Monthly Archives: June 2014

Old Taylor Bonded, 4/5qt, 1947

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Glenmore Kentucky Tavern Bonded Decanter, 4/5qt, 1949

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Sunny Brook 4yr, quart, 1954

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Glenmore Old Kentucky Tavern 8yr, 4/5qt, 1955

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Henry McKenna, 4/5qt, Early 1970s

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Four Roses Yellow Label 86pf, 1955

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Wild Turkey 8yr, 4/5qt, Brooklyn, 1957

Wild Turkey 8 year, 101 proof was the staple of the line for decades. Unlike many brands, Wild Turkey kept the age statement and higher proof for a long time, which led to its perception of high quality. The ages started to drop in the 1990s, and the proofs have only recently started to go down.

Shortly after this bottling, the label changed from stating “Brooklyn – New York” to “New York, NY.”

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Old Taylor 86pf, 4/5qt, 1958

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Old Grand Dad 86pf, 4/5qt, 1960

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Old Grand Dad Bottled In Bond, 4/5qt, 1959-1964

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I.W. Harper Bottled In Bond, 4/5qt, 1959-1964

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Cabin Still 90pf, 4/5qt, 1965

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Kentucky Bonded Double Springs 10yr, 4/5 qt, 1967

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Double Springs Bonded 6yr, 4/5qt, 1968

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Ezra Brooks Sippin’ Whiskey, quart, 1970

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Medley Mellow Corn Bonded, 4/5qt, 1973

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Old Weller Original 107pf, 4/5qt – 760ml, 1974

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Medley 107 Proof, 4/5qt, age unknown

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Benchmark 86pf Louisville, 200ml, 1978

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Old Fitzgerald 1849, 750ml, 1979

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Barton Colonel Lee Bonded Light Whiskey, 4/5qt, 1979

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Medley Haller’s County Fair Bonded, 1980

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Wild Turkey 12yr “Beyond Duplication” 750ml, 1982

The 12 year is many people’s favorite in the Wild Turkey lineup. It started with the “Beyond Duplication” bottles in the early 1980s, which was replaced by the “cheesy gold foil” label bottle in the mid-80s, then the split-label in the mid-90s. The export market got the Beyond Duplication and gold foil labels longer than the US market. Finally, the export-only version persisted in a few markets. All are top quality pours.

The original US-version Beyond Duplication bottles had a tax strip like on this bottle. The later versions with a gold capsule top are exports, generally to Japan.

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Rebel Yell 86.8pf, 750ml, 1983

Rebel Yell was a Stitzel Weller brand that was marketed to the South. It was generally one of the lower-shelf brands offered, but can still be a very good find.

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Old Fitzgerald Prime 86pf, liter, 1983

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Old Grand Dad 86pf, 750ml, 1986

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Old Joe Boone Bonded, 750ml, 1986

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Benchmark 86pf Louisville, 750ml, 1987

 

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Wild Turkey 12yr Beyond Duplication – Export, 750ml, 1988

The 12 year is many people’s favorite in the Wild Turkey lineup. It started with the “Beyond Duplication” bottles in the early 1980s, which was replaced by the “cheesy gold foil” label bottle in the mid-80s, then the split-label in the mid-90s. The export market got the Beyond Duplication and gold foil labels longer than the US market. Finally, the export-only version persisted in a few markets. All are top quality pours.

Besides the Japanese character sticker on back, you can also tell it’s the export version because it has the capsule top rather than the tax strip style on the earlier US bottles.

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Weller Centennial 10 yr BHC, 750ml, Louisville

The year on this is actually unknown. There’s no year on the bottle glass, and it has a government warning, so that would put it some time between 1989 and 1999 when the brand was sold to Buffalo Trace and the city was changed from Louisville to Frankfort on the label.

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Benchmark 80pf NOLA, 750ml, 1990

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Wild Turkey 80 Proof, 750ml, 1992

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Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit Pewter Top, 750ml, 1994

The Kentucky Spirit is Wild Turkey’s single barrel bottling, and debuted in 1994. The first bottles had a pewter cap, which changed to smooth dark wood in 2002, dark embossed wood in 2005, and light embossed wood in 2008. Generally the older the bottle, the more sought-after by Turkey connoisseurs.

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Old Rip Van Winkle 15yr 107pf Lawrenceburg, ~1994

Old Rip Van Winkle 15 year was produced from 1989-2003, when it was replaced by Pappy 15. Many connoisseurs prefer the Old Rip to the Pappy, and the Lawrenceburg bottles are especially valued, possibly because they were non chill filtered before the move to Buffalo Trace in 2002. Early ORVWs came in a slightly taller bottle with a sharper angle on the shoulder. You can see in the last photo the difference between 1998 (left) and 1994 (right) bottles.

