The best or most difficult part of curating vintage collections at the country's best whiskey bars is tracking down an ever-shrinking supply of old bottles as demand continues to increase.
So it makes little sense why Jared Hyman, curator at Jack Rose Dining Saloon and manager at Bourbon, both in D.C., wants competition. After all, who doesn't dream of slipping into a basement somewhere and finding a bottle of whiskey our grandfather bought when he was our age? But as generous as Hyman is, he wants everyone to appreciate what's in the glass, whether it was bottled in 2005 or 1905.
But first, let's get something clear early: unlike wine, whiskey doesn't continue to age after it leaves the cask, so your 7-year-old 2010 single malt isn't 12 years old now. What you're buying is really a time capsule: a preservation of something created the day the cap was secured, the product of a particular place and time.
And as demand for nostalgia increases, some of these bottles can fetch a high price in legitimate and not-so legitimate exchanges. With that in mind, here's what you need to know before you spend big bucks (or grab it for a song at an estate sale).