Mike Jasinski—akathe Whiskey Whisperer
—has amassed a collection of old whiskeys through his years of searching out-of-the-way liquor stores. He owns everything from gallon bottles of Old Grand-Dad to a pint of 1970s Wild Turkey with a one-of-a-kind label no one else has ever seen. If you're interested in becoming a hunter of “dusties” yourself, these are some of the whiskeys he recommends trying to track down. “Theoretically, you could find any of this stuff,” he says.
Wild Turkey 8
This age-statement bourbon stopped being bottled in the early 1990s. Wild Turkey today doesn't have an age statement.
Cabin Still from pre-1972
This brand was made by Stitzel-Weller until the early 1970s, after which its quality went way down. Jasinski says the best whiskey he has ever tasted was a 1962 Cabin Still.
Although not considered a special bottle, Canadian Club from the mid-century is a common find among dusty hunters. “It's a very consistent product,” Jasinski says, noting that the flavor profile is remarkably similar to what's in the bottle today.
Let your quest for what's old be guided by the labels themselves. Old Grand-Dad, Old Taylor, Old Overholt, Old Fitzgerald—all are bottles that Jasinski has found in abundance, and with excellent whiskey inside.
Add to the “Old” collection Old Weller Original and its partner, Weller Special Reserve. Even bourbon newbies don't need to be told that older bottlings of these brands originated at the famed Stitzel-Weller Distillery—it's in the name, after all.
A Family Heirloom
“If you have an older bottle that's part of your family's history, sometimes just having the bottle and having the experience and connecting with what somebody was drinking back then, like your grandfather,” is what means the most, Jasinski notes. “A lot of people…ask me to find bottles of X, Y, Z, and some of it's pretty bad whiskey, but they just want to drink what their grandfather drank.”