Bottle of oldest known whiskey in existence to hit the auction block in June


A bottle of Old Ingledew Whiskey, a bourbon likely produced between 1763 and 1803, is expected to fetch up to $40,000 at an online auction in June. (Skinner, Inc.)

(NEXSTAR) — A bottle of what is believed to be the oldest known whiskey in existence is hitting the auction block in June.

The Old Ingledew Whiskey, a bourbon likely produced between 1763 and 1803, was bottled in Lagrange, Georgia, sometime in the 1860s, according to carbon-dating and archival information cited by Skinner, the online auction house facilitating the sale.

This particular bottle is also thought to be the “only surviving bottle of a trio” that was once owned by American financier J.P. Morgan, according to Joseph Hyman, a spirits expert for Skinner.

The Old Ingledew is estimated to fetch between $20,000 and $40,000 during an online auction in the last week of June.

Skinner, together with the University of Georgia, conducted carbon-14 dating on “a couple of drops” of the bottle’s contents before sharing the data with the University of Glasgow. Experts later determined — with “an 81.1% probability” — that the whiskey was produced between 1763 and 1803. An analysis of the glass bottle itself suggested the bourbon was eventually bottled in the 1860s by Evans & Ragland, according to Skinner.

The auction house further attests that the bottle, along with two “sister bottles,” were purchased by J.P. Morgan “during one of his frequent visits to Georgia.” His son Jack then gifted the bottle to American judge and politician James Byrnes, giving the other two to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman sometime during the former’s presidency, specifically between 1942 and 1944.

Byrnes later gave the bottle to a friend, Francis Drake, after leaving office in the mid-1950s, Skinner reported. In a gift card provided to Mr. and Mrs. Drake, Byrnes described the bottle as a “conversation piece,” according to a photo of the card provided by the auction house.

The bottle of Old Inglewood will be up for bid between June 22-30 as part of Skinner’s Rare Spirits online auction.

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