Some things are so exclusive and luxurious that we can’t even comprehend the very concept! These are the one-of-a-kind private jets, the yachts, the diamond-studded watches, and the mansions that house the rich and famous of our world.
On some level, we can wrap our heads around spending millions on a piece of jewelry, but what about dropping that cash on a food item that disappears after just a few bites?
That’s exactly what you get with Almas caviar, the Guinness World Record holder for the most expensive caviar on the planet.
If you thought that standard sturgeon caviar was pricey, you haven’t seen anything yet! Today we’re talking about the coveted Almas caviar, where it comes from, and what needs to be done to get your hands on a scoop of these rare golden-white pearls.
What is Almas Caviar?
You’ve probably got a lot of questions after that intro, so let’s dive in.
Almas caviar is a sturgeon roe that must meet some very specific standards.
First off, the sturgeon must be Iranian Beluga, one of the rarest and sought-after fish on the planet. It must come from a specific region of the South Caspian Sea. On top of that, the fish must be albino, which only adds to the mystique.
Finally, the fish needs to be a certain age – specifically between 60 and 100 years old.
With all those requirements, it’s no wonder why people pay so much – sometimes over $35,000 per kilo – of authentic Almas caviar.
Here is a bit more detail on each of the factors required for Almas caviar.
The Endangered Iranian Beluga
The beluga sturgeon (Huso huso) has its own lore and legend and is considered among the most desirable fish on the planet.
This massive bony fish can grow over 20 feet long and well over 3,000 pounds, rivaled only by the deep-sea oarfish and sunfish in terms of length and weight.
It’s also not the friendliest fish around and caused some trouble for fishermen in the Black and Caspian Seas throughout history! You can imagine how terrifying that must have been.
Of course, Almas caviar must come from the southern region of the Caspian Sea, where pollution is less of an issue, but the beluga is still critically endangered.
Despite being the world’s largest inland body of water, fishermen don’t have much room to roam in search of Almas-bearing beluga.
Albinism in Sturgeon
As if the rare Iranian beluga wasn’t difficult enough to find and fish, Almas caviar must come from a female albino of the species.
While most belugas have dark grey or green skin with white bellies, albino variants are a bright, near translucent white with bright pink eyes. Quite a sight to behold!
As you might have gathered, albinism is sturgeon is exceptionally rare. Only a fraction of a percent of beluga has this genetic mutation, and the science is still foggy as to determine the exact conditions in which it occurs.
Incomplete, imperfect, or partial albinism does not qualify a female beluga for Almas caviar – only 100% will do.
Age and Maturity
Beluga typically live for a long time, but that 60-to-100-year range is the final important element of Almas caviar.
Some purists even say that 100 years is the minimum maturity for true Almas, but the range has likely been widened in recent decades to raise production.
Considering that most caviar comes from fish in the 10- to 25-year range, this makes Almas caviar so much more intriguing.
History of Almas Caviar
We can turn the clock back thousands of years to see how caviar was enjoyed by ancient cultures, but Almas caviar was always considered a cut above.
There’s not much coastal territory along the south part of the Caspian Sea, and most of it belongs to what we consider modern-day Iran.
Boundaries may have changed over time, but the Persian culture has reigned supreme in the region for thousands of years, and we credit them with the finest caviar in the world.
The ancient Persians were certainly the first to taste Almas, and it quickly became one of the most prized possessions in the Caspian Sea.
Famous Almas Enjoyers
While Persia made the initial discovery of Almas and beluga caviar at large, it was the Russians that made Almas a true symbol of luxury for society’s elite.
Remember, caviar was once so abundant that anyone and everyone enjoyed it on a daily basis, just as they would bread and chicken eggs.
We credit Peter the Great with heightening the reputation of caviar and using the Russian word Almas (meaning diamond) to describe the finest golden variety from the albino beluga.
Knowing the steep price of Almas caviar and its distinctive glistening appearance, it’s a fitting name indeed.
After Peter and his crew of Tzars made a delicacy of Almas, caviar of every type was in high demand, and the Caspian Sea was nearly ravaged of all its sturgeon.
The beluga is, of course, near-extinct in the southern Caspian, and the aged albino female is ever rarer with each passing year.
While regulations have been put in place to protect the species in general, it’s hard to balance supply with a clear and established demand.
Tasting Almas Caviar
There’s no doubt that Almas caviar has the appeal of prestige and exclusivity working in its favor, but the product itself is exquisite on every level, too.
Here are some of the defining characteristics of Almas caviar that set it apart from the rest.
Color and Appearance
Almas is commonly categorized as “white caviar,” but the appearance is slightly more nuanced than that. The color is better described as a light cream with some translucent and glowing qualities. Under the right light, it looks just like the precious gem of its namesake!
Beluga roe is also thought to be the largest in the caviar kingdom, so Almas also has size on its side. These eggs are big, bold, and beautiful and something that must be seen to be believed.
Texture and Flavor
Generally, the more mature the female sturgeon, the more rich, complex, and delicious the flavor of the caviar will be. Since Almas caviar comes from fish nearing the incredible century mark, you can expect a flavor unlike anything else.
Top-tier caviar, like Royal Ossetra and Kaluga, are known for buttery, nutty, and even herbal flavor profiles.
Almas, on the other hand, is known for intense nuttiness and creaminess with a long finish and virtually no trace of salt or “fishy” flavor. Of course, you get the signature bursting sensation of the large beluga pearls, combined with a highly delicate and silky texture.
No Extras Required
Unless you have an unlimited bankroll to work with, Almas caviar should be treated with extreme care. Every pearl is immensely valuable, and a classic caviar setup is only appropriate for this rare event.
Mother-of-pearl spoons are a definite requirement, and minimal accouterments are necessary. If you’ve got Almas caviar in front of you, it’s not time to get crazy with lemon, capers, eggs, or any other standard garnishes! Only a blini and perhaps a small dab of crème fraiche will do.
Obtaining Almas Caviar
Is it even possible to get Almas caviar for your next dinner party or a personal tasting? This isn’t the kind of product you just grab from the store shelf and load into your cart along with cans of soup and bananas.
Where to Look
You’ll have to go through some elite avenues to get just a small portion of Almas caviar for yourself. It might be available on an exclusive Michelin-star menu in New York, Paris, or Moscow, and even then, there are no guarantees.
More likely than not, you’ll have to sit on a waiting list to even get the chance to purchase a tin of Almas. Of course, buying in bulk is always a money-saver, but if you’re in the market for Almas in the first place, you might as well pay up in full.
There’s Other Caviar Out There
If you’re in the United States, Almas caviar may not even be a legal product to buy, especially with the endangered status of the beluga sturgeon.
We all dream of one day enjoying Almas caviar on a yacht in the Mediterranean. Still, for now, you can stock up on brilliant caviar from Kaluga, Sevruga, and Ossetra sturgeon that taste delicious and hit the spot.
Be sure to buy only from reputable online retailers, so you get top-quality products at fair prices and exceptional service.
Caviar must be enjoyed fresh, so only accept fast, direct, and professional shipping and handling.
Almas caviar is really in a league of its own and warrants the high price point.
If you’re stuck on the waiting list for Almas caviar, try some more attainable caviar to hold you over!