5 Bottles That Will Appreciate in Value


December 19, 2021

The Kentucky Bourbon Benefit is shattering records. A Willett 19-year-old barrel is currently at $270,000 with a Four Roses 24-year at $150k. So far, the entire auction is just north of $1.5 million and every penny is going toward the Western Kentucky tornado relief fund. This money will rebuild somebody’s home, make sure a child has clothes and help people live.

While the bourbon community cares and will always give back, some outsiders are eyeing this auction as an investment, and I flagged five bottles I foresee increasing in value over time for various reasons.

5. Metallica Signed Blackened Willett Collab

Metallica is the biggest hard rock band of all time and represents multiple generations of metal heads. Their whiskey collab with Willett was one of the biggest product drops of the year. Anything with the full band’s signature will appreciate over time, but when the whiskey is good, it only adds to the value.

4. Sam Houston 10 Year Old

Put together by the folks of Jefferson’s bourbon, this hit shelves in the late 1990s when Stitzel-Weller bourbon was being brokered to the Zoeller family. But this is not Stitzel-Weller; it’s late 1990s bourbon sourced from Frankfort. They later put their energy into Jefferson’s, but these early Sam Houston releases were the best on most shelves. This is a bottle that in 20 years will be one of the most sought after late ’90s era dusties.

3. Uncle Nearest Master Blend Batch 5

Uncle Nearest is the fastest-growing brand in American whiskey history. They’ve sourced all their whiskey to date, and this bottle is the very first one that they distilled. It was contract distilled to their specs. Given this brand’s growth and popularity, this is truly an historic bottle. Uncle Nearest’s growth is expected to continue, and their bottles will only appreciate.

2. Original Angel’s Envy Bottle Signed by Lincoln Henderson

Master distiller Lincoln Henderson passed away in 2013, shortly after the opening of the Angel’s Envy Distillery. While he signed his share of Woodford Reserve bottles, which he founded as the distiller, there are few Angel’s bottles with his pen signature. While his etched signature is on the bottle still, this bright silver pen will only increase the value of the bottle.

1. 1997 Evan Williams Single Barrel Signed by Parker Beam

By now, hopefully, you know how much Parker Beam meant to me. He told me privately once that his favorite all time bourbon was the first single barrel from Evan Williams. This is it. Donated by my friend and Heaven Hill’s longtime executive Larry Kass, this signed Evan Williams is a personal headliner of the auction for me. This bourbon won multiple awards and sits atop of the Heaven Hill historic releases. It will likely quadruple in value as the bourbon continues to boom.

From Kass: “To add a bit of color commentary here, this bottle came from barrel #1 of the 1997 vintage of this annual series. We would typically unveil the new vintage using barrel #1 at a media/Bardstown Bourbon Society event (this was well before Fred had donned his first ascot😉) and barrel #1 underwent the tightest of scrutiny. Mike Sonne would gleefully hunt up 5-6 of that year’s best barrels out of tens of thousands all over 40+ rickhouses, and Parker would sample them personally and select one gem for the unveiling.

This particular vintage, 1997, was certainly one we will never forget. The fire in November of 1996 meant we were by unfortunate necessity contract distilling during 1997, initially at several of our generous competitors’ facilities, using Parker and our production teams and our yeast. (A great and oft cited example of camaraderie within our industry, and thankfully a time when there was actually something called “excess capacity” at the then far fewer production sites in Kentucky.)I believe this was barreled in November of 1997, so by that point a year after the fire it would have most likely been from Beam/Clermont or BF Early Times/Shively. This barrel would have been bottled and first sampled at the vintage unveiling ceremony with that year’s whiskey writer invitees, and Parker would have signed a few cases for that occasion. That is the exact provenance of this bottle, one which holds great personal significance because of the legacy of the man who made it (at some distillery😉) and then signed it. I assure you Parker, if he were here, would tell you to open it and drink the damn bourbon, secure in the knowledge that it would be some of the best you’ve ever tasted. Then you could refill it with EW Black and put it back on the shelf😁! This age was his favorite, BTW.”