Whiskey price

The “oldest known whiskey in the world” sold at auction

The bottle of Old Ingledew whiskey, considered the oldest in the world whiskey still extant, sold for more than four times its pre-sale estimate at Skinner Auctioneers’ June Rare Spirits online auction.

It grossed $137,500. Legendary financier John Pierpont Morgan was thought to have acquired the bottle during a visit to Georgia, but further research has now revealed it was part of a batch of whiskey and Madeira he purchased at the Ridgely family of Hampton Mansion in Maryland in 1902. .

Carbon-14 dating analysis carried out by the University of Georgia, then assessed by the University of Glasgow, concluded that there was a 53% probability that the whiskey was distilled between 1763 and 1803 – the era of the Revolutionary War and the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s. .

However, the research also gave the whiskey an estimated age of 195 years, which would place it in the 1820s – even older than the 1847 bottle of Baker’s Pure Rye Whiskey currently registered by Guinness World Records as the oldest known whiskey in the world.

Although there is no trace of an “Old Ingledew” brand, the whiskey was bottled by Evans & Ragland, described as a “grocer and merchant on commission”, in Lagrange, Georgia, probably in the 1860s. “Old Ingledew” may have been a proprietary label used by the grocer.

Skinner said it was common at the time to store spirits in large glass demijohns after aging in barrels, adding that the bottle was consistent with glassmaking during the 1840-70 period.

The Old Ingledew bottle is believed to be one of three given by JP Morgan’s son, Jack Morgan, to members of Washington’s political elite in the early 1940s: this one to the US Congressman, Senator and Supreme Court Justice James Byrnes – and the other two to Franklin D Roosevelt and Harry S Truman.

Byrnes allegedly gave the bottle to his friend and neighbor Francis Drake – who, along with his descendants, were all Scotch drinkers, according to Boston-based Skinner Auctioneers.

The bottle was recently found by Rex Woolbright while sorting through the estate of his late uncle, Logan Drake, Garden & Gun reported.

The back label of the whiskey. Photo courtesy of Skinner Auctioneers.

The back label of the bottle, which is said to have been added by Byrnes, reads: “This Bourbon was probably made before 1865 and was in the cellars of Mr. John Pierpont Morgan, from whom it was acquired on his death As far as is known, there were no Bourbon distilleries in Georgia after the Civil War.

Financier, collector and benefactor, John Pierpont Morgan was a dominant figure on Wall Street in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

*Updated 7/16/2021: The story previously stated that the whiskey was purchased by the Morgan Library and that John Pierpont Morgan had acquired the bottle during a visit to Georgiawhich was not correct.


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