In recent years, the whiskey auction market has seen multiple instances of eye-watering sums shelled out for ultra-rare bottles. Deep-pocketed connoisseurs will be delighted to know that another extremely rare (and old) bourbon is about to be up for grabs — in exchange for a pretty penny, of course.
The “oldest currently known whiskey bottle,” according to Skinner Auctioneers, is being auctioned off from June 22 to 30, and is estimated to land at a price from $20,000 to $40,000. The bottle is an Old Ingledew Whiskey marked with a label from “Evans & Ragland in La Grange, Georgia.” A typed note on the back of the bottle reads, “This Bourbon was probably made prior to 1865.” The note also states that there were no known bourbon distilleries in Georgia in the wake of the Civil War, and that the bottle came from the estate of John Pierpont Morgan.
Skinner Auctioneers reports that John’s son, Jack, gifted the bottle to former Congressman, Senator, and Supreme Court Justice, James Byrnes. Apparently, another two bottles were given to the Morgans’ distant cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and one to Harry S. Truman, in the 1940s.
Speaking to Food & Wine, Skinner’s rare spirits expert Joseph Hyman said he originally believed the whiskey was from 1850. For validation, Hyman extracted a small sample of the whiskey using a needle and sent it off to be carbon dated. Scientists from the University of Georgia and the University of Glasgow estimated that there’s an 81.1 percent chance that the bottle actually dates back to some time between the years 1763 to 1803, making it the oldest known handle of firewater in existence.
Though it’s wild to think there’s a bourbon out there from the era of powdered wigs, it’s safe to say whoever buys this bottle probably won’t be drinking it. But if they do, cheers to them — there’s quite literally nothing out there like a 250-year-old bourbon.