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Liquor Store Scavenging


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#1 campus five

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 10:32 AM

Since getting into cocktails, I've picked up the habit of hitting off-beat liquor stores for rare, or otherwise old bottles.

Some of my recent finds:
9 bottles of Tanqueray Malacca @ $20 each
A bottle of 2003 George T. Stagg @ $60
4 bottles of Plymouth with an older label @ $12.99

Anyone else doing this? Any other awesome scores?

Edited by campus five, 02 July 2008 - 10:33 AM.


#2 ShadowedOne

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 10:41 AM

Since getting into cocktails, I've picked up the habit of hitting off-beat liquor stores for rare, or otherwise old bottles.

Some of my recent finds:
9 bottles of Tanqueray Malacca @ $20 each
A bottle of 2003 George T. Stagg @ $60
4 bottles of Plymouth with an older label @ $12.99

Anyone else doing this? Any other awesome scores?

View Post


Wow! Great score on the Malacca. I've been scavenging for that one for a while.

#3 Snowy is dead

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 12:07 PM

It's getting harder. last thing I found was a bottle of Luxardo rolling around behing the TGI Friday's crap on the bottom shelf covered in dust. They still charged full price for it though...

It's getting harder to find stuff, at least around Boston with all the competition now.

#4 Bricktop

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 03:49 PM

At a hole in the wall liquor store near my office, I found and bought three bottles of Carpano Antica. I'd only ever seen a bottle of it in Manhattan. Score!

#5 Chris Amirault

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 04:49 PM

I stop at nearly every liquor store in RI to do this. Finds include state-labeled botttles of Amer Picon, green and yellow Chartreuse, Campari, Herbsaint, Lemon Hart demerara rum (80 and overproof), and who knows what else. Usually, it's priced slightly less than retail for whatever equivalent the store has chosen, which, for some bottles, means a steal.
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#6 Dave the Cook

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 05:34 PM

When I first discovered cocktails, I scoured Atlanta for Punt e Mes, Carpano, Junipero, Rittenhouse Rye . . .

My best find was six dusty bottles of Luxardo Maraschino at their original price (about $19, as I recall). Hesitating, I bought two. Three days later, I went back and bought the rest.

A year and a half later, Maraschino is widely available in the ATL, but I'm seeing signs of shortages of Landy VS Cognac, Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy, and Citadelle Gin (who also makes Landy's). It's a neverending story.

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#7 mbrowley

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 07:00 PM

Scored three bottles of Laird's bonded in the clearance bin of a small store in Leucadia, California. Everything else was overpriced, but at $8.99 a bottle for the Laird's, I was walking on clouds.

My mom's even gotten in on the act, playing the innocent old lady asking for Malacca in smaller stores, hoping they don't know what they had. No dice so far. Last place I saw a bottle was over at Doc's forming the spine of a pink gin.

Best deal I ever saw on bourbon was the Costco in Kansas City. They had Booker's for $35 a bottle (it's $70 at the little corner markup near my house). Didn't have time to snag it, so I went back the next day intending to buy a case—maybe even their entire stock to have it shipped home. Gone. Gone! Asked at customer service. Apparently the distributors did not like to see it priced so low, so they called it back to their warehouse. The entire inventory had been packed up and shipped out the night before. Argh. I was that close to dropping a week's salary on as many cases as they had.

Now, the best deals for me are down the road in Tijuana groceries where the Cointreau and old formula Campari are about half price they are in the US. Havana Club? Also quite cheap there.

Oh ~ I also ask at garage and estate sales if there's liquor afoot. More often than not, the organizers don't think to sell the stuff lurking in cabinets, closets, and basement shelves. For every unopened bottle of ancient bourbon, you'll have to heft the creepy weight of ten open and room-temperature bottles of coagulated Bailey's Irish Cream, but there can be some gems.
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#8 Chris Amirault

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 07:12 PM

My mom's even gotten in on the act, playing the innocent old lady asking for Malacca in smaller stores, hoping they don't know what they had.

