We often wonder if an old whisky bottle lying with us is of any value. It should be satisfying to know that if the bottle of whiskey is sealed and unopened then the spirit is safe. We can say so with utmost confidence as there are many times when bottles of very old whiskies are brought out for sales.
Most of the time it is value of the whisky bottle that we want to know. How much will an old bottle fetch? Will it be worth putting it out for sale? The answer to all of these questions lies largely on the type of whiskey and the age that is stated on the bottle and how old the whisky actually is. This age of the whisky is actually the barrel age which determines the duration for which the whisky was left to mature in the barrel.
A good unopened bottle of premium whisky can fetch large amounts. A good example of this would be a bottle of Glenavon whisky from the year 1851 fetched almost USD$29,000. It can safely be said that bottles which will attract the most interest and attention will be the ones which are from the pre prohibition time and also bottles that are not under production anymore.
It is important to know that once a whisky has been bottled after maturing in a barrel it no longer continues to age. Technically speaking, there can be very slight number of changes that might be ongoing with the spirit. But these are all dependant on the kind of exposure that a bottle of unopened whisky might be getting. If, for example, a bottle of whisky has been exposed to a lot of light over an extended period of time then that bottle of whisky is likely to experience some changes. But since whisky is a very high proof spirit it is much less likely to experience much change. This is much unlike wine. Wine tends to age because of its inherent chemical nature. Because of the presence of tannin and acids from the grapes, a wine normally tends to mellow over time because of the oxidation process.
The reason why whiskies do not change much even with some amount of exposure is because they have been distilled at very high temperatures and hence become almost heat proof. As long as the temperatures remain ambient and the bottle remains unopened the character of the whisky will not change. Also the ethanol molecule in the whisky is very strong as this spirit has a high proof, the water is a stable compound and ageable compounds in spirits such as whiskies are very few.
Another thing which an old whisky bottle might have is a high collector value. When speaking of whisky, a single malt Scotch will probably rank much higher in the collector value. Pre prohibition bottles will fetch a very good value because they are very rare to find. Along with old Scotch whiskies, pre prohibition Bourbons is also very valued. A vintage bourbon such as Old Taylor Whisky would fetch a very good price.