Whisky Advocate

What’s your oldest bottle?

January 17th, 2010

I’m referring to year of distillation, not necessarily age.

My oldest bottle was a pre-prohibition bottle of Old Taylor bourbon. I shared that bottle during one of my whiskey tastings. I also had a 1940 Gordon & MacPhail Glenlivet, which I also shared during one of my tastings.

I think the oldest one I still have is a 50 year old Dalmore which I purchased about 10 years ago during a charity auction. It was bottled in the 1970s, which would put the distillation back in the 1920s, or earlier.(Picture on left.)

How about you?

65 Responses to “What’s your oldest bottle?”

  1. Chap says:

    Stone flagon of vatted Usquaebach from 1991, when I got commissioned. To be opened when I retire. Anyone wants a glass, come on by, whenever that is.

  2. Hal Wolin says:

    Currently a 1oz sample of Highland Park 1940. The majority of the rest of aged offerings I have peak at a few bottles of 18 year old.

  3. david says:

    my oldest is a brora 24 year from the signatory cask strength collection…. i bought it at beltramos in menlo park california….i would someday like to buy a good bottle from my birth year (1971) but not sure what yet……the search is the joy!!

  4. b.j. reed says:

    1955 Stratisla

  5. Ray Newsom says:

    I have two bottles of Special Old Reserve bottled by the American Medicinal Spirits Company produced by Harry E. Wilken Distillery. It was distilled in 1917 and bottled in 1932. Cannot decide if I ever want to try one because I am sure it will taste much different than the whiskey of today.


  6. Andre Girard says:

    An Ardbeg 1977… my fav single malt to this time.

  7. Danny says:

    1967 Karuizawa is the oldest in my collection.

  8. Quentin says:

    I have two thirty year olds (Highland Park distilled circa 1979 and Brora distilled 1977) and recently finished a 38 year old Miltonduff (which tasted surprisingly young) distilled in 1966, bottled in 2004. My thoughts on it are at

  9. smsmmns says:

    Crazy cool bottles, Ray!
    I have some 40 and 50yo samples around, but my old bottles, as opposed to old whisky in the age sense, (Haig from 1940s, Grant’s Standfast from 1950s, JWBlack from 1960s) turn this geek on the most.

  10. JC Skinner says:

    I have a half bottle of Dunville’s, a whiskey distilled in Belfast, that dates to 1922 or 23 or thereabouts.
    A piece of the cork has fallen into it, though, likely rendering it undrinkable.

  11. H.Diaz says:

    1981 Macallan 18 y/o. Couple of ’em.

  12. BigMac says:

    My oldest bottling is a 1964 Lochside Single Blend 42yo, a unique whisky in the sense that both the grain and malt in this whisky comes from Lochside Distillery – that’s rare enough, but also the spirits was married a birth and matured together for 42 years s even more rare – tried it at tastings and its a hugely impressive whisky – can still be found a specialist outlets – so go get!

    Other than that I have some late Indie Bottlings of Glenfarclas from the 60’s (1965-1968) ages from 40-43yo from DL OMC and Duncan Taylor.
    Also an indie 1969/36yo Springbank and a also a 1968/37yo sherry matured Benriach.
    Also have 2 sister casks(199+200) of 1966 40yo Bruichladdich bottled by Duncan Taylor.
    1 1970 Highland Park sneaks in as well, along with a handful of 70’s Bunnahabhains and 4 70’s Ardbegs, the oldest one being a 1973 36yo by DLP. 🙂

    Oh, and finally my latest old non-scotch, a 1967/42yo Karuizawa


  13. Louis says:

    1959 35 year old Whyte & Whyte Glenfarclas, born in the same year that I was.

  14. Luke says:

    Dungourney 1964 Pure Pot Still (Old Midleton Distillery)

  15. sam k says:

    Large Monongahela Rye
    Dillinger Rye
    Dougherty’s Rye (produced by A. Overholt)
    Gibson’s Ancient Special Reserve Monongahela Rye

    Post -Pro:
    Baltimore Pure Rye, bottled 1940
    Old Overholt, bottled 1940

  16. After your review, I picked up one of those 1967 Lonach Strathislas that you raved about. I also have a 68 Scott’s Selection Longmorn-Glenlivet.

    i would absolutely love to try pre-prohibition stuff. How cool!

  17. Whisky Party says:

    1967 Longmorn-Glenlivet from Scott’s Selection.

  18. Paul M says:

    Gordon & MacPhail Strathisla 1960, 44 y/o

  19. John Hansell says:

    BJ, is that Strathisla a G&M? If so, I got one of those.

    Ditto yours, Paul M @18, but not much left in the bottle.

    Sam K @15: Nice!!

