As a part of Bourbon & Beyond, I curated The Art of Bourbon for Louisville’s Speed Museum. After taxes and buyer’s premium, the Art of Bourbon’s auction raised more than $131,000.
The best bottle, a 1952 single barrel selected by the Albert B. Blanton, went for $10,500. I genuinely thought this was a steal. I believe it may have been the first commercially available single barrel. While it was commonplace for distillers to select single barrels, they didn’t sell them to the public back then. This really didn’t become commonplace until the 1980s when Elmer T. Lee launched the single barrel line–Blanton’s.
This Blanton bottle had a Kentucky state tax stamp, possibly indicating it entered the retail sector at the time. However, the bottle was donated by a woman whose grandfather worked at the George T. Stagg Distillery. So, it’s possible they placed the stamp on the bottle and gifted it to employees only, and the bottle never entered the market. Blanton was known for giving away his handpicked barrels to friends and employees. So, until I weigh through 1952 George T. Stagg distribution records, this bottle’s original sale remains a mystery. Either way, it’s an incredible purchase, and the owner of Jeptha Creed is now the proud owner.
The leading sale was an Old Forester experience and barrel selection for $21,000. The 10th bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 23-year-old did not meet its $20,000 reserve, but it peeked around $19,000, an indication that rare bourbons just might start entering the crazy Scotch auctions.
Other interesting sales: King of Kentucky, $4,100; Heaven Hill 27-year-old $2,100; 1960s Weller Original 7-year-old, $6,500; and the Four Roses Icons of Whiskey Collection, $4,500.
You can view all final sales here.
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