View Full Version : Favorite Distilery
I voted for Wild Turkey. It was a toss-up between it and Buffalo Trace. While BT has the Stagg as well as many other fine premium and single-barrel bourbons, they also have a couple of bottom shelf brands (i.e. Ancient Age). Wild Turkey on the other hand makes no bourbon that should ever be only 6 inches from the floor. Even the 80 proof expression has merit. It goes without saying how good their premium bottling are. Just my 2 cent http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/tongue.gif
I voted for Buffalo Trace, and it was a toss up with Wild Turkey. My vote was probably influenced by today's arrival of The Stagg! There's no disputing the quality of Wild Turkey products: I love Wild Turkey's Kentucky Spirit, Rare Breed and Russell's Reserve, but I'm happy with the trend at Buffalo Trace to heed to our interests and desire to try things like The Stagg. Also involved in my vote is BT's relationship with Van Winkle's products which I've begun to enjoy very much over the last couple of months.
Solid reasoning gentlemen, and it shows in the vote tally. Wild Turkey leads by comfortable margin while Buffalo Trace is firmly in second place. All of the rest of the distilleries are tied for either third or last place. Very interesting indeed. Anyone else care to comment?
Just to throw a wrench in the works it seems, I chose Heaven Hill. All the other choices (Wild Turkey especially, and to a lesser extent, Buffalo Trace) are great, but I really enjoy the HH mashbill. Plus I like the idea that (as far as I know) it is not owned by some huge beverage conglom. While its tough to choose, that is what put it over the top for me.
Tom (loves the Little Guy) C
I think thats enough said! http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif I was torn between those two, and Brown-Forman would be my distinct third. See ya, H'wood http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif
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Also involved in my vote is BT's relationship with Van Winkle's products which I've begun to enjoy very much
I thought about that, but for some reason I can't equate the two. I still tend to think of the Van Winkle whiskeys as a product of the Vanwinkles, not BT. But I guess that says something about BT, to know enough about who to associate with http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif
You were the one person to vote negative on the Stagg poll and now this http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/mad.gif Go with the flow man, come on...everybody's doing it http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/ooo.gif
Actually Tom If voteing for the little guy matter's then A. Smith Bowman should have gotten your vote or the smallest player in the bourbon market - Charles Wathen Medley. As much as I love Wathen's I just can't believe I left Charlie's distillery off the survey. Dumb. As to family owned distilleries goes the Goldring's own Buffalo Trace and the Brown's are in full control of Brown-Forman. I voted for Buffalo Trace as they are deffinately leading the way into the future of bourbon bringing out new and exciting brands at fairly reasonable prices considering the ultra-high quality of the products. The very fact that Julian would associate himself and the Van Winkle name with Buffalo Trace is not just a bottom line what's in it for me business deal. It speaks volumes to the great strides that have been made at this distillery. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif
While BT is my favorite, HH holds a favored spot in my heart. Like you, I do like their mashbill and I love EWSB both for the flavor and the value.
Then there are the sentimental reasons. First, my grandfather always had a bottle of HH on the kitchen counter. He had a shot every night after dinner. Second, BettyeJo! Her participation here is priceless. She lets us peek into the history of the industry. She gives us a great perspective and personalizes it. We see that this is not just some yellowed history text book and old photos, but a rich, warm, family history provided by a member of the family. Fantastic.
Here's a peek into my reasoning. I voted for Jim Beam, because it is the one I see everyday. I'm getting close to home when it comes in view. The question was pick a favorite distillery, If I were to choose the best and favorite products BT would be way out front. Brown Forman is another good one. I think Heaven Hill has a great future .
I remember reading where Booker said they'd been making Whiskey the same way for 200 years and they didn't want to mess with that. I think it's good to pay homage to the past. When I look at Jim Beam at Clermont I always think they could make the finest whiskey in the world there. They have a great physical plant, they have good water, everything is present. It just isn't happening there. They make a few good ones. Most of what they make is 4 year old , who cares if you drink it with Coke Bourbon. They have yet to create a stir like Stagg. I'd gladly eat these words the day they do something like that. I can't help but think it's already on that hill somewhere, They just need to follow those loose bungs! I've got one or 2 of each of the small batch, I'll probably never own the Distillers Masterpiece. BT will get money from me , BF will on Sept 2, HH will eventually get more especially when their new ones come on. Can't have too much Wathens. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif
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or the smallest player in the bourbon market - Charles Wathen Medley. As much as I love Wathen's I just can't believe I left Charlie's distillery off the survey. Dumb.
