On The Square

Banking on Bourbon

By Brett Morris

Apr 09,2017 | 18:00 EDT

Bourbon is about as American as apple pie. First distilled in the 18th Century, its name derives from the French Bourbon dynasty, though whether that attachment stems from Bourbon County in Kentucky or Bourbon Street in New Orleans is open to dispute. Federal law constitutes that to be considered bourbon, a spirit must be produced in the U.S., made from grain mixture at least 51% corn, and aged in new, charred oak containers.

Not surprisingly, bourbon, with its blue-collar roots, has long been considered a poor relation to some of the more highly regarded spirits. These days though, following a heightened interest in all forms of whiskey, from rye to Irish to Japanese blends, bourbon is drawing attention from a new breed of collectors who recognize both its quality and burgeoning residual value. It’s a great time to enter the market, which means its a great time to cheack out Skinners Fine Wine & Spirits Auction.

Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon whiskey is produced by the Sazerac Company at its Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. This 23 Years Old Family Selection, selling here as Lot 310, comes in an impressive 750ml decanter with two crystal glasses, set splendidly in a leather padded wooden display case - bottle #214/1200.

Heres two bottles sure to get special attention! Lot 269 (left), a 16 Years Old 1974 bourbon from A.H. Hirsch bottled for the Japanese market, and Lot 300 (right), a 16 Years Old limited edition Kentucky straight bourbon produced for Chicago biker bar, Twisted Spoke, as famous for its whiskeys as it is for the Harleys out front.

Heres a couple of bottles worthy of consideration from diehard whiskey collectors. Lot 325, a Willett bourbon 24 Years Old from 1984, and Lot 308, a  Very Olde St. Nick 12 Years Old bottled for the Japanese market. This legendary whiskey was crafted and bottled using the purest water, the finest ingredients and small premium charred oak barrels giving it a richly unique flavor.

Anyone whos spent time in the Bluegrass state knows how attached Kentuckians are to their Buffalo Trace. Lot 278 is sure to wet many a Southern appetite - a set of six Buffalo Trace Antique Collection George T Stagg 750ml bottles. This is a high proof uncut and unfiltered bourbon, aged for approximately 15 years.

Lot 291, a bottle of Jeffersons Presidential Select 18 Years Old has deep Blue Grass roots, produced as it is from the barrels of eighth generation Kentuckian, Trey Zoeller. Lot 296 - a bottle of Orphan Barrel Old Blowhard 26 Years Old, has a big following among bourbon aficionados, who named it one of 2014s best new releases.

Skinners Fine Wine & Spirits auction is set down for Wednesday, April 26 and contains over 320 expertly curated lots, covering everything from wine to whiskey. Look now at the full catalog.