View Full Version : Medley Bourbons

03-22-2009, 20:32
As I mentioned in another thread, in 1990 I worked on a project for what was then Glenmore, which had then just recently acquired Medley, which had itself acquired Flieschmann's only a few years before that. The purpose of the manual was to show the company's sales people what to do with all of their new brands.

The whole document is an interesting historical snapshot of one corner of the industry as it looked almost 20 years ago.

For example, the first line of text reads as follows: "Glenmore is an American-owned, publicly-held, $370M company, whose shares are traded on the American Stock Exchange."

The company's lead segment was American straight whiskey. In 1989, the American Straight Whiskey segment was 10.9% of U.S. spirits sales.

Glenmore's biggest bourbon then was Ezra Brooks, which it had acquired from Medley. Its leading blend was Flieschmann's Preferred, which obviously had been part of Medley's Flieschmann's stable.

Although not stated on the labels, Glenmore in this manual claimed that its three leading straight bourbons were all at least 6 years old. This was in the time of the great whiskey glut, and there was even older whiskey than that in the mix, but they weren't bottling anything at less than six years. In addition to Ezra, they made this claim for Kentucky Tavern and Yellowstone, Glenmore's leading bourbons before Medley arrived.

In addition, they had seven other straight bourbons that they included in the manual, and other, regional brands that they didn't include.

Here is the bourbon section as Glenmore recommended it be set in 1990.

03-22-2009, 20:44
In addition to Ezra Brooks, Kentucky Tavern (KT) and Yellowstone (itself a 1944 acquisition), Glenmore featured in the 1990 manual the following seven bourbons:

Mellow Mash (a Yellowstone spin-off)
Bourbon Supreme
Five Brothers (a Medley brand)
Kentucky Beau (a Medley Brand)
Kentucky Bonded
Old Medley (a Medley Brand)
Medley Brothers (a Medley Brand)

Charles Medley has said that, in addition to Wathen's (which he created) he owns the rights to Five Brothers, Kentucky Beau, Old Medley and Medley Brothers.

My guess is that the actual value of those brand names is approximately zero, but Charles says he owns them and may sell them to Angostura is Angostura is interested.

I'm not sure about Bourbon Supreme and Kentucky Bonded, as to where they came from.

Glenmore was more-or-less realistic about their shelf placements. It's hard to believe there is a shelf lower than the one Old Crow is on, but in this 5-shelf set, they put Ten High, Crow and Evan Williams on the same shelf as their KT and Yellowstone, then claimed the entire bottom shelf for their cats and dogs. Here is a close-up of the lower right hand corner of the original picture.

03-22-2009, 20:45
Here is the corresponding lower left hand corner of the original picture.

Lost Pollito
03-22-2009, 20:51
Nice Chuck. Thanks for the post. I see Wt 101 on the top shelf! The boom sure is different than the glut. Pickin up some 101 this week. :cool:

03-22-2009, 20:52
Here is what the Old Grand-Dad 114 label looked like in 1990.

03-22-2009, 20:53
And here is what I would be bringing back in my time machine from 1990.

(note: it's the 8-year-old VOF, not the 12-year-old VVOF, but still...)

03-22-2009, 21:06
You may notice that a lot of these products were 90 proof too. In fact, I recall some of the Medley brands came in a full range of proofs, but we only used the 90 proof expressions in the pictures. I also recall a mess of Medley brands that we didn't photograph, that had even more primitive labels than the ones we did show. I don't recall any of the names.

Glenmore had a full line of spirits. Their lead Scotch was Scoresby, which they felt should be shelved next to Dewar's White Label. Their lead Canadian was Canadian LTD. Elduris, from Iceland, was their premium imported vodka. Skol was their popular-priced U.S.-made vodka and their number one brand overall.

03-22-2009, 21:23
I'm a proud owner of that bottom shelf 90 proof Medley Bros. bourbon. Found a lone bottle in an old store in downtown Little Rock. Have yet to try it. Possible gazebo fodder. The label declares, "The heart of the run".


03-23-2009, 06:17
Yep, that's a pretty nice looking top shelf, there. Chuck, if you have dibs on the Old Fitz, I call dibs on the Mellow Mash!

It looks like Heaven Hill went back to the future on the EW label when they dropped the age statement a few years ago. Isn't that main label, the one that dresses the bottle now?

And fittingly, Bourbon Supreme occupies the last position of the last shelf...;)

03-23-2009, 08:56
Here's a close-up of the Evan Williams. I notice these bottles still had the 200th Anniversary capsule, even though the anniversary was in '83 and these were taken in 1990.

