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Snooth User: EMark

B-i-l wants to sell some bottles of spirits

Posted by EMark, Aug 12, 2014.

My brother-in-law often helps with estate sales.  In a house, recently, he came across numerous, mostly unopened, bottles of various spirits.  Apparently, some of them are fairly old (est. 1970s).

Does anybody know if there Is there any (preferably legal) way he can sell these?  I have seen previous discussionson this board of sites where individuals can sell or trade wines, but that is not what we are talking about, here.  


Reply by dmcker, Aug 12, 2014.

As you recognize, legality (licenses, taxes) is an issue. Best is a private trade, though lots of people have even used eBay for such. Need lots of info about the bottles, their provenance and condition, etc. even for spirits. Backstories always help.

Reply by edwilley3, Aug 12, 2014.

Unfortunately, eBay was forced to discontinue sales of "collectible" liquor. However, there are other ways to do private "trades" with collectors.  See for example There are other sites I've seen, too.

As to the marketability of this liquor, please be aware that some older bottles of bourbon can have substantial value. In particular, any bourbons labelled with DSP KY16 (as the distillation place, not just bottling) are old Stitzel-Weller bottlings. They are of superior quality to basically any current bourbon on the market. (Older bottles of Pappy Van Winkle were composed largely of old S-W juice.) You want to see "Louisville" on the label, not Frankfort or another city.

Bear in mind that several "brands" are of interest to collectors: Old Granddad (114), Old Weller, certain era Fighting Cock, Weller Centennial 10 (awesome stuff). But also bear in mind that some old bar whiskey in handle sizes and plastic bottles are just not going to have much value. Also, I'm not aware of there being any real value in old bottles of vodka. However, some old rum and cognac will be of interest. Old liqueurs are a risky bet for the purchaser.

I happened to acquire a Delamaine "Tres Venerables" cognac bottled in 1984 that was distilled in 1929. I paid $60 cash (tax included) in a shop with a pet parrot.


Reply by dmcker, Aug 12, 2014.

The 'liquor' with value, as Ed mentioned, will be:

  1. old cognac and armagnac
  2. old bourbon
  3. old single malt scotch
  4. old rum
  5. old calvados
  6. old grappa
  7. others, including certain specialty liquers

Pretty much in that order. However provenance will always be an issue. As will producers and specific bottlings, much as with wine but also in special cases such as Ed mentions. Lots of counterfeit bourbon out there, especially once the Asians got (somehwat) interested and prices started skyrocketing.

Reply by edwilley3, Aug 12, 2014.

Scotch brands that are hot include, in no particular order:

Brora (closed in the 80s)

Port Ellen (closed in the 80s - official distillery bottles bring more $$$, but independent bottles can be valuable, too)


Ardbeg (pre-1995 or so bottling)



Rosebank (closed in the 80s)

Saint Magdalene (closed in the 80s)

Highland Park (90s and earlier bottles especially)

Reply by dmcker, Aug 12, 2014.

There are specialty submarkets such as in Islay single malts (e.g. Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Ardbeg above), where only a select few distilleries have lasted through the years. All sorts of different bottlings, not just after time laid down but at different strengths, etc., and by different people. Scotch can get even more technical than Bourbon. Especially with all the buyouts that have taken place in that industry, too. Lagavulin is now owned by Diageo, Caol Ila (Islay) by Diageo, Bowmore (also Islay) by Suntory, Ardbeg by Glenmorangie/LVMH and so on and so forth. Thus older pre buyout(sellout?) versions can be treasured.

Would be good to hear from the brother-in-law as to what kind of liquor we're talking about before we run off in too many directions.

Although Ed, it can be almost as enjoyable to get into the details you're touching upon as it is to drink the usquebaugh. Best to do both, of course...  ;-)

Reply by EMark, Aug 13, 2014.

Well, this is the one that he e-mailed me about--Haitian Rhum

Of course, his bottle is "in better shape."

Thanks for your comments.

Reply by dmcker, Aug 13, 2014.

That price (240 quid) is plenty high for the one Haitian rum that gets such attention over time. Any details off the label other than the name itself? Will be interested in hearing further actual examples from brother-in-law.

Reply by Really Big Al, Aug 23, 2014.

I can't imagine paying $400 for rum.  I love the Islay scotch, such as Glenmorangie, Laphroaig, Ardbeg and others.  You can pay quite a bit for good scotch but Haitian rum?

Reply by dmcker, Aug 23, 2014.

Good, aged rum is very, very good. Scotch has gotten way too expensive, lately, thanks to buyouts and the machinations of the Diageos and Suntories and like. If I think of an after-dinner drink (and I'm not talking about nightcaps, pre-dinner or with-dinner drinks) my first thoughts go to these:

  1. vintage port or madeira
  2. cognac, armagnac
  3. calvados
  4. grappa
  5. aged rum
  6. aged single malt whisky
  7. aged bourbon whiskey
  8. marc or eau de vie
  9. tequila anejo
  10. others (vin santo, marsala, specialty liqueurs, etc.)

Pretty much in that order, though the circumstances (what was the meal, who am I with, where are we, etc.) can change that order of priority. If cigars make their appearance then a good rum jumps the list and is tied for no. 1 with a good cognac. Aged tequila and the whiskies then battle it out for no. 3....

It's hard to find good, aged rums. When found, though, they are a far, far cry from a Bacardi or Myers or Captain Morgan or whatever other version of whatever popular brand. Some of the best I've had have been with people who know how to get them up in Boston and the wealthier parts of New England (seems there's a long tradition from the old Yankee Trader days). After that I've had good luck with acquaintances in the industry in Venezuela and even Cuba. I suppose I should be happy that they are still relatively less known and popular, since that keeps their price down.



Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 24, 2014.

Let me know if he's got any bourbon from the 80s--there is one in particular I'd pay decently for.

Reply by EMark, Aug 25, 2014.

I'll ask.

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