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Weller Special Reserve 7yr Louisville, liter, 1995

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Old Rip Van Winkle 10yr 107pf Lawrenceburg, ~1998

Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year was  released in the late 1970s and is still produced today. It was Stitzel-Weller stock until around 2004, when it was Bermheim for a while and eventually Buffalo Trace (with some probably mingling in the transition years). The Lawrenceburg bottles are especially valued, possibly because they were non chill filtered before the move to Buffalo Trace in 2002.

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Old Rip Van Winkle 15yr 107pf Lawrenceburg, ~1998

Old Rip Van Winkle 15 year was produced from 1989-2003, when it was replaced by Pappy 15. Many connoisseurs prefer the Old Rip to the Pappy, and the Lawrenceburg bottles are especially valued, possibly because they were non chill filtered before the move to Buffalo Trace in 2002. Early ORVWs came in a slightly taller bottle with a sharper angle on the shoulder. You can see in the last photo the difference between 1998 (left) and 1994 (right) bottles.

Posted in Old Rip Van Winkle
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Wild Turkey 12yr Split Label, 750ml, 1998

The 12 year is many people’s favorite in the Wild Turkey lineup. It started with the “Beyond Duplication” bottles in the early 1980s, which was replaced by the “cheesy gold foil” label bottle in the mid-80s, then the split-label in the mid-90s. The export market got the Beyond Duplication and gold foil labels longer than the US market. Finally, the export-only version persisted in a few markets. All are top quality pours.

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Twisted Spoke 16yr 105pf, 1999

Twisted Spoke was a Stitzel-Weller bourbon bottled by Julian Van Winkle in 1999 for the Twisted Spoke bar in Chicago. Bottled at 16 years and 105 proof.

Posted in Old Rip Van Winkle
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Wild Turkey 12yr Split Label, 750ml

The 12 year is many people’s favorite in the Wild Turkey lineup. It started with the “Beyond Duplication” bottles in the early 1980s, which was replaced by the “cheesy gold foil” label bottle in the mid-80s, then the split-label in the mid-90s. The export market got the Beyond Duplication and gold foil labels longer than the US market. Finally, the export-only version persisted in a few markets. All are top quality pours.

Posted in Wild Turkey
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Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye “B” Lawrenceburg, 2000

The Van Winkle Rye reportedly started as a single-source whiskey, rumored to be Medley distillate. The remaining whiskey stayed in the barrel year after year until it reached 19 years old, at which point it was tanked in stainless steel and mingled with Bernheim (Cream of Kentucky) rye. This bottle would have been 16-year old pre-tank rye with all Medley distillate. For more info see the Van Winkle timeline.

Posted in Old Rip Van Winkle
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Weller Centennial Frankfort, BHC and gold cap

The Weller Centennial came out as a part of the Bourbon Heritage Collection, and originally had Louisville on the label. Later the label changed to Frankfort but kept the BHC logo on the cap, and the final version had Frankfort on the label and only a gold capsule.

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Old Rip Van Winkle 10yr 107pf Lawrenceburg, ~2001

Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year was  released in the late 1970s and is still produced today. It was Stitzel-Weller stock until around 2004, when it was Bermheim for a while and eventually Buffalo Trace (with some probably mingling in the transition years). The Lawrenceburg bottles are especially valued, possibly because they were non chill filtered before the move to Buffalo Trace in 2002.

Posted in Old Rip Van Winkle
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Wild Turkey Tribute 15yr – US Version, 750ml, 2004

According to Jimmy Russell, the only difference between the US and Japanese versions other than packaging was the proof. The US version was 101 proof, and the Japanese 110. However, several people say they are still slightly different when brought to the same proof. The tribute is many people’s favorite Wild Turkey of all time.

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Wild Turkey Tribute 15yr – Japanese edition, 750ml, 2004

According to Jimmy Russell, the only difference between the US and Japanese versions other than packaging was the proof. The US version was 101 proof, and the Japanese 110. However, several people say they are still slightly different when brought to the same proof. The tribute is many people’s favorite Wild Turkey of all time.

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Pappy Van Winkle 15yr Single Barrel, 2004

One of the relatively rare single barrel bottlings of Pappy 15, bottled for Civic Center Liquor in San Francisco in 2004.

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Eagle Rare 10/101 Frankfort, 1.75L, 2005

In a plastic handle!

Posted in Ancient Age - Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare
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Willett 22yr Rye, Doug Phillips “Green Ink” 2006

Selected personally by Doug Phillips and friends, this is the first Willett single barrel rye to be released, and many say the best. The whiskey inside is rumored to have been distilled at Bernheim.

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Bitter Truth 24yr rye, 2007

German bitters maker Bitter Truth was one of the early recipients of some of the barrel proof Bernheim rye bottled by Willett, along with Doug’s and LeNells.