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I wipe a tear shed for the love of mother for child....

I've learned to ask the question, "Do you have any old dusty boxes of stuff no one wants in the basement?" There's one store in town -- I'll never tell -- that pushes Capone's corpse aside to get me their latest oldest.
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#9 Snowy is dead

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 07:52 AM

I got one of those grandma boxes once. Had an open bottle of bailey's....from 1964! Ouch. Also had some Seagrams VO from 1964 unopened with the tax tag still on it. Is that worth anything aside from a nice conversation piece?

I'll have to start hunting all the 'burbs now. Malacca would be the prime objective.

#10 Chris Amirault

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 08:12 AM

Good question, and one worth expanding in general. I've left a few things on shelves that, whatever their kitsch value, promised little once I cracked open the bottle. What criteria should we scavengers have for the decades-old stuff? What's worth taking, and what's not?
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#11 bostonapothecary

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 09:54 AM

Good question, and one worth expanding in general. I've left a few things on shelves that, whatever their kitsch value, promised little once I cracked open the bottle. What criteria should we scavengers have for the decades-old stuff? What's worth taking, and what's not?

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i found three bottles of the "cinzano reserva dry vermouth". it definitely showed some age but i enjoyed it with cheese... i snagged the last bottle of old campari from the same store... i haven't been into brix in the south end in a while but i wonder if they still have amer picon on the shelves.
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#12 tikibars

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 12:32 PM

Someone mentioned estate sales; I once got three cases (6 bottles each) of Pampero Anniversario for about $11 per bottle at an estate sale. That was a couple of years ago. Still working my way through it.

Not sure what to do with the growing pile of leather sacks that is accumulating in a dusty shelf above the sink...
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#13 bigbear

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 01:30 PM

.....

Not sure what to do with the growing pile of leather sacks that is accumulating in a dusty shelf above the sink...

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#14 Mike S.

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 04:41 PM

I love this game! There are tons of older "mom & pop" liquor stores in the greater SF Bay Area and I'm slowly working my way through them. I've found many treasures, including:

J. Wray & Nephew C.J. Wray Estate Distilled Dry Rum (a fantastic premium Jamaican white rum unfortunately discontinued many years ago)

Stubbs Queensland Dry White Rum (interesting rum from Australia)

Forty Creek Three Grain Canadian Whisky (my favorite expression, and one of their original bottlings now no longer produced)

Marnier-Lapostolle Cherry Marnier Cordon Rouge (no longer imported to America)

Marnier-Lapostolle La Grande Passion (discontinued long ago)

Pisang Ambon (green banana and spice liqueur, no longer imported to America)

Old bottle of Drambuie in a beautiful cut-crystal decanter

There's a few I'm still (and always) on the hunt for, including Malacca (I have several bottles but have never seen any in a store) and Kahlua Royale (an old product blending Kahlua, brandy, chocolate and orange; one of my Mom's favorites).
Cheers,

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#15 Snowy is dead

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 08:29 AM

I was searching thursday when I asked about Tanqueray Malacca. The Greek gentleman behind the counter wasn't amused...didn't help that he had never heard of it.

#16 Snowy is dead

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 10:16 AM

Found an original formula campari...finally. I did see some old plymouth gin bottles with the ship on it. I'm assuming that is only a package change and the gin is the same?

Edited by Snowy is dead, 11 July 2008 - 10:17 AM.


#17 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 12:07 PM

Found an original formula campari...finally.  I did see some old plymouth gin bottles with the ship on it.  I'm assuming that is only a package change and the gin is the same?

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Seems to be but why they changed the package is beyond me. The old ones looked way cooler and were much, much more bartender-friendly. At home I keep refilling my old ones, though that might be weird (no worse than the rest of you I'm sure :wink: )
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#18 plattetude

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 08:46 AM

Found an original formula campari...finally.  I did see some old plymouth gin bottles with the ship on it.  I'm assuming that is only a package change and the gin is the same?