    Luke @ 14: I had one of those. Bought it at the Midleton Distillery. But that was another one I shared at one of my whiskey tastings.

    Louis @13, I have a 1959 Glenfarclas too, but it’s a Signatory.

    JC @10: I drove by the old Dunnville distillery and purchased an antique crystal water jug of Dunnville, but never had the chance to taste the stuff.

  20. Pino says:

    Clan Denny, Single Grain, 1963
    Ladyburn, Single Malt, 1973

  21. Ingo (WhiskySponge) says:

    Oldest Malt Whisky Vintages are:
    Gordon & MacPhail Strathisla 1948 …& Gordon & MacPhail Glenlivet 1948.
    Emptied a bottle of G&M 1949 a while ago, was just superb, old fruity & salty style Glenlivet (like the 61 Glenlivet Vintages by G&M), but a bit thin due to the 40% abv.
    Looking forward to open the 1952 G&M Talisker (40% Black label with “Dracula”-style-Font in red), which has got a good dark sherrycask-like colour (Yum!).

    My oldest Vintage on shelf by the way isnt a Whisky – its a 1928 Prunier Cognac… unfortunately its impossible to get pre-war-vintages of whisky for a reasonable price (sob).


  22. MrTH says:

    I have a half-bottle of 1969 Bruichladdich from the G&M Cask label. I’d had a previous full bottle of ’69 ‘Laddie, but apparently a different vatting with a different abv.

    I have a 1963 calvados, ‘Millésimé’, from Busnel, bought at the distillery. When should I open it? It requires a special occasion.

    Not what you asked, but the four earliest-purchased bottles still full on my shelf are from my trip to Scotland in 2002. (I only started drinking whisky in 1999, and 2002 was probably the first year that whisky was a major focus of my trip.) They are:

    -Caol Ila 21, Rare Malts, 61.3%, 5 Oct 2002, from the G&M shop;

    -Port Ellen 22, Rare Malts, 60.5%, same source;

    -Bruichladdich 12, my first Valinch, 60.2%, 30 Oct, distillery (showing signs of evaporation–I should open it soon);

    -Ardbeg 21, 56.3%, 1 Nov, distillery.

  23. Glenfarclas 1954, bottled 2001. I bought it at the distillery on George Grant’s recommendation.

  24. nicolas vaughn says:

    Talisker 1947 G & M and a 1967 Karuizawa single cask

  25. Neil Fusillo says:

    I have two bottles distilled the year of my birth. One Ledaig 1972, and one Macallan 1972. I’m tempted to never drink them, but that seems like such a waste, so I have to figure out just the right time.

  26. sam k says:

    I neglected to mention that every one of mine has been opened, tasted, and shared. I downsize them into smaller flasks as time goes on. I think I should invest in some Private Preserve!

  27. Dutchie says:

    A bottle of Old Quaker. Don’t know which date exactly but somewhere end seventies early eighties, i gues.

  28. Tadas says:

    My oldest bottle is 1850s Rouyer Guillet Brand, Rouyer Cognac (Grande Fine Champagne). It was aged for 100 years in barrels. It was made around 1850s and bottled in 1950s.

    My oldest whiskey bottle is 1915 Old Taylor. It it was made in Fall 1915 and bottled in Spring 1924.

  29. MrTH says:

    Neil @25: Mark Gillespie on Whiskycast used to ask his interviewees what they’d like for their last dram before they head for the big pub in the sky. It would be fitting, no, to have a dram from your birth year on your deathbed? Alas, it is impossible to plan things so neatly…one day, you don’t feel well; you see the doctor, and the next thing you know, you’re fighting for your life, and losing. Probably whisky isn’t high on your list of things to think about, and even if it is, you aren’t in any position to enjoy it. All of us who have special bottles waiting for an occasion should bloody well find one and drink them. There comes a point when one realizes that special bottles are more easily attained, and far more certain, than occasions on which to pop them open.

    And so, a proposal: an annual day on which to open special bottles awaiting an occasion. Being primarily a scotch drinker, I suggest November 30, St Andrew’s Day, but I am open to other suggestion. Special Bottle Day, what do you think? If we promote this, we can prevent a whole lot of bottles of extraordinary whisky being inherited by people who don’t appreciate it.

  30. The Ledaig 1972 is one of my favorites. I’ve had trouble finding outstanding bottles from my birth year.
    Perhaps we could create a list of outstanding bottles by vintage. The Macallan Fine & Rare and Glenfarclas Family Casks are good places to start, but get pricey quickly.

  31. Amit says:

    While most of my collectible bottles are 30 years old, I do have 12 bottles of the Laphroaig.

    I had 13, but opened one on a special occasion.

