Whiskey connoisseurs, it’s your time to shine. If you’re someone who likes to pick up specialty bottles of the beverage, then you may already know about Skinner Auctioneers. If you don’t, this is the perfect time to get to know them because you could be in the running for nabbing the oldest known bottle of whiskey this summer. But just know, it probably will cost you a pretty penny.
A bottle of Old Ingledew Whiskey—which is being billed as “the oldest currently known whiskey bottle” by Boston-based antique shop Skinner Auctioneers—is being auctioned off from June 22-30 and it has the potential of selling for anywhere between $20,000 to $40,000. Yes, you read that right. Forty thousand dollars. What makes this whiskey qualify for such a high price tag, you ask? Well, to start, it’s super old.
Settled in a brown glass bottle, this particular bottle of whiskey is rumored to be 250 years old and has embossed lettering reading Evans & Ragland in La Grange, Georgia. The back, however, really gives up the info as the typed note taped to it begins: “This Bourbon was probably made prior to 1865.” And while that doesn’t give us a settled date as to when it was actually created, Skinner Auctioneer’s rare spirit expert Josh Hyman was able to determine the solidified year that it was made and 1850 (the initial assumed date) was far from correct.
With help from scientists both at the University of Georgia and the University of Glasgow, it was determined the the whiskey was in fact from anywhere between 1763 and 1803.
“The age was a shocking surprise, albeit a pleasant one, for both myself and the scientist,” Skinner’s Joseph Hyman told Food & Wine: “Archival data about the grocer/merchant Evans & Ragland existing after the war and that it was common to store whiskey in demijohns, we concluded the whiskey was bottled after the war, having been in such a demijohn for several decades.”
According to the taped note on the bottle, the bottle was once found a home in financier John Pierpoint Morgan’s cellar. Morgan’s son, Jack Morgan, then “gifted this bottle to James Byrnes of South Carolina and two other bottles to Franklin D. Roosevelt—a distant cousin to Morgan—and Harry S. Truman, for Christmas, c. 1942-1944,” Skinner Auctioners reveals.
Somehow, there’s more: Byrnes—who had a lengthy political career—gifted the same bottle to “his close friend and drinking buddy, Francis Drake” sometime during 1951-1955. The story wraps with Skinner Auctioneers noting that the bottle has been safeguarded for three generations as Drake and his descendants were exclusive Scotch drinkers.
So, if you want to get your hands on this legendary and iconic bottle of whiskey, make sure you have your coins lined up before June!
Ni’Kesia Pannell Weekend Editor/Contributing Writer Ni’Kesia Pannell is an entrepreneur, multi-hyphenate freelance writer, and self-proclaimed Slurpee connoisseur that covers food news for Delish.com.