PDA

View Full Version : Help me decipher Old Fitz labels



GreggB
12-16-2008, 17:07
I need some guidance here. The Old Fitz bottles I have seen on the shelf here in St. Louis say "distilled in Louisville, bottled at DSP-1".

If DSP-1 means Bernheim, I assume that means they were bottled at Bernheim.

How can you tell where was the distillation carried out?

From the remarks on another thread, I am inferring that Old Fitz was at one time made at SW, then at Bernheim, now at HH (in Louisville? at DSP-31? - what distillery is that?). What years at each distillery?

If, as Scott says in the other thread, the current Old Fitz BIB says "DSP-1, bottled at DSP-31", does that mean distilled by HH at the old Bernheim distillery, and bottled at whatever DSP-31 is?

spun_cookie
12-16-2008, 18:14
I need some guidance here. The Old Fitz bottles I have seen on the shelf here in St. Louis say "distilled in Louisville, bottled at DSP-1".

If DSP-1 means Bernheim, I assume that means they were bottled at Bernheim.

How can you tell where was the distillation carried out?

From the remarks on another thread, I am inferring that Old Fitz was at one time made at SW, then at Bernheim, now at HH (in Louisville? at DSP-31? - what distillery is that?). What years at each distillery?

If, as Scott says in the other thread, the current Old Fitz BIB says "DSP-1, bottled at DSP-31", does that mean distilled by HH at the old Bernheim distillery, and bottled at whatever DSP-31 is?

You can find (that I have seen so far):

Distilled and Bottled by S-W or DSP 16 (1992 and older)
Distilled by DSP 16, bottled at DSP 1 (~1993-1995)
Distiled by DSP 1, bottled at 31 (~1995-199?)
Distilled and bottled by DSP ??? (199?-today)the transition yrs are a mistery to me. Boone will be able to be much more acurate... but from what I have purchaed and consumed... that is what I have seen ... and the years are from the bottom of the bottles - not tax stamps to there is a + / - here

barturtle
12-16-2008, 18:26
To the best of my knowledge there has never been any Old Fitz distilled at DSP-31. HH didn't buy the brand until after the fire that destroyed that distillery. The most recent bottle I have says:

Distilled at DSP-1 Bottled at DSP-31

spun_cookie
12-16-2008, 18:46
To the best of my knowledge there has never been any Old Fitz distilled at DSP-31. HH didn't buy the brand until after the fire that destroyed that distillery. The most recent bottle I have says:

Distilled at DSP-1 Bottled at DSP-31

Yeah... not sure about any 31 distillation

mozilla
12-16-2008, 19:01
You can find (that I have seen so far):

Distilled and Bottled by S-W or DSP 16 (1992 and older)
Distilled by DSP 1, bottled at DSP 16 and 24 (~1993-1999)
Distiled by DSP 1, bottled at 31 (~1999-today)the transition yrs are a mistery to me. Boone will be able to be much more acurate... but from what I have purchaed and consumed... that is what I have seen ... and the years are from the bottom of the bottles - not tax stamps to there is a + / - here

I think that it is more like this for the years. NOTE THE CHANGES to Emeralds remarks. I don't believe that Bernheim has much capacity for bottling.

birdman1099
12-16-2008, 19:20
I have several DSP 16 bottled at dsp 24. (stitzel Weller juice bottled at Medley)

ggilbertva
12-16-2008, 19:22
If, the last distillation at DSP KY 16 was '92, then I would venture that any bottle up until 96/97 would be SW and the label will indicate such with DSP KY 16. After that, Bernheim up until '99 or early 2000. When HH bought the Bernheim plant, they also got the Old Fitz label. What I'm unsure of is did they continue the same distillation mashbill for the Fitz label....I would assume so.

What I'm unclear on is when HH took over the Bernheim Distillery, did they in effect now have two DSP's since the HH distillery burned down in '96. I'm assuming that the whiskey distilled from '92 on when that plant went online, is the same whiskey they have now?

Boone may chime in here at some point.

I have a bottle of Old Fitz from DSP KY 1 that also lists the bottler as 31. It's a good whiskey and if you have the opportunity to pick one up, go for it.

ggilbertva
12-16-2008, 19:23
I have several DSP 16 bottled at dsp 24. (stitzel Weller juice bottled at Medley)

Scott, are those early 70's bottles?

spun_cookie
12-16-2008, 19:50
I have several DSP 16 bottled at dsp 24. (stitzel Weller juice bottled at Medley)

That was the one I could not remember....

mozilla
12-16-2008, 22:34
I have several DSP 16 bottled at dsp 24. (stitzel Weller juice bottled at Medley)

DSP 24 is the old Glenmore facility. IIRC, Medley was 49 back then...and DSP 10, now.

shoshani
12-17-2008, 14:34
When HH bought the Bernheim plant, they also got the Old Fitz label. What I'm unsure of is did they continue the same distillation mashbill for the Fitz label....I would assume so.

I remember a feature article in one of the magazines (wanting to say John Hansell's magazine but I honestly don't remember), in which Parker Beam assured the readers that they would not change Old Fitz and that they would continue the VSOF and 1849 expressions.

I'll tell you what my concern is...it's well-known that even when distillers could not legally barrel at 125 proof (more like 100-110 was industry practice decades ago), Pappy Van Winkle was adamant in using low proof barrelling for his wheated bourbon. Weller Antique at 107 was pretty much barrel proof - only enough water was added to make the bottlings a consistent strength. (Compare Wild Turkey Rare Breed, which says it's barrel strength and uncut with water; WT still barrels at 107 proof and this bottling was just over 108.)

