Questions About Evalutions and Selling
Why can't you answer every inquiry?
We wish we could, 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 as to what they'd pay for the bottle. 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 rarely a straightforward answer. Even for bottles where we "know" what they are (which is most), we still have to inspect the photos, verify 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 nearly all our efforts.
I just want to sell 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. (Submit an inquiry here). It must be vintage, collectible whiskey. We cannot assist people who want to "flip" recent releases. We're not brokers nor resellers, we're a not-for-profit group of whiskey aficionados who just like to help people who genuinely are looking for assistance in a very confusing collectibles market. Please note that we can't take any responsibility for transactions that might occur between individuals afterwards. We also cannot advise on legal issues -- laws vary in different countries and even in different states within the US.
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 in our spare time.
Why do you only provide valuations for people in the US?
Firstly, it is to cut down on our workload -- we only have a certain amount of manpower to dedicate to valuations. Also, it's because the secondary whiskey market differs from country to country, and our best expertise lies in USA sale/auction values.
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.
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 even had to correct the "expert whiskey appraisers" at major auction houses over a dozen times.
How did you gain all this knowledge?
Years of experience, enthusiasm, networking, and endless amounts of 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.