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Seems to be but why they changed the package is beyond me. The old ones looked way cooler and were much, much more bartender-friendly. At home I keep refilling my old ones, though that might be weird (no worse than the rest of you I'm sure :wink: )

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And the caps on the new bottles may as well be made of aluminum foil. I opened a bottle last night with a mighty effort because the cap wouldn't separate from the collar band, and all my twisting completely hosed the threads on the cap. Once it came off (with the help of some kitchen shears to cut through the scoring), the cap was a misshapen mess that I had to mold back into its original shape.

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#19 Snowy is dead

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 09:42 AM

I haven't had that happen to me yet. It seems to happen to Beefeater bottles alot though. Pretty annoying when it does. I like giving it to customers when they think they're being funny and offer help. Let them play with it for 10 minutes or so.

#20 campus five

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 10:52 PM

So, as joke the wife and I stopped into a liquor store on the way home, which turned into a 45 minute caravan to 12 different liquor stores.

Here's the haul:
Posted Image

1 750ml, 2 375ml's, and 2 200ml's of Malacca - for $17.99, $11.99 and $6.99 respectively. (FWIW the last 750ml bottle I sold on ebay went for $180+)
A bottle of Plymouth for $13.99
Bug Juice Campari, and a really, really old bottle of Campari. (I'll have to do a taste test between the two older bottles and the non-bug stuff)

I need to save up for a trip to NYC in August, so nothing like some liquor speculation to pay the bills.

#21 kermie

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 04:16 AM

Ha ha - I thought I was the only one.

I'm not sure if my collecting is the same but I always bring back unusual liquers/spirits when I travel. As I've traveled quite a lot I have quite an unusual mix of stuff. Very fun at the end of a dinner when you ask people what they fancy.

I'm also big into Halloween, so any form of alcohol that has potential to be turned into something interesting, ghoulish, or strange gets plucked from the shelves. We do have a part of the cabinet that is filled with black and green glowing bottles - very funny. It's soo much fun at that time of the year too.

#22 jmfangio

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 12:19 PM

So, as joke the wife and I stopped into a liquor store on the way home, which turned into a 45 minute caravan to 12 different liquor stores.

1 750ml, 2 375ml's, and 2 200ml's of Malacca - for $17.99, $11.99 and $6.99 respectively. (FWIW the last 750ml bottle I sold on ebay went for $180+)
A bottle of Plymouth for $13.99
Bug Juice Campari, and a really, really old bottle of Campari. (I'll have to do a taste test between the two older bottles and the non-bug stuff)

View Post


You're killing me! I'm in LA as well, but my scavenging hasn't turned up anything more than a bottle of the old label Plymouth.
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#23 brinza

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 08:23 AM

So, as joke the wife and I stopped into a liquor store on the way home, which turned into a 45 minute caravan to 12 different liquor stores.

Here's the haul:

1 750ml, 2 375ml's, and 2 200ml's of Malacca - for $17.99, $11.99 and $6.99 respectively. (FWIW the last 750ml bottle I sold on ebay went for $180+)
A bottle of Plymouth for $13.99
Bug Juice Campari, and a really, really old bottle of Campari. (I'll have to do a taste test between the two older bottles and the non-bug stuff)

I need to save up for a trip to NYC in August, so nothing like some liquor speculation to pay the bills.

View Post

Is it possible to say "congratulations" and "I hate you" at the same time? (the latter greeting provided on behalf of those of us in socialist liquor states).
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#24 Snowy is dead

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 07:03 AM

I've been hitting some out of the way mom and pop stores lately. No new finds, but I been seeing a trend I hadn't noticed before. All the gin, which usually consists of nothing more than tanqueray and sapphire, is located on the bottom shelf, completely out of the way. Usually they live in between the rum and vodka around eye level, but I've never seen gin stocked almost as an afterthought before.