Frankly, my friend, thats was my first choice, and I was suprised you left it off the list. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/smirk.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/smirk.gif !
PS there was more too my vote than just size BTW, although I cant always puty my finger on exactly why. From almost the beginning of my bourbon exploration I have told people who ask (and when you tell people that you are an enthusiast of something, they always ask your favorite) that my fave distillery was HH. . .
Nope, sorry I am a bit of a loaner.
BTW: I WANT a bottle of Stagg quite a bit, I just dunno if it is worth the effort, and cost (the price of the bottle plus a trip to KY to get it) it would take to enjoy it. I take solace in the face that it is being enjoyed by other mindful bourbonic enthusiasts such as yourself.
http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif TomC http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif
I couldn't have said it better myself Linn, and it is for the same reasons Buffalo Trace got my vote. I appreciate that they come out with new exceptional products, even if in very limited quantities, for us enthusiasts to enjoy. And they do this, just as Linn said, without raping people pricewise such as some other brands on new and limited releases. Also persuading me was the joint venture that Julian has set forth with Buffalo Trace. I have personally been happy with every product offered by BT and urge them to keep up the great work and especially future releases for enthusiasts such as ourselves.
Was a toss up between Dickel and Maker's I hate Diaegeo, so Maker's it is.
Kentucky Distilleries (http://www.whiskyportal.com/region.asp?RegionID=8)
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I remember reading where Booker said they'd been making Whiskey the same way for 200 years and they didn't want to mess with that.
Let me say a little more, For some reason they hold dear the past,( Everyone , not just Beam) and It's funny because they know which part of the past to hang on to and what to let fall ( good riddance) by the way. I just Don't think Ol' Jake Beam was firing up a 60 foot column still. No ones' run any on the log for a while either. This leads to another point , I think the mystification of yeast comes in to play, as one of the ways " we hold to the old and dear" . All the producers of today are using up to the minute scientific methods , The yeast mystique and the Barrel tend to the alchemy / art side of it. In the end it doesn't matter. We have more and better choices. Excepting of course the "golden Age of Bourbon" and those on Distillery Tours , who got to drink from Mike Veach's stash can attest. I think that 40 years ago the spectrum was so much narrower, there wasn't that much divergence from the best to the worst. For a modest sum you were at the top of the game, as far as drinking a premium Bourbon was concerned. The bottom shelf was actually where the middle shelf is now. The new bottom shelf was created by the drinking habits of the consumer, who wanted a cheap drink and the "mixer" would smooth it out.
I agree with that, Bobby. When I started out, maybe about 1969, Wild Turkey (what we call 101, now, I think it was 8-yr old, then) was the super premium. There may have been a couple of others. Old Forester was reasonably premium. Old Grand Dad, Rebel Yell, and Old Crow were considered to be "good" bourbons (they may have been, for all I know) and they had premium ads in slick magazines.
Even in those days, Early Times was considered to be cheap, but at least it was Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, then.
I do remember some bottom shelf brands from those days, such as Old Hickory. Very cheap, but drinkable.
Damn, I'm old. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/smirk.gif
Dennis's site is down right now, but I've been there and was gererally unimpressed. As I am the undisputed master of the incomplete thought, I should have named this thread "Who is your favorite Distiller". I expect Bourbonians to know that Brown-Forman is; Jack Daniels, Early Times, Old Forester, L&G's Woodford Reserve, and Southern Comfort. Likewise I expect Bourbonians to know that Heaven Hill has a ton of labels, and is D/B/A (Doing Business As) Evan Williams; Elija Craig, Henry McKenna, Old Whistle Stop, ect, ect. Sure I could have listed five thousand non-exisistant ditilleries, but the results would have come out the same. Wild Turkey is #1 and Buffalo Trace is #2. I think Maker's Mark has taken the #3 spot. Everyone else is either tied for #4 or last place. Take your pick. Pick your nits as you will - this thread stands tall on it's own merits (whatever they may be). http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif
In the mid 60s Old Crow outsold Jim Beam, not by much but still was on top. I don't see many people crying for it to return to its' glory days. In my travels to flea markets and Heartland Decanters , I see all kinds of things, Old Crow. They had at one point an entire set of Chess pieces , all 750ml or 4/5 quart, I didn't check them that good. So if you wanted the whole set you better like your Old Crow. They put out some nice things over the years and I think one could get them at depressed prices. Who wants this stuff now? Old Crow now is just a Dog and Cat label at JimBeam. It says on the back label," Aged for a full 3 years in new , charred White Oak Barrels"! I suppose that if it continues its' fall from grace , we might expect to see, " Grain neutral Spirits with Color and Flavor added"!