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Rathskeller 24yr Rye, 2007

In 2007 the historic Seelbach hotel in downtown Louisville acquired a single barrel bourbon and rye for their hotel bar. A few bottles were sold through local stores too.

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Speakeasy Select Bourbon, 2007

In 2007 the historic Seelbach hotel in downtown Louisville acquired a single barrel bourbon and rye for their hotel bar. A few bottles were sold through local stores too.

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Wild Turkey American Spirit 15yr, 750ml, 2007

American Spirit was a special edition 15-year bourbon sold in 2007. It’s generally considered to be excellent, but not as desirable as Tribute.

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Willett 24yr Rye 110pf, Bonilli Japan, 2008

Japanese importer Bonilli brought in two barrels of Willett’s 24 year old Bernheim rye. This one was bottled at 110 proof, and the other was bottled at 94 proof. Both are considered to be exceptional ryes, surpassed only by their barrel proof Willett brothers.

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LeNell’s Red Hook Rye, Barrel 4, 2008

Brooklyn liquor store owner LeNell Smothers had four barrels of Bernheim rye bottled by Willett in the 2006-2008 years. This bottle is from the final barrel, #4.

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Four Roses Mariage 2009

The Mariage series, started in 2008, was the predecessor to the annual Small Batch Limted Edition. A small annual release, it’s a mingling of different recipes at barrel proof by master distiller Jim Rutledge.

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Old Rip Van Winkle 23yr, 2009

In 2009 the Old Rip Van Winkle decanter set was released. It featured 23-year old whiskey that was specially selected and bottled at a higher proof than usual (114). 1200 decanter sets were released, but the family also bottled a very limited quantity in regular Pappy style cognac-style bottles for their own consumption. You’ll notice there’s no bar code for sale.

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Willett 18yr Bourbon, Barrel 43, 2010

Barrels 43 and 44 were released in California, and in limited numbers in Colorado, by the distributor Pacific Edge in 2010. The whiskey inside is most likely Bernheim wheated bourbon.

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Willett 18yr Bourbon, Barrel 34 “No Chemists Allowed” 2010

No Chemists Allowed is one of the Willetts picked by Bill Thomas, owner of Bourbon DC and Jack Rose, as well as the distributor in the DC area. It’s likely a Stitzel-Weller distilled wheat recipe bourbon, and is highly sought after.

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Willett 17yr Bourbon, Barrel 55, 2010

Barrel 55 was split between Liquor World and Toddy’s (who share owners). It’s likely a Bernheim-distilled wheat recipe bourbon.

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Willett 18yr Bourbon, Barrel C41, 2011

Barrel C41 was bottled for a liquor store in New York State in around 2010.  It’s likely a Bernheim-distilled wheat recipe bourbon.

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Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch, 2012

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Wild Turkey 12yr, Export Version, 700ml

The 12 year is many people’s favorite in the Wild Turkey lineup. It started with the “Beyond Duplication” bottles in the early 1980s, which was replaced by the “cheesy gold foil” label bottle in the mid-80s, then the split-label in the mid-90s. The export market got the Beyond Duplication and gold foil labels longer than the US market. Finally, the export-only version persisted in a few markets. All are top quality pours.

Posted in Wild Turkey
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Wild Turkey 8yr, Japanese Export, liter, 2012

Wild Turkey 8 year, 101 proof was the staple of the line for decades. Unlike many brands, Wild Turkey kept the age statement and higher proof for a long time, which led to its perception of high quality. The ages started to drop in the 1990s, and the proofs have only recently started to go down. The export market has kept age statements longer than the US market however.

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Willett 20 yr bourbon, barrel 321

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Four Roses Gift Shop OBSV 16yr, 2012

Starting in late 2011 and continuing into late 2012, Jim Rutledge selected some special barrels of 16 and 17 year old OBSV recipe bourbon for sale solely at the gift shop. While he generally prefers his bourbon to be aged 8-10 years, Jim believes this extraordinary batch may have been the result of a mutated batch of yeast. Some of this same whiskey also made its way into the Small Batch LE bottlings in 2012 and 2013.

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Four Roses OBSV Gift Shop OBSV 17yr, Barrel 18, 2012

Starting in late 2011 and continuing into late 2012, Jim Rutledge selected some special barrels of 16 and 17 year old OBSV recipe bourbon for sale solely at the gift shop. While he generally prefers his bourbon to be aged 8-10 years, Jim believes this extraordinary batch may have been the result of a mutated batch of yeast. Some of this same whiskey also made its way into the Small Batch LE bottlings in 2012 and 2013.

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Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 125th Anniversary, 2013

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Four Roses Single Barrel LE 2013

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Four Roses Single Barrel LE 2014

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