  32. Amit says:

    I meant to say Laphroaig 40.

  33. Theo says:

    Glen Grant 1958/2007 (G+M, 50%)

  34. The Herminator says:

    I Have a Glenury Royal 50 years old. Distilled in 1953 and bottled in 2003. Max bottles 498 produced.

  35. Tony Menechella says:

    1955 Strathisla & 1959 Glenfarclas Family Cask

  36. bgulien says:

    Glen Albyn Rare malts sample 1975 A gift from TimF
    Invergordon Single Grain 1972 (36 yo) from the Bladnoch forum bottlings.
    Bruichladdich 1970 OB (almost gone) and too expensive to replace it.

  37. John Hansell says:

    Tony @ 35, I have a 1960 Family Cask Glenfarclas (my birth year). Not sure when I’ll open that one. Maybe next year on my 50th birthday?

    Mr. TH @29: Yes, we have to do something like this. As you know, I am all for opening and drinking.

  38. patrick says:

    My oldest bottle is an old Queen Anne from the early 1950s and the oldest malt from 1955.

  39. B.J. Reed says:

    Yeah John its the G&M Bottling – It is excellent and one of the first I added to my collection – The oldest I have tasted is the Dell’s 1946 Macallan.

    I also have a G&M 1957 Glen Grant

    Now the question is what is the oldest bottle you have that is among the best you have tasted? – I have the lean toward the 1968 Bunnahabhain Auld Acquaintance.

  40. I also have that 50yo old Dalmore and what a superb whisky that is. I have the Ceramic version which mentions on the backlabel “Distilled 1926” Pic here :

  41. Micah says:

    Wow..impressive everybody.

    I have 1968 Bowmore and 1971 Ben Nevis (Blackadder. The oldest open bottle I have is from my birth year, the 1979 Port Ellen.

  42. Have a Strathisla 1960 but which is for my brothers 50th this year.

    However I also have a couple pre-prohibition bottles. A Jameson in remarkable condition as it was found with others in it’s original packing crate and straw. Stored on it’s side for over 80 years, out of 12, 4 had totally leaked to nothing and 4 more were half way or less. The other 4 were just around shoulder level. These were repatriated and found their way to Ireland and to a few happy Irish men 😉 Will hopefully open one at some stage soon.

  43. WolfgangU says:

    G&M Glen Grant 1958, bottled 2008. The only moderately priced whisky distilled in my birth year I found, alas only at 40% ABV.

  44. Matt Z says:

    My oldest bottle is Glendronach 1968, bottled in 1993. This might have been my biggest bargain, too, on clearance at Astor Wines in NYC for around $120. (at least I hope that was a bargain, or else I’m embarrassed!)

    (Hi everyone. Long time reader, first time commenter.)

  45. ShlomoB says:

    I have a couple bottles of the special reserve Macallan 1946, and the Macallan 1961 i have a few other 40 year old whiskies. Regarding the oldest whisky id guess its a Jonnie Walker swing from a time im not sure other than i purchased it 10 years ago and it was very old looking then.

  46. Oldest bottle: A bottle of The Glenlivet Cellar Collection, 1969 vintage.

  47. Alex says:

    Mine are younger – Scott’s Selection Glen Elgin 1980, Macallan 1981, and Port Ellen 7th release – I should have started earlier!

  48. Red_Arremer says:

    I have a 42 yo bottle of Glenfarclas, from Lonach. The most recent vintage in it’s no later than 1967. I also have the 1968 vintage Glenfarclas as well as several bottles of Laphroaig 30 and a bottle of Brora 30.

  49. Monique at the Dell says:

    The Macallan 52 yo is the oldest on our shelves right now. I love the “young” bottles with older distillations. You get such interesting and different flavors dating back to when stills were direct-fired etc.
    We have an 18 yo Old Pulteney single cask aged in sherry from the 60’s that is incredible.
    I like to say, don’t wait for the occasion to open the bottle, invite some friends over (me :)) and let the bottle be the occasion!

  50. MrTH says:

    Monique, where do you source a bottle from the ’60’s? Your comment about direct-fired stills reminds me of my visit to Strathisla, in the company of the estimable Mr Ian Logan. We met Tommy, a retired stillman who was guiding tours. He told several stories which were apparently hilarious…I couldn’t understand too much of what he said! The one story I caught the gist of involved the distillery workers’ daily dram, back in the days when that was standard practice. At one point, one of Strathisla’s stills was steam-fired, and the other was still coal (direct) fired. The workers far preferred their dram to be from the direct-fired still, so much so that Tommy claims he still gets $#!% about the day he gave them their dram from the other still, even though all of those guys are long since retired. It leaves you wondering how whisky has changed over the years. Obviously there is great variety in scotch whisky, but you wonder if perhaps there has been some great tidal shift (or more than one) that makes today’s whisky substantively different from that of fifty, a hundred, or two hundred years ago.

