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Beverages/Old whiskey value?


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QUESTION: I recently came across about 7 old bottles of whiskey in the box still and un opened. It's called Dowling Bros, and is in yellow box. Was wondering value of it. Thanks


This is an interesting one.  I wish I could see/read the date stamp on the One pint strip that seals the bottle.  That's the only place I know that would give us a firm date for this bottling.  

So there are really two questions here.  

1.  Is this stuff any good?  Distilled spirits are so high in alcohol that they don't change much, for better for or worse, once they do into the bottle. The good news is that yours should be fine to drink, but it won't have appreciated in value the way some fine wines do.  So I'd suggest something under $100 a bottle based on the liquid inside.

2.  But these bottles may be historic.  You could check with the guys at have a pretty good grasp on the value of older bottles--whether they are full or empty.  From appearances, this bottle seems to come from before the 1950s, when Schenley bought up all the distilleries and basically bottled a whole lot of mass produced whiskey under those different labels.  But I can't be sure.  It might even come from before Prohibition, but I can't tell without a date to reference.  

Finally, here's a pretty good discussion of Dowling, what is was, and what it become:

You might enjoy this post about Mary Dowling:

Hope that helps.

Paul Wagner

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: It' says manufactured in 1916 would that give u a better idea on value

Hi Tim

That's cool.  I thought that might be the case....because the packaging reflects some of those older regulations.  The liquid inside still isn't truly a treasure--it's just good whiskey.  But now you can ask those guys at a more specific question.

While it might not be easy to sell this (and it's illegal for private individuals to sell alcoholic beverages in the USA--you'll have to work with a retailer or auction house, and they will charge a significant commission) you might get a value that would make it worth your while to donate some of these bottles to a museum, with the obvious tax benefits of that.  

Paul Wagner


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Paul Wagner


I have spent most of my adult life eating and drinking throughout the world, and can usually remember some of it! With Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio, I host a radio show and podcast called Bottletalk at, where I answer questions about food and drink on the air.


30 years in the business.

I have taught at Napa Valley College for the past 20 years.

Past/Present Clients
Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines Company, The Court of Master Sommeliers, Constellation Wines, The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, Vinitaly, Napa County Agricultural Commissioner.

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