There’s always a big commotion when rare bottles of wine come up for auction. But it’s a spirit that’s catching more recent attention. That’s because the oldest currently known whiskey bottle is about to be hit the market through Skinner Auctioneers this June. The Old Ingledew Whiskey was initially thought to date back to 1850. But later test results show the whiskey was most likely bottled between 1763 and 1803, making it the oldest known whiskey bottle in existence. Plus, it places the bottle in the historical context of The Revolutionary War and the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s. And that’s nearly a hundred years older than the oldest bottled whiskies found today, which are from the 1840s-1860s.
To confirm the age, Skinner Fine Spirits Specialist, Joseph Hyman, worked with scientists at the University of Georgia and Glasgow. The whiskey was tested by Carbon 14 dating, which revealed it was probably produced between 1762 and 1802. According to the scientists, the whiskey was produced much earlier than bottling because it was likely aged in an oak barrel and was stored for several decades in large glass demijohns before the actual bottling.
Not only is the age remarkable, but so too is the provenance. Financier John Pierpoint Morgan reportedly purchased the bottle--which was bottled by Evans & Ragland in La Grange—during one of his many visits to Georgia. Then his son, Jack Morgan, gifted this bottle to politician James Byrnes and two other bottles to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman for Christmas in the 1940s. Byrnes gave the bottle again in the 1950s to Francis Drake. Since then, Drake and his descendants held on to the bottle for three generations. Now, a lucky whiskey lover can be the next in line to own the rare spirit. It will go up for auction from June 22-30 with an estimate of $20,000-40,000.