03-23-2009, 12:31
IIRC, Ky Beau is a HH brand that they still market.

Bourbon Supreme made a journey from Illinois to Publicker in Pa to Medley....maybe a few more stops on the way. I opened a bottle of 1982 Bourbon Supreme KSBW the other day and was surprised at how good it was. It was definitely older than the four yr statement.

Another label from Medley was Mellow Corn.

03-23-2009, 12:34
Georgia Moon was in the Glenmore stable at that time too, though I don't believe it got there via Medley. At that time, all of the corns on the market were either Glenmore or McCormick (e.g., Platte Valley).

03-24-2009, 11:23
Georgia Moon came to Glenmore with the acquistion of the Old Mr. Boston Brands and the Viking Distillery.

Mike Veach

The Boozer
03-25-2009, 18:21
I'll take one of each, please and thank you.
(And I'll be the judge of who the cats & dogs are - after extensive testing of course) :lol:

03-25-2009, 18:26
"cats and dogs" isn't a comment about quality. The term simply refers to very small brands with limited distribution, essentially synonymous with "odds and ends" but without the connotation of scraps or leftovers.

The irony is that the late 80s -- early 90s was a great time to be a bourbon drinker, because even the lowliest brands contained well-aged whiskey due to the glut. The present day is exactly the opposite. Bourbon has never been more popular, so the bottom shelf is full of the very young and the won't-get-any-better.

03-25-2009, 18:31
I remember those high water mark days Chuck, and the 90 proof Medley bourbons.

03-25-2009, 18:36
I was drinking a lot of 10-year-old (though NAS) Kentucky Tavern, real Stitzel-Weller Old Fitz BIB, Barton's VOB and even Ten High. They were all great.

03-25-2009, 21:13
I was drinking a lot of 10-year-old (though NAS) Kentucky Tavern, real Stitzel-Weller Old Fitz BIB, Barton's VOB and even Ten High. They were all great.

What about Mellow Corn?

03-25-2009, 21:42
I think I had my first taste of Mellow Corn when we were doing that shoot. I was not impressed. I have since come to appreciate its unique charms.

03-26-2009, 05:33
And here is what I would be bringing back in my time machine from 1990.

(note: it's the 8-year-old VOF, not the 12-year-old VVOF, but still...)

How many bottles can we fit in the time machine? I'd like to join you for that trip to the past. Maybe we could send a 5 year old kid (who looks 21) back in the time machine, there will be more room for bourbon.

P.S. - Anyone who has a time machine for sale or rent, please PM me.

03-26-2009, 06:17
P.S. - Anyone who has a time machine for sale or rent, please PM me.

I'd rent you mine, though the tank is empty and it will only run on VVXOF 15yo/100 proof.

03-26-2009, 09:33
Ah, yes, the TimeDrinker 2000. Great machine, but you spend all of your time traveling time finding the fuel for it. Seems like a design flaw to me.

03-27-2009, 00:42
Funny this topic comes up just as there is a Medley Bros (90 proof, 4 years old) Bourbon on auction here.

03-27-2009, 08:11
I would add Kentucky Tavern in the group as well, at least during that time period.

03-27-2009, 08:17
Ky Tavern was a Glenmore product until it's sale to Barton.

03-27-2009, 09:10
Kentucky Tavern was good stuff in the early 80s, I sorta lost track of it after that.

03-27-2009, 12:35
Kentucky Tavern was good stuff in the early 80s, I sorta lost track of it after that.

Yes, I have enjoyed all of the Owensboro bottles I have sampled. They were very flavorful for the money.

03-27-2009, 13:26
Yes Jeff, they were good and good value. A friend of mine drank only 10 year Charter and I took a bottle of Kentucky Tavern to a dinner party at his house on a Friday night in the early 80s. He bought a case of Tavern the next day.

03-27-2009, 13:39
If the Kentucky Tavern I was drinking in, say, 1985 was 10-years-old, then it was distilled in 1975. Therefore, it may have been distilled at Glenmore in Owensboro (not Medley) or at Yellowstone in Shively. When Glenmore acquired Medley they kept the Medley distillery in operation and closed both of theirs.

I vaguely recall that one of the reasons Glenmore was sold was because Buddy Thompson kept threatening to restart Yellowstone and the only way the rest of the family could stop him was to sell the company.

03-27-2009, 16:47
Chuck I can see why such a threat might carry meaning. Of the good Bourbons that have fallen by the wayside I am puzzled why those who could didn't keep Yellowstone going. It was just a right whiskey, right quality, right price.