I remember in the 70s when I first stated my travels in the liquor stores. Wild Turkey was number 1 and Maker's Mark was number 2 on the top shelf and in price. For a brief time George Dickel was in the number 1 spot, not for long , but it was there.
Linn-My favorite distillery (I think) since I only get one vote is Heaven Hill. Not because it is all that great and only a few of it's bourbons is to my liking, but I do indeed like Parker Beam and the owner. They have always replied to all my questions, but the main reason it is still privately owned and I like that.
To all-a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and may all the bourbon you drink be great.
Since you already know my favorite distillery, I should mention that I am a big fan of Jimmy Russell. I should also mention that Buffalo Trace is owned by a sole individual. I have been trying, unsuccessfully thus far, to find out if he has a daughter!
Holy Cow! I had no idea that Buffalo Trace was owned by one individual. Let me re-phrase my statement. No question about it, Buffalo Trace, One Owner? Unbelievable! By the way, you have to look pretty hard to find bourbon as good as George T. Stagg, which is what I am drinking right now, neat of course.
>In reply to: "By the way, you have to look pretty hard to find bourbon as good as George T. Stagg"
All I can say is DITTO! Keep them coming Ken!
Tonight I went into Long's Drugs to buy some beer, and as usual, I cruised down the liquor aisle just to see if there were any decent sales going on.
The hard liquor department had been mauled ... it was almost humorous. But what had happened to the whiskey section was a bit different than the results of this poll. I think it gives you some idea of how different from the general bourbon sucking public we are.
The JD had been wiped out, followed by Beam products (but the small batch line appeared to be fully stocked.) After that, the Makers Mark spot had 3 bottles left. The HH and WT products hadnt really been touched.
The good news? Their entire scotch stash appeared to be intact!!!!
Well, after viewing this forum for almost three years and never positing a message, I've decided make my first post by voting for my favorite distillery, Brown-Forman. Now, I have to admit that I am a little bit biased as I am a part-time tour guide at Labrot & Graham. A little over two years ago, I discovered that I could actually get paid to ramble on incessantly about a topic that I enjoyed so much. It's pretty much been a dream job. Anyway, I look forward to being a member of the group and hopefully taking part in some of the discussions.
And you can be sure that you are very welcome, here. Thanks for joining in.
Good Deal Jeff! Welcome to Bourbonia! We're looking forward to reading more of your posts, as good inside information is always desired.
Glad to see you got around to posting. When I met you in Liquor Barn at the Elmer T. Lee and Julian Van Winkle III signing, I suspected you were ready to jump in. Welcome aboard.
Fellows, thanks for the warm welcome, I appreciate it. Ed, I'm sure I will be seeing you often at Liquor Barn. I'm usually there about five out of six days of the week.
Hello, Everyone. Been awhile since I have posted. Been working 2 jobs and enjoying my Bourbon most every night after working.. My favorite. Buffalo Trace.
Was an easy choice after Julian Vanwinkle came on board with them. Tehy have some of the finest all around selections available on the market today. I dearly love Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit and like Rare Breed. But Buffalo Trace has something for all taste and budgets. Waiting on my Stagg to arrive.. Love the 2001 bottling of 18yr Sazerac Rye and what more can you say about Julians
various whiskeys. His 13 yr Rye is as good as most any I ever tasted, I could go on and on but BT gets my vote, Creggor.
Hey thanks for voting Creggor! That puts Buffalo Trace into first place with Wild Turkey second. Jim Beam a solid third. A three way tie for fourth place with Brown-Forman; Maker's Mark, and Heaven Hill.
I must agree Buffalo Trace and the Turkey products are definitely one and two (depending on who you ask!) This my not warrant a new post, but I pose this question....who would have been first six months to a year ago (possibly by a good margin), if not for a super-hot product recently?! http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/crazy.gif Hmmmmm...See ya, H'wood http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif
No question on my vote. I voted for BT before I tasted or even thought of GTS. I must admit, even though WT has a very good set of bourbons (and very easy to find in a bar, so a good go-to bourbon when out on the town), they just don't set my heart afire. I guess this is because I like the bread and butter BT products more than the equivalent WT products.
