The Boozin’ Gavel

Got a spare $30K lying around? You might want to head to Christie’s in New York this weekend for some pretty interesting old and rare bottles of booze are going on the block.

Among the amazing array of ancient alcohol are madeira from the 1700 and 1800s, 132 year old cognac, and the highlight of the event, a 1926 bottle of single malt which is expected to go for as much as $30,000.* In all there are over 1000 such lots at this particular auction.

I’m always amazed at things like this. Obviously the buyers are interested in more than whatever it is these bottles contain. If the stuff is really worth thousands or even tens of thousands why is it still around? Let’s assume that you could afford such a thing; upon obtaining it wouldn’t your first impulse be to see what a $5000 bottle of booze tastes like? I know it would be for me. So why haven’t one of the owners of these bottles through the years tasted it? I know the answer: They’re collectors.

Brewers, distillers and vintners do what they do so people will drink and enjoy what they make. If they wanted to produce museum pieces they would have spent their youth studying painting or sculpting. Instead they learned about the best soil for growing grapes, which trees produce the best wood for aging whiskey or where to find the best water for brewing. They make a consumable product and I’ve never met one of these men or women whose greatest joy wasn’t to see others enjoying it.

This isn’t to say that I don’t have a few bottles of this and that stashed away waiting for a special occasion. But when that occasion arrives I won’t hesitate to open them. This stuff is just water, fruit and grain. Enjoy it don’t collect it!

*That Scotch wound up selling for $54,000 – BE 12/10/07

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