The World’s Oldest Bourbon Whiskey Has Been Auctioned For US$137,000

Credit: Skinner Auctioneers

The world’s oldest bourbon whiskey has been auctioned for US$137,000. Skinner Auctioneers who oversaw the bidding process said the bottle, better known as the Old Ingledew Whiskey, was most likely bottled between 1763-1803 after undergoing a Carbon-14 dating test. “We took a sample and tested by Carbon-14 dating, and determined that with an 81.1% probability that the Bourbon was produced between 1763-1803, which places it in the historical context of The Revolutionary War and the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s,” says Joseph Hyman, a fine spirits specialist at Skinner.

“The whiskey was not bottled at a distillery destroyed in the war, it is actually bottled by a general store, which is the same way the Scottish whisky Johnnie Walker started.”

Beyond the dating information provided by modern science, the bottle itself was labelled and on it stated that the bourbon was “probably made prior to 1865”. Also included in the short excerpt is the ownership. Interestingly, the bottle belonged to John Pierpont Morgan — or known widely as J.P Morgan, the Wall Street financier.

Credit: Skinner Auctioneers

Besides the famed banker, the ex-owners of the bottle include James Byrnes, the previous US Supreme Court justice and South Carolina governor and two other sister bottles (in total there were three bottles) were given to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. According to Hyman, the bottle that was auctioned off was the only one that remained.

Initial estimates by CNN put the bottle at a cost between US$20,000 and US$40,000 but the final price exceeded by US$100,000. While the final price of the bottle is stunning, it does not make the cut to be the world’s most expensive whiskey. The honours still belong to a bottle of Macallan Fine and Rare 60-year-old 1926, which was sold for a whopping US$1.9 million in 2019. Regardless of the price, the Old Ingledew Whiskey is perhaps the oldest whiskey ever discovered in the world.