Whether it’s a memento from a trip to Scotland or a generous gift, you no doubt have a prized bottle safely tucked away in the back of your liquor cabinet. The good news is that while you work up the nerve to drink it, the liquor, if stored properly, can last for decades or longer. (For more info on this, check out our guide to storing spirits.) It may also be quite valuable, but up until recently it was relatively hard to resell. Unlike wine, only a few states allow the auction of vintage spirits. That’s slowly changing. Bonhams, which is holding a liquor auction in Edinburgh tomorrow, had its first US sale this past December and will hold one in New York later this year. According to Martin Green, Bonhams’ spirits specialist, the hottest categories are whiskey (single malt, Irish, bourbon) and cognac.
To get you started, here are three rare bottles that may already be in your home bar or local liquor store. Happy hunting!
Between 1993 and 1995, Bowmore released almost 6,000 bottles of a 1964 Scotch. The so called Black Bowmore sold for between $130 and $250. The current auction estimate for the whisky is $2,250, but bottles still occasionally turn up on liquor store shelves with the original price tag.
Johnnie Walker Red Label:
There’s a market for early Johnnie Walker whiskies, and included in Bonhams’ auction is a bottle of Red Label from the early 20th century. It’s so old that the worn label reads “Old Highland Whisky” instead of Red Label. The auction estimate is $375 to $525.
Wild Turkey Russell’s Reserve 10-Year-Old:
Wild Turkey introduced a 10-year-old, 101-proof bourbon in 2000 to honor master distiller Jimmy Russell. It sold for $26. Seven years later the distillery lowered the spirit’s proof to 90. Bottles of the 101 now sell for as much as $140 on eBay.