy, Italy. San Pellegrino’s water is naturally carbonated, with a rich mineral composition that gives it a unique, slightly salty taste.
  2. Voss: Known for its still water, Voss also offers sparkling water, sourced from an artesian well in Norway. Its chic, minimalist bottle design is part of its appeal.
  3. Perrier: Another well-recognized name in the sparkling water industry, Perrier is a French brand that gets its water from a spring in Vergeze, France. It is known for its intense carbonation and green, curvy bottle.
  4. Waterloo: Waterloo is a US-based brand that offers flavor-infused sparkling waters. While not as expensive as some of the others on this list, Waterloo prides itself on its bold, authentic fruit flavors.
  5. La Croix: La Croix has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon in recent years, particularly among millennials. This American brand offers a wide range of fruit-flavored sparkling waters.
  6. Evian: Renowned for its still water, Evian also provides naturally sparkling water. Sourced from several springs near Evian-les-Bains on the south shore of Lake Geneva, its water is naturally enriched with minerals during a 15-year journey through the French Alps.
  7. Santa Vittoria: This Italian brand produces sparkling water from the springs of Northern Italy. Its sleek, colorful bottle design gives it a unique, stylish edge.
  8. Capi: Australian brand Capi is known for its premium sparkling mineral water, sourced from the Victorian highlands.
  9. Kirkland Signature Sparkling Water: Costco’s in-house brand, Kirkland, offers sparkling water at a more affordable price point. Still, it’s known for its quality and taste.
  10. Schweppes Sparkling Water: As one of the oldest brands in the soda water market, Schweppes has long established its position. The British-based company offers sparkling mineral water with added carbonation.

Just like the still water market, the luxury sparkling water market caters to a range of consumers, from those seeking an everyday indulgence to those who want the most refined water experience money can buy.

Breaking Down Fancy Water Brands

most expensive water brands

Beyond just the most expensive, there’s a fascinating world of fancy and bougie water brands. Each one offers a unique spin on the idea of luxury hydration.

  • Acqua di Cristallo: This brand’s ‘Tributo a Modigliani’ edition, priced at $60,000 per liter, is not just about the water. It’s about the 24-karat gold bottle that the water comes in, a nod to Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani.
  • Fillico Jewelry: Known for its ornate, jewelry-like bottles adorned with Swarovski crystals, Fillico Jewelry Water from Japan offers a range of expensive water bottles, including the Black King at $14,463 per liter.
  • Bling H2O: As the name suggests, Bling H2O is all about the bling. Its frosted, corked 750ml bottle adorned with Swarovski crystals and its water sourced from Tennessee springs in the US make it a luxurious choice.
  • Svalbardi: Priced at $100 per liter, Svalbardi is harvested from icebergs in the Arctic Ocean near Svalbard, Norway. It’s about as close as you can get to drinking melted snowflakes.
  • Kona Nigari Water: Sourced from deep ocean water off the coast of Hawaii, Kona Nigari water is desalinated and claimed to aid in weight loss, stress reduction, and skin health.
  • Iluliaq: Iluliaq’s still water is sourced from icebergs in Greenland. It prides itself on its purity and the fact that the water is thousands of years old.
  • Minus 181: This Canadian brand sources its water from a glacier in Canada, which is free from pollutants and rich in minerals.
  • ROI: From Slovenia, ROI’s water comes from a spring in the country. It has a high mineral content, particularly magnesium, which contributes to its unique taste.
  • Berg: Another Canadian brand, Berg bottles water from icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland. The water is naturally purified and thus free of pollutants.
  • BLVD: BLVD Water is sourced from a spring in Canada and is packaged in a stylish, reusable aluminum bottle, promoting sustainability in the premium water market.

Each of these fancy water brands caters to a specific segment of the luxury water market, whether it’s those seeking the purest water, the most mineral-rich water, or the most stylishly packaged water. The world of luxury water is indeed diverse and fascinating.

The Science and Perception of Taste

world health organization founders

When it comes to taste, water is much more complex than one might initially think. While water is usually described as ‘tasteless,’ the mineral content and pH levels can significantly impact its flavor. Calcium can lend a slightly bitter taste, magnesium can be a bit bitter and sulfur-like, while potassium and sodium can make water taste salty.

  1. Taste Perception: Our taste perception is influenced by a variety of factors, including our personal preferences, cultural background, and even our individual genetic makeup. So, the same water may taste different to different people.
  2. Mineral Content: Waters with higher mineral content, often referred to as ‘hard’ waters, can have a distinctive taste compared to ‘soft’ waters, which have lower mineral content. Some people may find hard water to be more flavorful, while others may prefer the softer, more neutral taste of soft water.
  3. pH Levels: The pH level, or the measure of how acidic or alkaline a substance is, can also affect the taste of water. Water with a low pH level (less than 7) is more acidic and can taste sour, while water with a high pH level (more than 7) is more alkaline and can taste bitter or metallic.
  4. Temperature: The temperature of water can also affect our perception of its taste. Cold water generally tastes better to most people because it’s more refreshing and tends to mask any slight impurities that might be present.

Environmental and Ethical Considerations

most expensive water

While it may be tempting to splurge on a bottle of the most expensive or luxurious water, it’s important to consider the environmental and ethical implications of doing so.

  1. Plastic Pollution: Many of these premium waters come in plastic bottles, which contribute to the significant problem of plastic pollution. Even when they are recyclable, not all bottles end up being recycled, and many end up in our oceans and landfills.
  2. Carbon Footprint: The carbon footprint associated with bottling and shipping water, particularly from remote locations or overseas, is substantial. Drinking locally sourced water can significantly reduce this environmental impact.
  3. Water Scarcity: It’s also important to consider the source of the water. Some of these luxury water brands source their water from regions where water scarcity is an issue. Exporting water from these areas can exacerbate local water shortages and negatively affect local communities.
  4. Public Water Systems: Lastly, in many developed countries, the public water systems are held to high safety and quality standards. Tap water is safe, healthy, and far more affordable and environmentally friendly than bottled water.
  5. Reusable Bottles and Filters: For those who prefer the taste of filtered water or want to make their tap water more alkaline or mineral-rich, there are a variety of water filters and enhancements available. Investing in a high-quality reusable water bottle can also help reduce plastic waste.

While the world of luxury water can be fascinating to explore, it’s crucial to balance this with consideration for our planet and its resources.


Water, the most basic element of life, has been transformed into a luxury commodity, with some bottles even rivaling the price of fine wines. From rare iceberg and artesian waters to water bottled in gold-encrusted containers, the world of expensive water brands is varied and ever-evolving. To explore more about the luxury aspect of these waters in terms of their packaging, you can read our article on the Most Expensive Water Bottles: A Sip of Luxury.

However, it’s important to remember that what makes water truly valuable is its quality, purity, and accessibility. Regardless of whether one is drinking a thousand-dollar bottle of water or a glass straight from the tap, the most important thing is to stay hydrated and appreciate the essential role water plays in our health and wellbeing.

While the allure of luxury water brands can be fascinating, it’s also crucial to remain aware of the environmental and ethical implications associated with the consumption of these products. In the end, the luxury of having access to clean, safe water is one that should be respected and valued above all else.

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