Credit: Skinner Auctioneers & Appraisers
The world's oldest known whiskey sells for $110K
This article was updated with the final sale price and other details following the auction's conclusion.
A historic whiskey, which could date back over 250 years, smashed auction estimates to sell for $110,000 on Wednesday.
Bottled in LaGrange, Georgia, the Old Ingledew Whiskey is believed to be the oldest known whiskey in existence, according to Skinner auction house, which facilitated the online sale. Bids were initially expected to fall between $20,000 and $40,000.
Carbon 14 dating, carried out in conjunction with the University of Georgia, indicated the bourbon was likely produced between 1762 and 1802, around the time of the Revolutionary War and the Whiskey Rebellion, officials said. It's not clear where it was produced.
Prior to the auction, Skinner's rare spirits expert, Joseph Hyman, said in a statement that the whiskey "is thought to be the only surviving bottle of a trio from the cellar of J.P. Morgan gifted in the 1940s to Washington power elite."
Among the bottle's previous owners is financier John Pierpont Morgan, who reportedly bought it during one of his frequent visits to Georgia, Skinner said. The whiskey is thought to have been bottled in LaGrange in the 1860s, according to the auction house, which said it was standard practice to store spirits in demijohns after being aged in oak barrels.
Jack Morgan, later gifted the bottle up for auction to James Byrnes of South Carolina and two sister bottles to Franklin D. Roosevelt, a distant cousin to Morgan, and Harry S. Truman in the early 1940s.
Byrnes gifted the bottle to a close friend and neighbor, Francis Drake, whose family safeguarded the bottle for three generations, according to the press release.
While this may be the oldest known bottle of whiskey, it's nowhere near the most expensive. In 2019, the Macallan Fine and Rare 60-Year-Old 1926 became the most expensive bottle of wine or spirit ever auctioned when it sold for $1.9 million.