american whiskeys

American whiskeys fetch a record $1.6 million

A selection of American whiskeys and rye fetched $1.63 million at Sotheby’s last weekend, breaking the record for the most valuable auction of American whiskeys ever held.

The New York-based sale featured two major collections, the American Muscle Collection and The Three Continents Collection Part III.

Created by Rich “RJ” Gottlieb, the American Muscle Collection was named for the “rugged” American whiskies that comprise it, but also for Gottlieb’s famous 1969 “Big Red” muscle car.

The Three Continents Collection Part III, meanwhile, was part of a 5,000-bottle collection of Scotch, Japanese, bourbon and rye whiskies that had sold at five Sotheby’s auctions over the past two years.

This latest auction sold exclusively American whiskeys from all three continents.

Photo: Sotheby’s


The most valuable rye

One of the top lots of the auction was a bottle of Lenell’s Red Hook Rye 24 Years Old Barrel #4, which sold for $43,750, making it the most valuable bottle of rye whiskey ever sold at auction.

The other star was a 12-bottle double vertical of Pappy Van Winkle’s 2020 and 2021, which also fetched $43,750.

Other highlights included a bottle of Michter’s Single Barrel Bourbon 20 Years Old for $27,500 and a six-bottle case of Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Bourbon, which fetched $17,500.

The auction highlighted the domestic demand for American whiskey, as 93% of the lots were purchased by collectors from North America.

And while high-end spirits auctions typically attract older collectors, 77% of the buyers at this auction were in their forties or younger, and 42% were in their thirties or younger.


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