Whiskey Evalutions FAQ
1. I just want to see how much $$ I can get for my whiskey. Can't you help me?
If you're simply looking to sell collectible whiskey, we may be able to put you in touch with an auctioneer or a collector who can make an offer, depending where you live and what you've got. See this page for those curious about selling collectible whiskey.
2. Why can't you just email me back a simple, quick answer to how much my bottle is worth?
Well, it's actually not that simple. Here's why we'll often refer you to a collector:
First, see our FAQ about determining vintage liquor value. Valuation is complicated and there's usually not a straightforward answer.
And, the other big reason we can't respond is a matter of logistics: consider if 4 people a day ask us about bottle values. It takes about 15 minutes of total time to respond to each person, including asking for pics, reviewing them, explaining the secondary market, and so forth. With 4 requests per day, that's at least an hour we need to spend on them, every day.
On the other hand, if a collector is interested in your bottle, that's different. That collector has an incentive to put in the time to correspond with you. And, they'll know what they're comfortable offering, and can easily tell you.
3. Why can't you answer every appraisal request?
We really wish we could help everyone, and we used to do that. But eventually, we simply had more requests than we could handle. We've seen more amazing bottles of whiskey than we ever thought we would, and we're very thankful for that. But it's been exhausting!
A full evaluation takes a good deal of time and effort to prepare and write. It often involves in-depth research, as well as conferring with other collectors for their opinions. In addition, for the response to make sense, the owner needs to be educated on the collectibles market first, and then on their individual bottle. Especially with bourbon, which is what most of our inquiries are -- that's a grey area in a true "grey market." 99% of sales are private, unknown except to buyer and seller. Valuation is complicated and there's usually not a straightforward answer. Even for bottles where we "know" what they are (which is most), we still have to inspect the photos, ascertain condition, and confer with the owner for additional information... it just takes a lot of time. Most of the evaluations the Society performs are on museum-quality pieces and they consume a huge part of our efforts.
Please understand that we receive many requests from people who think they have the last bottle of something in the world. We know how you feel and we'll try to accommodate you. Remember, we don't make any money off this and we're a not-for-profit group. We do this as a courtesy and for fun in our spare time.
4. Why do you do provide this service at all?
We know it's rare these days to provide free information and services, but it's fun for us, and sometimes we get to feel like the Indiana Jones of Whiskey. It's amazing to recieve high-definition photos of forgotten relics -- and then to be able to piece together the significance of the bottles, when and where they were sold, and the actual people who made the whiskey in them. Prohibition-era and Pre-Prohibition bottles can be especially fascinating.
5. Who is the LA Whiskey Society?
We're a small group of whiskey aficionados in Los Angeles. We taste collectible whiskies in our group meetings. The Society makes no money and we are not a business.
Since 2006, we've become what's perhaps the best-known and most-respected whiskey club in the US. We're also known in the worldwide whiskey community for our expertise in dating old and collectible bottles, particularly anything once sold in the US. We've been asked by major auction houses to consult for them, as well as having had to correct their published "expert" analyses many times.
6. How did you gain all this knowledge?
Years of experience, enthusiasm, networking, and endless research. Nearly all whiskey experts are amateurs, as are we. In fact, there is only one professional bourbon historian in the US, and he works for a philanthropically-supported historical society.