The first-ever ‘Art of Bourbon’ fundraising event will take place at Louisville’s Speed Art Museum.

Adam Campbell-Schmitt
September 11, 2018

For any bourbon lover, a sip of Pappy Van Winkle is surely on their bucket list. For a devotee, owning a bottle might also be the dream if they've got a big enough wallet. But for those bourbon fanatics who want the ultimate prize, one of the rarest bottles of Pappy is about to go up for auction, putting one lucky buyer in an exclusive club with members of the Van Winkle family themselves.

At the forthcoming Art of Bourbon event, set to be held Friday, September 21 at the University of Louisville’s Speed Art Museum, multiple high-priced bottles are hitting the auction block with some hefty valuations. But topping that list is a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 23-year-old bourbon that was bottled in 1998 in Lawrenceburg, KY before operations moved to Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Courtesy of Speed Art Museum

One of the reasons this bottle is so desirable it’s that’s just the tenth bottle created of this particular run. Bottles one through five belong to the Van Winkle family, while bottles six through nine have long since been enjoyed already. That makes bottle #10 just about the closest you can get to actually joining the Van Winkle clan without marrying in.

Additional prized bottles going up for bid are an Albert B. Blanton 100-proof, 7-year-old ($10,000 value), a Stitzel-Weller Original 7-year-old, barrel proof ($5,000 value), and a King of Kentucky 14-year-old, limited release ($1,200 value), among others. Tickets to The Art of Bourbon, which will also feature cocktails and a “bourbon-inspired” dinner are $250 and available online here. The event also happens to coincide with the Bourbon & Beyond music festival taking place the same weekend. Proceeds from the auction will go to fund the museum’s Kentucky-centric projects and educational initiatives.

While an estimated value of $20,000 is nothing to sniff at, it does pale in comparison to other brown spirit auctions of late. Recently, a bottle of The Macallan 60-year-old set the world record by garnering a $1.1 million price tag at auction, while a bottle of Yamazaki 60-year-old became the most expensive bottle ever sold in Japan at $343,000. If the recent trend of skyrocketing Scotch and whiskey values continues, this all-bourbon auction just might see a few surprising figures.

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