World's Oldest Bottle Of Whiskey Sells For $137,000

By Jason Hall

July 15, 2021

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A bottle of whiskey reported to be the "oldest currently known" was sold for $137,000.

Food and Wine reports the bottle, believed to be made prior to 1865, tripled pre-auction estimates of between $20,000 and $40,000 via Skinner Auctioneers.

The bottle was so old that auctioneers initially weren't sure when it was produced, as it featured a label hand-typed and taped onto the bottle stating only, "This Bourbon was probably made prior to 1865."

Carbon dating of the liquid inside the bottle determined it was produced at some point between 1763 to 1803 with 81.1% certainty, confirming its title as the oldest in existence.

The bottle's two-sentence label also stated that it "was in the cellars of Mr. John Pierpont Morgan," better known as banker J.P. Morgan, which was also confirmed by rare spirits expert Joseph Hyman.

"We have further confirmed that J.P. Morgan, Sr. did purchase the bulk of the madeira and whiskey from the Ridgely's of Hampton House, in 1902, for approximately $7600, and the Ridgely's typed inventory from 1901 lists 'Old Bourbon- (purchased) about 1860,'" Hyman told Food and Wine's Mike Pomranz via email.

Hyman also said in the email that, due to the "historical figures involved in the story, the market valued the bottle much higher than our estimates for a whiskey for which we, as yet, do not know who originally produced it."

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