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Sotheby’s Auctioning Off Some Of The Rarest Bourbon, Rye Whiskeys Ever

Bidding is now open as the Sotheby’s sale in New York features The Camouflage Collection Part 1, highlighted by rare bourbons and ryes.

This collection in particular includes a number of bottles of high-end Pappy Van Winkle, Willett Family Estate, Michter’s, Eagle Rare and more.

A statement from Sotheby’s explained that the full collection consists of around 1,500 bottles, including full original cases, first editions and some of the rarest and hardest to find whiskeys.

The Camouflage Collection Part I
Bidding is now open as the Sotheby’s sale in New York features The Camouflage Collection Part 1, highlighted by rare bourbons and ryes. (image via Sotheby’s)

This was made possible, the press release notes, by the commitment and knowledge of a connoisseur who dedicated much of his life seeking out each individual bottle.

Sotheby’s officials say that collections of this variety and scope rarely come to market, all from a single source.

In addition to this collection for auction, there are fine and rare Scotch and Japanese whiskies up for bid, including The Macallan Fine & Rare 32 Year Old 1969, The Macallan 40 Year Old The Red Collection and The Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara Cask.

With more than 470 lots on offer, the sale carries a combined pre-sale estimate of $670,000.

“The Camouflage Collection is a perfect example of what whiskey collecting is all about,” said Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Head of Whisky & Spirits. “Years of dedication by a single owner in the hunt to obtain the rarest Bourbons imaginable. The rarity of these bottles combined with the exceptional provenance makes this auction out of New York truly exciting … a market-defining sale that is sure to ignite the interest of collectors.”

One auction bottle to note is the Old Rip Van Winkle 23 Year Old Decanter, distilled in 1986 and one of only 1,200 ever made. It comes from the Camouflage Collection, same with bottles of Van Winkle stretching back to the 2008 release, including a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle’s 23 Year Old Family Reserve from that year.

And Michter’s is one of the few whiskeys to stand alongside Van Winkle at the top of the luxury market. The Camouflage Collection Part 1 includes more than 40 bottles of Michter’s, from the entry level Toasted Barrel to the ultra-rare Single Barrel Rye 25 Year Old.

Then there’s Willett. The Collection includes more than 40 bottles from the Family Estate Range, both bourbon and rye, ranging from four years in age all the way up to 26 years, including Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Rye 25 Year Old 100 Proof.

Another bottle to note, the Sotheby’s sale introduces the Redemption Rye 36 Year Old Barrel Proof; the oldest rye ever bottled. This was released in extremely limited quantities, with only 18 in total, and gives collectors and drinkers the opportunity to bid on a whiskey aged for well in excess of 30 years.

For more information or to check out the auction, which goes until March 17th, go to www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2023/whisky-whiskey-the-camouflage-collection-part-i.

5 Sherried Whisky Alternatives

Here are my recommendations for those of you who want something sweet and luscious, but a little different in your glass this year. 

Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether that be a novel project, a start-up, an organization, a fresh-face to the journalistic world, or even something as simple as a short story. A native Texan and a Pacific Northwest convert, he is a whiskey enthusiast who cut his teeth on it ... literally!

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