#25 Chris Amirault

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 03:48 PM

OK, I just found a place with a whole slew of things I'd never seen, all with very old state tags on them: Campari raspberry (not a typo), a different Fernet bitters that isn't Branca, several ancient and wee Cointreau bottles, god knows what else. Any ideas about these first two?
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#26 marty mccabe

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 07:34 PM

OK, I just found a place with a whole slew of things I'd never seen, all with very old state tags on them: Campari raspberry (not a typo),

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Any chance you're talking about Campari Cordial? Sweet, clear, completely useless. Seriously...I asked Ted Haigh one time, and he told me that I should pour it over fruit...

If it's not that, it's a new one to me...
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#27 TBoner

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 04:58 PM

OK, I just found a place with a whole slew of things I'd never seen, all with very old state tags on them: Campari raspberry (not a typo), a different Fernet bitters that isn't Branca, several ancient and wee Cointreau bottles, god knows what else. Any ideas about these first two?

View Post


That Fernet bitters is stocked at an Italian deli here in Dallas, and the gentleman who runs the store tells me it's unbearably bitter. I bought a bottle but haven't cracked it (hey, it's only been a couple of days).
I'll second the question on Campari: I have a bottle of Cordial Campari I found that is basically a raspberry liqueur (nothing earth-shattering). Does yours say "Cordial?" Blue label?
I've been a scourer for some time, and have found 7 bottles of Malacca, the Cordial Campari, Chartreuse at $18, tax-stripped Punt e Mes (still don't know what current product tastes like), and countless bottles of bourbon, Scotch, and rye. Good times, until someone caved in the hood of my car during the 5 minutes I was in a store. No security cameras and none of the residents of the parking lot saw anything, naturally...

Regards,

Edited by TBoner, 06 August 2008 - 04:59 PM.

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#28 Dave the Cook

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 05:32 PM

On a trip back from New Orleans last month, I gave into the temptation cast over me by a series of billboards on I-85, and stopped at Lagrange Liquor and Wine. Since it's near the very popular West Point Lake, I expected to find a lot of single-malt scotches and a good selection of cigars for the weekend power-boat-and-vacation-home denizens.

They had those, of course. What I didn't expect to find was something I didn't even know existed: Cruzan 151. Other than proof, there's no information on the label. It's aromatic -- something like a demerrara -- and of course very heady. I just mixed it in an Atlas. Very nice. Manly, if I may say so.

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#29 bostonapothecary

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 09:36 PM

On a trip back from New Orleans last month, I gave into the temptation cast over me by a series of billboards on I-85, and stopped at Lagrange Liquor and Wine. Since it's near the very popular West Point Lake, I expected to find a lot of single-malt scotches and a good selection of cigars for the weekend power-boat-and-vacation-home denizens.

They had those, of course. What I didn't expect to find was something I didn't even know existed: Cruzan 151. Other than proof, there's no information on the label. It's aromatic -- something like a demerrara -- and of course very heady. I just mixed it in an Atlas. Very nice. Manly, if I may say so.

View Post


a friend of mine had a bottle of that. it was a vacation souvenir. the idea of it sounds awsome...
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#30 satanswhiskers

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 02:31 PM

I'm not typically one for thread necromancy, but this one is right up my alley. Since I live in an ABC store state, my wife and I always stop at little hole-in-the-wall liquor stores to scrounge around whenever we leave the state.

I've found some of the usual oddities like old bottles of Cherry Marnier, but my all time favorite has been this:

Posted Image

Warm, spicy, it tastes like liquid apple-y sunshine. The full text of the label is "CALVADOS BIZOUARD Hors d'Age Apple Brandy". I can't for the life of me remember which little joint in South Carolina it came from, and I would just LOOOVE to get some more of it. I've found a few places online that have something that sounds similar, but no label photos and no indications of it being the "hors d'age" bottle.

On my latest trip I came up with this:

Posted Image

Of course when I tore the foil and grabbed the plastic cork-topper the cork sheared right in half and the lower part fell into the cognac. After pouring the liquid into a clean bottle so that I could get the cork out I was able to see that the back of the bottle label indicated that it was bottled in June of 1973. Haven't really been able to come up with much of anything about this online, but it is quite tasty.