My worry is not that Parker and Craig Beam started making changes with the Old Fitz mashbill and production methods; my worry is that Diageo instituted massive changes (starting with the stainless steel column still at Bernheim that replaced an all-copper affair at Stitzel-Weller) and that these changes might have been inherited by HH. I believe Mike Veach uncovered documentation that UD was constantly after Edwin Foote to increase the barrelling strength of Old Fitz, which he resisted; what happened after he retired?


I have a bottle of Old Fitz from DSP KY 1 that also lists the bottler as 31. It's a good whiskey and if you have the opportunity to pick one up, go for it.

No argument there. In spite of my concern that perhaps Old Fitzgerald isn't made the way Pappy canonized it, The BIB expression is still a very flavorful and pleasant whiskey that retails for $15 at Binny's and $13 at my neighborhood package store - an excellent value for the money.

ggilbertva
12-17-2008, 15:18
my worry is that Diageo instituted massive changes (starting with the stainless steel column still at Bernheim that replaced an all-copper affair at Stitzel-Weller) and that these changes might have been inherited by HH. I believe Mike Veach uncovered documentation that UD was constantly after Edwin Foote to increase the barrelling strength of Old Fitz, which he resisted; what happened after he retired?

When UD built the Bernheim plant, I believe one of the stills had to be configured to handle the wheated mashbill. The act of changing the distillation from copper still to columns changes the flavor profile even if the mashbill stays the same. It's also been reported that Pappy used thicker staves in the barrels which would theoretically affect the flavor profile. I don't believe the SW receipe followed the brand to Bernheim but I could be wrong. I thought there was some negotiations a number of years ago whereas Julian ended up with the original recipe. My memory/info could be wrong on that one.

I've done a side by side of 5 decades of SW whiskey and I can say the flavor changed, not necessarily for the better as time progressed. The best is still the distillate that was under Pappy's critical eye. Not to say the later SW product was bad but it lost its earlier grand flavor.

birdman1099
12-21-2008, 07:20
DSP 24 is the old Glenmore facility. IIRC, Medley was 49 back then...and DSP 10, now.


Your right. 24 is Glenmore. I just always referred to 24 as Medley, since Medley used it frequently.

Medley also used dsp 10,12,49.

Thoroughly confused????

mozilla
12-21-2008, 10:28
When UD built the Bernheim plant, I believe one of the stills had to be configured to handle the wheated mashbill. The act of changing the distillation from copper still to columns changes the flavor profile even if the mashbill stays the same. It's also been reported that Pappy used thicker staves in the barrels which would theoretically affect the flavor profile. I don't believe the SW receipe followed the brand to Bernheim but I could be wrong. I thought there was some negotiations a number of years ago whereas Julian ended up with the original recipe. My memory/info could be wrong on that one.

I've done a side by side of 5 decades of SW whiskey and I can say the flavor changed, not necessarily for the better as time progressed. The best is still the distillate that was under Pappy's critical eye. Not to say the later SW product was bad but it lost its earlier grand flavor.

As has been stated many times in the old posts and threads here...

The formula changed many times starting at the sale in 1972. Notice I said formula...not mashbill. Formula should encompass start to finish and everything in between. Items that changed: water, barrel makers, still, doubler, yeast, distillation proof, barrel proof, warehouses, master distiller(a few times). Probably many others I have left off.

One thing I do know, when Bernheim was rebuilt and also shortly before...they made a pour quality of whisky. Before they were having trouble with some of their equipment working properly. Therefor, the rebuild. After,...they had so much trouble with all the new fangled technology, it took them a while to dial it in. I am not sure if they were ever satisfied with their progress and decided to sell to HH, eventually.
The Beams came in and kicked some distiller butt...got the place crankin' as best it could...and voila.
It will never be SW. That it's churning out Old Fitz Bib as well as it is...is a miracle. If they could ever get the yeast converted over to liquid instead of dry...I think that would bring some life back into their products. As long as the yeast is not from Jim Beam. I would rather they borrow some from Wild Turkey or Four Roses. The recent HH yeast taste too similar to BT's yeast strain, IMO. Their dusty bottles I have found were much different than their more recent products. Their old products had a much more floral and unique flavor. I wonder if they lost it in the fire or when they converted over to dry yeast?

shoshani
12-21-2008, 20:48
The formula changed many times starting at the sale in 1972. Notice I said formula...not mashbill. Formula should encompass start to finish and everything in between. Items that changed: water, barrel makers, still, doubler, yeast, distillation proof, barrel proof, warehouses, master distiller(a few times). Probably many others I have left off.

Milling. Pappy was a stickler for roller mills; I believe most distilleries today use hammer mills, which he considered too rough on the grain.

This is the sort of discussion I would gladly fork if I knew how to do it properly and if I knew enough people were interested. Being that there are only three distilleries that make wheated bourbon, I'd be curious to compare the mashbills/formulas (as defined above)/general practices of Stitzel-Weller in the past with the current ones of HH Bernheim, Buffalo Trace, and Maker's Mark.

ggilbertva
12-22-2008, 19:00
I think Pappy's credo speaks to his uniqueness in distilling practices.

"We make fine bourbon; at a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but always fine bourbon."