America has had a storied history of distilling since the 18th century. From thrifty farmers that turned their hands to distilling alcohol with surplus crop, to settlers from Scotland and Ireland who set up stills on arrival to the ‘new world’, the early days of whiskey production would go on to shape what is now a thriving industry synonymous with American culture.

But in 1920 America saw its (legal) production of whiskey ground to a halt with the introduction of strict Prohibition laws – an era that would become one of the most historically significant moments in American history.

Now almost a century later, an extraordinary collection of over 500 whiskey expressions ranging from the pre-prohibition era to the present day are coming to online auction on Whisky Auctioneer. Spanning over 100 years in total, the auction will represent a timeline of America’s distilling history, journeying through its periods of challenge and triumph.

The 10-day sale will run from 13-23 August and will feature some of the most sought after American and bourbon whiskeys ever produced. The oldest bottle to feature in the auction will be an Old Overholt expression, distilled in 1908 in the years before prohibition. Highly sought after bottles produced during America’s prohibition years will also feature, including   Old Mock, I.W. Harper, and Harry E. Wilkin whiskeys.

Some of the most collectible bourbon in existence will feature in the sale, including expressions bottled under the guidance of Julian Van Winkle Jr. from the legendary Van Winkle family. These consist of Pappy Van Winkle, Old Rip Van Winkle and Van Winkle Reserve bottlings, and also feature the very rare 1975 Special Reserve bottled exclusively for the Corti Brothers of Sacramento. A variety of expressions from iconic brands such as Four Roses, Wild Turkey, and Maker’s Mark will also be included.

The auction follows Whisky Auctioneer’s sale of the ‘Heart and Soul’ of Pat’s Whisk(e)y Collection last year, which secured mass interest across the globe and an overall hammer price of $485,625 (£375,000).

And this interest in American whiskey is showing no sign of slowing down – Whisky Auctioneer has recorded a 600% increase in the volume of whiskeys from the USA featuring in its auctions between 2016 and 2020, with value increasing by over 900% in the same time period.

Other highlights in the upcoming auction that are expected to excite collectors and American whiskey lovers include:

  • Over 65 expressions of Willett Family Estate bourbon and ryes, including some which have been personally autographed by legendary industry figure, Even Kulsveen.
  • More than 40 commemorative decanters containing liquid from Stitzel-Weller and Michters.
  • Several legendary examples of the famous A.H. Hirsch 1974 Reserve, including Van Winkle’s first Lawrenceburg bottling, produced on 26th February 1990.
  • Highly revered bottlings of ‘Old Heaven Hill’ distilled before the original Bardstown distillery’s notorious fire in 1996. These finite expressions are a highly prized possession for bourbon collectors and connoisseurs.
  • A very rare and sought-after 1999 bottling of 16 year old Stitzel-Weller bourbon produced by Van Winkle for the Twisted Spoke bar in Chicago, IL.

Joe Wilson, Head of Content at Whisky Auctioneer, said:

“We’ve seen interest in Bourbon and American whiskey soar over recent years. Once confined to small, passionate communities of “dusty-hunters” and online forums, the world of collectible bourbon is now a mainstream fascination. This auction celebrates the names that proved so influential in the evolution of this, from A.H. Hirsch and Van Winkle to Buffalo Trace.

“However, through a carefully curated selection of 20th century classics, this auction is also a ground-breaking opportunity to explore, engage with and ultimately own a piece of the story that continues to capture the hearts and minds of whiskey-lovers across the world.”

Peggy Noe Stevens, Founder of the Bourbon Women Association and the world’s first Female Master Bourbon Taster, said:

“This incredible American Whiskey auction is literally a treasure trove of some of the finest whiskey and vintage finds available on the market. In my 30 years as a spirits veteran and Master Taster, this one-of-a-kind collection is certainly one for the record books, pleasing any palate and showcasing the finesse and expertise of our famed Master Distillers.”

To register for the auction, click here

About Whisky Auctioneer

Whisky Auctioneer is the global market leader and trusted authority on the buying and selling of whisky and spirits at auction. Founded in 2013 and located in Perth, Whisky Auctioneer utilises its expertise and knowledge combined with its auction platform, to increase interest and passion in the whisky and spirits community.

Whisky Auctioneer endeavours to make the market more accessible for buyers and sellers of any background and geography. Its monthly global auctions feature the most comprehensive selection of old, rare and collectible whiskies and spirits available online. Whisky Auctioneer is passionate about connecting these bottles with those who share in their passion and actively support their customers in their aims, whether that be consuming, collecting or investing.

In February 2021, the Perth-based online auction house made history during the iconic sale of The Perfect Collection when a bottle of The Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare 60 Year Old sold for a hammer price of £1m, the first time a single bottle of whisky has sold at an online only auction for one million pounds.

Whisky Auctioneer became the first online auction house to sell a million-pound bottle and outperformed the nearest traditional auction house by 200% in value from spirits sales in 2020, showcasing the move that whisky collectors, investors and drinkers have already made online and firmly establishing their leading position within the modern secondary whisky market.

The business currently sees over 100,000 bids per month and has conducted deliveries to 74 countries across the globe. It also opened its first European base in Germany last year.

The business’ Founder, Iain McClune, was listed as ‘One to Watch’ in The Telegraph’s Most Ambitious Business Leaders 2020 programme.

About Joe Wilson, Head of Auction Content at Whisky Auctioneer

Joe Wilson manages the authentication and exhibition of the whiskies to feature in Whisky Auctioneer’s auctions. His interest and expertise lies specifically in old, rare and unusual American Whiskeys, stemming from his background in history and studying artefacts from some of the most highly acclaimed museums in Europe. The historian in him found rich pickings in researching these bottles, their complex history providing a fascinating insight into one of America’s most iconic industries. Today he is Whisky Auctioneer’s resident expert on all things Bourbon.

About Peggy Noe Stevens

Peggy Noe Stevens is president of Peggy Noe Stevens & Associates, founder of the Bourbon Women Association, and the first female master bourbon taster in the world.

More info about Peggy can be found here.



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