Upstate New York is full of old, beautiful houses with gingerbread trim and wrap-around porches. When couple Nick Drummond and Patrick Bakker moved to Ames, New York, they were enchanted by an old house which local legend said was once owned by an aristocratic German bootlegger during the days of Prohibition. The 100-year-old house needed some TLC; so after a year in residence, the couple decided to begin renovations. In a shocking twist, the couple discovered over 60 bottles of smuggled Scottish whiskey in the walls of their house. The mostly unopened bottles date from the era of Prohibition, when the mysterious first owner of the house clearly ran a cracking trade. Lucky for us, the couple has been documenting their renovations—and discoveries—in their bootlegger bungalow on Instagram.
The couple took on an old house more prepared than most homeowners—Drummond is a designer and historic preservationist. However, when the time came to rip off the skirting around the old house, the last thing the two expected was to encounter mysterious straw packages full of glass. Sandwiched underneath the panels were countless green glass bottles with archaic labels declaring them to be Old Smuggler Gaelic whiskey. Drummond described his reaction to finding the trove of bottles to CNN: “I’m like holy crap. This is like a whiskey stash. And this is like, all of a sudden, the whole story of the bootlegger.”
As the couple discovered more bottles throughout the house, they began to learn more about its original owner. According to old newspapers, a man named Count Adolph Humpfner once lived in the home. He was known as the “Mystery Man of the Mohawk Valley.” His true past was shrouded in fake names, loose stories, extensive properties, and large amounts of cash from unknown sources. It seems likely given the recent find that running illegal liquor was one of his many businesses. There was certainly money to be made in the trade during America’s period of prohibition from 1920 to 1933. When Humpfner died suddenly—collapsing in front of the executor of his will—the alcohol under his floorboards remained where he left it for almost 100 years.
Drummond and Bakker plan to keep some of the empty bottles for display, while saving some for sipping. The rest will be sold for a going price of about $1,000 per bottle—such antique whiskey is hard to come by. Old Smuggler Gaelic whiskey is still produced today, but these bottles are unique treasures. You can learn about the history of the house, its former inhabitants, and the beautiful renovations by Drummond and Bakker on Drummond’s Instagram BootleggerBungalow.
Couple Nick Drummond and Patrick Bakker began renovating their house, only to find a stash of over 60 bottles of Prohibition-era whiskey under the floorboards and behind the shingling.
The couple moved into an old house in upstate New York which was said to once belong to a bootlegger, although they did not yet know if the rumor was true.
As they found more and more bottles (still full), the couple began to research the mysterious German man who called himself a count and once lived in the house.
The man had died suddenly, leaving his hidden liquor to remain unfound for a century. The bottles are a rare treasure, and the couple plan to keep a few and sell the rest to liquor collectors.
Nick Drummond / Bootlegger Bungalow: Instagram | Facebook
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