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Question
Hi Ralph,
    I am an industry professional for over 28 years.  I do a lot of appraisal work with wine.  I am sure as you know the liquor category has taken off like a rocket in the last 2-3years.  Could you tell me the best place to find good or decent whiskey or spirit valuations?? I always turn to the net and eventually turn up a price or two, but it has been a struggle with some of the older items I have come across.  I appreciate your help.

Answer
Hi Cliff:

Whiskey, unlike wine, does not change with age. Once it hits the bottle...if left uncorked, it will stay that way forever.

So a bottle of say...20 A.H. Hirsch from 1974 would be the same as today...EXCEPT...there ain't no mo...as they say.

The value of the whiskey therefore is in its demand for that particular item as a "you can't get that anymore".

The prices I find on the net vary so much it's hard to tell what anything is worth is if was once worth anything at all...I sound like a politician here I know!

I, unfortunately have the same problem you do...except in the field of Scotch where you can go to the same distillery from which that bottle came and get help...which is what I do. Again, a great bottling from years ago, hailing from a distillery that doesn't exist makes it a collectors item...more or less. Except, and again unlike wine, there are so many great whiskeys made today the price of the elderly one doesn't grow with age.

In America, the whiskey, either bourbon or rye changes with the wind. There are but a few distilleries making all the brands.

If you really need to price something, I would try the importers. They keep up on all of the valuations.

However, just because someone has an original bottle of Jack Daniels Old No. 7 from 50 years ago doesn't mean it's worth any more than a bottle sitting on the shelf today...remember, unlike wine, bourbon is not so dependent on Mother Nature and a good crop!

The old bottlings sometime fetch a few bucks more because of the bottle in which it came, not the fermentation!

Stay in touch! I have a friend who writes for a Wine and Spirit rag. Let me get to him and we'll see if we can't help further!

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Ralph Onesti

Expertise

Whiskey, or Whisky only please. Any questions regarding the distilling and consuming of Whiskey: rye, bourbon, or scotch. Wines and Brandy are out of my area. I can not value old bottles of whiskey. But generally, if you can find something similar on sale today, and your bottle seal is unbroken, that would be the current value.

Experience

Mentor status in the Kentucky bourbon circle

Organizations
Kentucky bourbon circle, Jack Daniels Tennessee Squire

Education/Credentials
Engineering studies at Temple University and Drexel U.

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