A One Ounce Pour of Bourbon for $600? Only In Kentucky!

JC Phelps

In Kentucky, we make record-breaking sales in two industries: bourbon and horses. However, the most recent sale of Van Winkle Family Reserve 15-yr sets the bar higher than ever before.

A One Ounce Pour of Bourbon for $600? Only For Charity In Kentucky!

JCP Eats

2021 Art of Bourbon Auction

Fetching a price of $15,000, a rare, numbered bottle of Van Winkle Family Reserve 15-year from the 1990s - with its distinctive dripping red wax - broke a record for that particular bottle at the Sept. 23 Art of Bourbon auction.

“The red wax collection of Van Winkles is highly collectable and they don’t come up often,” said renowned bourbon authority Fred Minnick, who curated the Speed Art Museum’s fourth annual auction. Specifically, that notable bottle is a Van Winkle Family Reserve 15-yr No 841 - Lot 23.

“This sale proves that the Art of Bourbon is a serious place for bourbon lovers,” said Minnick.

The Speed raised nearly $150,000 this year. All proceeds support the museum’s education programs and exhibitions.

“The auction also serves as a trend-spotter for what’s next, and the incredible movement on Rabbit Hole and Barrell’s experiences showed these two relatively new brands are capturing the hearts of bourbon fans, while Maker’s Mark once again proved its experiences are highly sought after,” he said.

A taste of hard-to-find whiskey’s or exclusive experiences that showed well this year:

  • Brown-Forman Special Edition: Never sold in retail, very limited quantities produced. This commemorative bottle was created in celebration of Brown-Forman’s 150th anniversary. “It’s the first 150th anniversary bottle of B-F sold to my knowledge,” according to Minnick. Hammer price: $10,400
  • Rabbit Hole Single Barrel, picked with Founder and Whiskey Maker, Kaveh Zamanian: The company donated a barrel of Heigold Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey for a unique, exclusive personal blending experience where the winner picks the barrel with Zamanian’s guidance and insight. Hammer price: $13,000
  • The Barrell Craft Spirits Blending Experience: A hands-on, 2-hour blending experience with distillery founder Joe Beatrice, Chief Whiskey Scientist Tripp Stimson and Assistant Blender Nic Christianson. Hammer price: $9,500
  • The Ultimate Maker’s Mark “Immersion Experience Barrel Selection with Rob Samuels.” Hammer price: $16,500

This auction marks another successful event that would not be possible without the generosity of the state’s finest distillers, bourbon barons, and tight-knit network of bourbon collectors, many whom have close ties to the museum.

Pappy Van Winkle

Recognizing that Pappy is always an auction darling, Julian P. Van Winkle III, Pappy’s grandson and a third generation whiskey maker, donated several prized Pappy’s, including a Pappy bottle each of 15-year and 12-year, lot b from his personal stash. “Making sure Pappy is included in this year’s auction supports this worthwhile cause,” he said.

About the Speed Art Museum

The Speed Art Museum is Kentucky’s largest art museum. Its mission is to “invite everyone to celebrate art forever.” It is an independent and encyclopedic museum located on the campus of the University of Louisville. In 1927, Louisville philanthropist Hattie Bishop Speed founded the Speed Art Museum with a belief in the power of art to change people’s lives. Current exhibitions at the Speed include Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art; Collecting – A Love Story: Glass from the Adele and Leonard Leight Collection; and Ralph Eugene Meatyard’s The Unforeseen Wilderness. For more information, visit www.speedmuseum.org.

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JC Phelps is a Kentucky-based food + southern lifestyle writer.

Louisville, KY

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