This Prohibition-Era Whiskey Cache Could Be Worth a Fortune


All photos: hanshound/Reddit

Reddit user Hanshound may have stumbled on the find of a lifetime: a pristine case of Prohibition-era Old Overholt rye whiskey dating to 1921.

“A guy had it in his cellar and was looking to get rid of it — I was at the right place at the right time,” the user posted. “The cellar was 55 degrees year round, which likely contributed to their good condition.” Although hanshound found evidence of “some evaporation… they’re pretty damn good for how old they are.”


“For medicinal purposes only.”

So how much is the 24-bottle case of whiskey worth? The most telling clue might be the note at the bottom of the bottles’ back label, which reads “For Medicinal purposes only.” According to the Los Angeles Whiskey Society, a members-only group of whiskey aficionados specializing in collectible whiskies, alcohol was still available during Prohibition with a doctor’s prescription — imagine that — and many popular brands exploited the loophole.


The front of the case.

“Somewhat amazingly, many of these unopened pints of medicinal whiskey have survived into present day,” reads the L.A. Whiskey Society’s page on the subject. “Their value depends on condition, who distilled and bottled the whiskey inside, the brand name itself, and other factors. As of 2015, medicinal whiskey pints can individually sell for hundreds depending on condition, and around $1,000 for rare and very sought-after editions.”


The back of the case.

There are 24 bottles in Hanshound’s case, which means the cache could be worth a staggering $24,000.

We feel a little bad for whoever sold Hanshound the goods. The Reddit user writes that, “The guy I got it from had two cases originally, one of which he drank with his buddies” — oops! — “and this one he wanted to keep as a complete set, which is what I will do as well.” Hanshound wouldn’t disclose the amount paid for the case, saying only: “I think I got a good deal.”


The case, filled with a complete set of whiskey bottles.

It’s unclear, however, as to whether or not old whiskies taste better than vintages half or even a quarter of their age. “If it was aged in a barrel, those extra years might mean extra flavor,” spirits writer Kara Newman reports in Slate. “If it wasn’t, age is unlikely to correlate with quality.” Womp, womp.

They’re still cool from a historical perspective, though. And let’s be honest — we wouldn’t turn down a sip.

More boozy stories:

5 Classic Tiki Cocktails to Drink Before You Die

This Iconic Red Cup Has a Secret Feature

Gasp! Prosecco Shortage Is on the Way

Would you drink whiskey that’s almost a century old? Tell us below!