Baker's Pure Rye 1847
The World's Oldest Whiskey

INTRO | BRAND HISTORY
PROVENANCE | LABEL | GLASS | SEAL | RADIOCARBON DATING

A handmade

This bottle of Baker's Pure Rye Whiskey is the official Guinness World Records holder for the oldest whiskey in the world, and the only existing American whiskey distilled and bottled prior to the end of the Civil War.


Rye whiskey is "the" original American whiskey, with a history linked to the earliest days of the United States. Read on to learn all about the bottle, what's inside, and how it was authenticated, with tidbits of whiskey history throughout.

Feel free to go in order or browse. Whiskey geeks may find the page on the spirit itself most interesting (includes spoilers), but all pages are rich with details.

 

Next Page: The Brand >>

 

NOTE: As of April 2021, Skinner Auctioneers has publicized a bottle of “Old Ingledew” whiskey they are selling, which they claim contains whiskey from the late 1700s.


It's possible and exciting. However at this point, it appears more likely that Skinner's radiocarbon dating could be inaccurate or flawed, since literally all other evidence points to the whiskey being from the 1860s or so. In fact, the scientific protocol that Skinner designed for the "verification" of their bottle would likely fail basic peer review. 

The Ingledew bottle should undergo new C14 tests under stronger scientific design. The radiocarbon dating should be independently repeated by at least two new labs known for dating spirits, double-blind and controlled (the existing test appears to have been neither). That means two new datasets in addition to the existing one. Possible biases and conflicts should be fully disclosed.

Further research should be done to eliminate the currently reported 19% probability the Ingledew whiskey dates from the past century or other scenarios. Lab reports and other backup materials should be made available to qualified buyers and for peer review, well in advance of the sale.

There are additional discussions to be had over what the Ingledew bottle actually "is," and respected whiskey historians should be involved in verifying how a spirit purportedly from the 1790s could have ended up in a glass bottle made and sold around 1870.


In fairness, Skinner is an auction house, not museum or historic institution. Like many auctioneers, they expressly deny any responsibility for the correctness or genuineness of their descriptions, attributions, and statements. "Buyer Beware" applies.

In the meantime, some of those involved in verifying the Baker's Rye are actively encouraging Joe Hyman, Skinner's whiskey specialist, to step back and allow a scientist to oversee new testing of the Ingledew.

The current best guess of the author of the Bakers articles is that the Ingledew spirit is what would've been called Georgia "corn whisky" distilled around 1862 and bottled 6-12 years after.
 

 

 

 Special thanks for their invaluable knowledge and help:
Darrell Corti
Chuck Cowdery
Todd Holmes
Bill Lindsey
David Othenin-Girard
David Robertson
Steve Ury

With credit to the works of:
Chuck Cowdery
William R. Johnston
Sam Komlenic
Bill Lindsey
John Lipman
Fred Minnick
Reid Mitenbuler
Clay Risen
Mike Veach
...and other chroniclers of history as noted. 

 

 

INTRO | BRAND HISTORY
PROVENANCE | LABEL | GLASS | SEAL | RADIOCARBON DATING

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