‘Largest’ collection of pre-Prohibition whiskey heads to auction

21st November, 2018 by Amy Hopkins

Auction house Christie’s will end the year with the sale of an “extraordinary” collection of American whiskey, Scotch and Cognac that predates Prohibition.

The ‘largest’ collection of pre-Prohibition whiskey to be sold at auction will go under the hammer next month. Photo credit: Christie’s

Christie’s New York will offer the 100-year-old collection in its last sale of 2018 on Friday 7 December.

The 40 cases of unopened bonded whiskey, distilled as early as 1914, were discovered in 2017 on the west coast of America in secret vaults built by banker Jean-Baptiste Leonis in the early 1920s. The bank vaults, sealed with a combination lock, were constructed behind bookcases.

Christie’s calls the lots “the most comprehensive and important collection of pre-Prohibition Bourbon ever to appear at auction”.

The collection includes pint bottles of Hermitage whiskey distilled in 1914, Old Crow distilled in 1912, and Biltmore Rye Maryland bottles earmarked for the famous Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel, in addition to “ancient” Cognacs and “rare” Macallan Scotch whiskies.

Hermitage Distillery remained in production until the start of Prohibition, when it was converted into a chair factory. The distillery was eventually demolished in 1945.

Built in 1872, Old Crow lay dormant during Prohibition and the original site later became the home of Woodford Distillery.

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