  51. Ryan says:

    1968 Glendronach… had two, down to one now.

  52. Monique at the Dell says:

    MrTH – I wish I knew how to really source them. They come up for sale from collectors or completely by accident. We had a gentleman from an eastern Iowa farm whose father helped a wealthy insurance salesman out in the 70’s. His dad didn’t drink, so we ended up with some 70’s Macallan, Bowmore and Talisker. My most recent Bowmore Black came from a farmer in SD. Seems like they are one-off opportunities from people who don’t really know what they are looking at. It’s always fun to meet them and be able to connect some of the dots with the history of the whisky and their family history…
    One of the best i’ve had it the 80’s Talisker 10 that a friend shared in 08 at a tasting. I still love the OB, but they are incredibly different.

  53. Monique at the Dell says:

    i remember hearing the same story when we visited Strathisla and getting a kick out of it. I’ve also heard tales of stillmen with different preferences at Springbank, but they’ve got more to choose from there!

  54. Greg G. says:

    My oldest bottle would be a 1959 Old Forester BIB. Oldest whiskey would be 1936 Mt. Vernon Rye. There a couple bottles I prize in my collection; 1965 Old Fitzgerald BIB, 1972 Hallers County Fair BIB.

  55. sam k says:


    There is no doubt in my mind that whiskey today is much different from whiskey of 100+ years ago. In the U.S., we used to employ pot stills to make rye and bourbon, and chances are good that this was not done “on the grain,” but made from wash. We now expect American whiskey to be made in a column still with the grain solids intact. I’ll bet rye whiskey, made in direct-fired pot stills from wash was a much different beast!

    I have tasted bourbon and rye distilled in the mid-to-late 1800s, and the body and character is very different from today’s equivalents, though I feel that some of the artisan distillers may soon closely re-create some of those flavor profiles.

    Scotch may not have made quite as dramatic a change, being traditionally distilled in pots, but the raw ingredients and their methods of propagation and preparation have changed, the whisky is now routinely chill-filtered and colored, the stills are heated differently, and cask composition and warehouse design have evolved.

    I can’t imagine that the flavor profile has not changed dramatically with those “advances.”

  56. Alex says:

    Correction – I just found some Scott’s Selection Pulteney 1977 in the cupboard – and its Friday!

  57. MARS says:

    My oldest bottle is a longmorn 1971/2008 43° G&M
    I think I really have to buy a whisky from the fifties as long as it’s affordable.

    I must say that I prefer also the whisky who are made with direct (coal) fire. (I hate the ecologist)


  58. I’m building up my drinking collection… so my oldest is a Bruichladdich 17yrs old. No big deal.

  59. MARS says:

    I forget my single cask from glendronach! (1971/2009)


  60. Tharkis says:

    My oldest is 100ml sample from a bottle of “very fine old scotch” vatted and bottled in 1908 by the T.F. Donahue Co in Providence RI, still with the inventory sticker on the bottle from the War Revenue Act of 1918. It was opened new years day of 2009. No age statement on it, but it was most likely distilled in 1890s is my guess… and it’s fantastic ! It reminds me most of a nice 25 year old calo ila that I had recently. I was gifted with a 4.5oz bottle of it by the fellow who owned the bottle and opened it. Enjoyed one dram, and re-bottled the rest in an empty and cleaned glenrothes 100ml bottle i had handy. It’s just too bad I’ll never know exactly when and where it was distilled. In modern terms it would be called islay style, heavily peaty and smoky.

  61. MARS says:

    Turn out that I have a tomatin douglas laing platinum 1963/2003. I think I really have to take a closer look at my collection. Maybe I have an older one somwhere? 🙂


  62. Frederik Aweh says:

    My oldest bottle is a 1938 Glenlivet, bottled in 1986 by Gordon & MacPhail and aged for 48 years. Won’t open the bottle but I hope that others will. This Whisky becomes rarer every year. I’m keen on knowing what I get for the bottle in 10 years……

  63. Brian says:

    Hi Guys, I recently found an unopened bottle of Canadian Club Whiskey bottled in 1920. I thought it was a cool bottle because I believe it was prohibition back then. Anyways… I was wondering if its still good to drink, and if it has any value?

  64. Mike says:

    I have an unopened 1960 Jameson, which would have been distilled in 1953. The back label has a long write up that starts: “Transatlantic travellers come home with glowing reports of a marvelous new drink. Irish Coffee”(!). Wondering what people pay for these, though I’ll probably drink it at the right time.

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