Almas caviar is a highly sought-after delicacy, so it shouldn’t be surprising that this product can cost a small fortune. However, with prices higher than $1,000 for a single ounce, many wonder – why is Almas caviar so expensive?
Several factors affect the higher price of Almas caviar. Albino belugas, from which this caviar is produced, are extremely rare and have a long spawning cycle. This results in a very low supply that can’t meet the demand, bringing exceptionally high prices. Expensive packages and high import costs also influence the final price of the product but to a lesser extent.
Is Almas caviar overpriced? It’s not a simple question – here is all you need to know before coming to a conclusion.
Almas caviar comes from beluga sturgeon, the same fish that produces high-end varieties of black caviar, just the albino kind. Albinism in belugas, as with any other species, is a result of a pretty rare genetic disorder.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature classified belugas as a critically endangered species, primarily due to overfishing. There are not many belugas left in the wild – and the number is even smaller when you look only for the albino kind.
As one of the most prestigious and luxurious products, Almas caviar is always in high demand, but there is insufficient supply. It is estimated that only 10kg of Almas caviar is produced annually, affecting their sky-high prices.
Take a look at the table below to compare the cost of Almas caviar with other prices:
|Type of caviar||Price per ounce||Price per kg (2.2 lbs)|
|Kaluga Huso Hybrid||$504||$16,000|
|Farmed Osetra Sturgeon||$82||$2,600|
|Osetra Special Reserve||$406||$12,900|
Long Spawning Cycle Also Affects the Price
Belugas live a long life – around 120 years on average. However, it’s a late-maturing fish with a very long spawning cycle. It takes approximately 12 years to mature, while egg-producing cycles last 18 years. So, not only that albino belugas are hard to find, but almost two decades will pass between two spawning cycles, which also affects low supply imminently.
Almas caviar usually comes from Iran, and Iranian producers believe that packaging should match the luxury of the product itself. That is why you’ll often find this caviar type in golden packages, which undoubtedly increases the product’s final price.
At the same time, the cost of export also must be calculated – Almas caviar has become the costliest export product in Iran, which brings even higher prices for buyers.
The word almas has an Arabic origin and translates as diamond, which is supposed to emphasize the magnificence of this caviar type. Roe produced by Iranian albino beluga is graded according to its color:
- Darkest grade,
- Medium color, and
- Lightest toned
Lightest Almas caviar is considered to be of the highest quality, with golden-white color. These pearl-like eggs have a special glow and look illuminated from within. However, it’s not only the look of Almas caviar that is exquisite. Mild saltiness and buttery aroma are combined with a rich almond aftertaste (without fishiness). It’s quite the unique taste many pay a fortune to experience.
Believe it or not, Almas caviar is not the most expensive caviar type in the world – that title belongs to the Strottarg Bianco, produced by Walter Gruell. It also comes from albino beluga sturgeon, but the roe is enriched with 22-carat gold, resulting in a price of $40,000 for just a teaspoon! However, many connoisseurs won’t consider Strottarg Bianco true caviar since it’s not pure sturgeon roe.
The presentation of Almas caviar brings half of the caviar tasting experience, so make sure you do it right. When served on its own, the used dish should be made of glass, with ice on the bottom, so the optimal temperature can be maintained. Since it doesn’t have a long-serving life, it should be eaten as soon as possible.
Never use a metal spoon combined with Almas caviar because absorbed metal will change the unique taste. Instead, use mother of pearl or bone spoons. Here is a list of the best caviar spoons.
If you want to combine this caviar with other food, make sure it doesn’t overpower the taste of caviar – otherwise, what’s the point? It would be best to serve it with Russian blinis or simple toast, with the glass of vodka or champagne aside.
Albino belugas can be found in the wild (Caspian sea) or in specially designed fish farms. In the US (Bascom, Florida), there is one sturgeon fish farm, but there are no albino belugas in their waters – and it makes buying Almas caviar that much harder.
Remember that beluga caviar has been forbidden from import in the US since 2005. Therefore, if you want to buy and taste Almas caviar, you would most likely need to do that outside the US.
Caviar is one of the most lavish delicacies in the world – if not the most lavish one. There aren’t many who can afford even more affordable caviar types, so it became a status symbol of a kind.
That being said, know that you won’t ever taste something even remotely similar to Almas caviar. If presented with the opportunity, it’s definitely worth trying, at least once in a lifetime.