I found this fascinating post on the Islay Weblog
which indicates that the world record-setting bottle of old Bowmore which sold for $59,200 in September
just might not be as old as was originally thought. The bottle of single malt is the oldest Bowmore known to be in existence was said to have have been bottled on Islay around 1850 but research by a variety of people including Iain Russell, the archivist at the Scottish Brewing Archive based at Glasgow University, adds an interesting level of speculation to this auction. Russell is among those who have pointed out anomalies that would date the bottle in the 1890s. The evidence includes the fact that the bottle is claimed to be handblown but looks to be machine made, that is is unlikely that a Scotch of that age would be bottled in clear glass, that the level of liquid appears to be remarkably high and that it is unlikely that a whisky bottled in that time period would have such an ornate four-color label.
Who knows where this controversy will go but if the bottle does date back to the 1890s rather than the 1850s that would have a huge effect on the value of the bottle and the bottle would likely be worth less than the price paid for it at auction. The bottle's provenance rests squarely on the history of the Mutter family who said the bottle was given to their ancestor William Mutter in 1851.