It’s not every day 34 bottles from a single barrel of Blade and Bow 24 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey from the legendary Stitzel-Weller Distillery comes up for auction. There are bourbon auctions and then there are Christie’s bourbon auctions. When a bourbon auction is taking place at 20 Rockefeller Plaza at Christie’s New York Auction House it tends to attract some high rollers. If someone was just looking for an older bottle of bourbon there are plenty of other ways to score some of the brown liquid known as the Spirit of Life but, this particular auction set a record.
In November, Diageo, owners of the Blade and Bow bourbon brand announced they were donating a rare 24-Year-Old barrel of whiskey that was distilled at The Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. This particular bourbon was barreled November 22, 1991 about a year before the legendary distillery that was once home to Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle shut down. The batch was bottled April 2016.
Once emptied, the barrel netted 38 750 ml bottles at 93.4 proof. Tasting notes for the release said, “The bourbon begins with notes of well-aged cedar, campfire and soft leather. The finish includes sweet notes of vanilla bean, light caramel and raisin.” Two of the bottles were enjoyed earlier in the year at the brand’s one year anniversary party in April and two more were shared as tasting samples. The auction included the remaining 34 bottles plus the actual barrel.
“Stitzel-Weller is a Cathedral of Bourbon where some of the country’s most respected bourbons were distilled and aged,” said Christie’s Brand Director Jeff Parrott. “This lone barrel of Blade and Bow 24-Year-Old contained whiskey distilled by the many legends who have called Stitzel-Weller home. We think it’s a great opportunity to share a piece of bourbon history with our fans. We’re thrilled the proceeds will be going to such a noble cause of community building, benefitting New Yorkers in need.”
Single Barrel Raised $95,550
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The 2016 auction season was Christie’s 50th Anniversary of Finest Wine and Spirits. Competitive international bidding for the season achieved sales totaling $2,856,394 including buyer’s premium.
The top lot in the sale was the one barrel of Blade and Bow Single Barrel 24 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, which realized $95,550 or about $2,810 per bottle. No charge for the barrel!
- Lot 219
- One Barrel of Blade and Bow Single Barrel 24 year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
- 34 bottles and 1 empty whiskey barrel per lot
- Pre-Sale Estimated Price: USD $24,000 – $35,000
- Price Realized: USD $95,550
Additional sales from the lot included a rare Burgundy, including a magnum of Romanée-Conti 2005 for $49,000 and an ancient Madeira from the Wine Library of Dr. Maliner sold for top prices, including a record for two bottles of Barbeito, Terrantez 1795 for $19,600.
Noah May, AVP, Head of Sale, Wine Department said, “We are delighted to celebrate and honor the past, present and future of Christie’s Wine department with a stellar result in today’s New York live anniversary sale. The sale inspired competitive bidding for wine and exceptional spirits alike, including a rare bottle of The Macallan 50 Year Old Anniversary Malt and a magnum of Rémy Martin, Louis XIII Black Pearl. We were particularly thrilled to see a unique barrel of Blade and Bow 24 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, sold to benefit The Robin Hood Foundation, sell for an exceptional price of $95,550. We now look ahead to the next chapter of Christie’s International Wine Department’s history.”
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