I don't buy enough of the top shelf stuff to make a valid comparison. I hate to spend over $30 if I don't know I will like the bourbon. (But, if I do, watch out.) Pre-Stagg, I couldn't form a valid opinion due to reluctance to splurge on KS, Blanton's, etc. However, I am very glad that WT offers RB in a 375 ml size in NC. I do love that bottling. If more sizes like that were available in NC, I'd sample alot of the top shelf more often.
For breadth and variety of product, I think BT is better for me. It doesn't bother me if others like WT better or if I can't appreciate WT the way they day. Heck, they are both great distilleries and the more you all drink of Turkey, the more BT products I get. ;-)
Forget about 'hot product' Eric! Jack Daniels is the #1 selling American Whiskey. Jim Beam is #2, and Evan Williams is #3. What is amazing here is that distilleries well out of the top three come in #1 and #2. This shows we don't buy marketing hype; nor do we care who sells what. We only care what bourbon / American Whiskey tastes best to us. I've not revieved a check from any given distillery to vote their way. I trust that you haven't either. We taste. We drink. We think. No one buys our vote. We like what we like just becuse we like it. This is beautiful thing. Buffalo Trace is # 1. Wild Turkey #2. I would realy have liked to have seen Brown-Forman in the top three. The seven million dollar restoration of Labrot & Graham plus the $100,000 donation to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association for the reserection of George Washington's Dogue Run Distillery. Now we have Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. Is Jim Beam really doing more than Brown-Forman for the future of bourbon? No! Not by a long shot!
Linn, Linn, Linn. You missed it again. I agree totally. BT and WT are distinctly one and two. Or is it two and one?(FYI-I do like Brown-Forman at 3). The two mentioned have the best products running, I am not questioning any others with my point... Again, for some people maybe six months ago WT was in slight favor over BT, but then came the Stagg! Read the post...Can't deny Stagg is a "hot product", and damn sure is good enough to leap-frog WT, especially if you liked both almost equally! http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/blush.gif See ya, H'wood http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif
Wonder if I can revive the talk about Willett's and whether it is still (via E. Kulsveen or otherwise) available.
I had mentioned earlier in the thread that in the 1960's a Mr. Thomason, their distiller (who started in the business before Prohibition) commented on the great qualities of Willett's product, that it was traditionally full-bodied and with rich bouquet. I did not understand then but now do (through reading through old posts) that E. Kulsveen bottled Willett's whiskey for quite some time after the still room closed, even well into the 1990's. Sam Cecil also says this in his classic book on Kentucky distilleries.
I understand Johnny Drum, available I believe only in export markets, contained Willett's whiskey, or at least the 15 year old did.
Can anyone confirm if Johnny Drum is still available?
If so where, and does it contain Willett's whiskey?
I bought some Corner's Creek in the hope it might be Willett's but to me it is from Heaven Hill, it has that signature taste.
Thanks for any info!
Just bringing forward a previous post in which I was asking about Willett's and the whiskeys currently marketed by Evan Kulsveen. Both in this thread and others I think the consensus was that Mr. Kulsveen sourced his whiskeys from Willett's but when that stock ran out he sourced them elsewhere, probably Heaven Hill. Bobby mentioned that the Old Bardstown brand seemingly changed from the old days. In the Sauceguide to Drinks and Drinking I mentioned earlier today, a number of brands are identified coming from "Kentucky Bourbon Distillers Ltd., Bardstown". This seems to be connected to Mr. Kulsveen who it is known concentrates (but not exclusively) on the foreign market. The bourbons from this company listed in Sauceguide are: Johnny Drum Green Label, Johnny Drum 12-year old, Johnny Drum 15-year old, Noah's Mill, Old Bardstown 6-year old, Old Bardstown 101 (10 years old, 101 proof), and Rowan's Creek, ("small batch .. produced from no more than 12 casks"). Under the first Johnny Drum mentioned (Green Label), the capsule comment states, "This Kentucky Straight Bourbon was made at the Willett distillery before its closure in the early 1980's. It has been aged four years". This seems to say the Johnny Drum line (at least) was distilled at Willett's.
How could that be for any of these Johnny Drums including a 4 year old whiskey? Perhaps thousands of bottles of different ages were bottled before the distillery closed and have been slowly released into the market ever since. Another interpretation of course is that Sauceguide is simply telling us that Johnny Drum was at one time produced at Willett's but is no longer. Yet, that is an odd statement to make, why would they not say where it is made now? Well, perhaps they don't know - we here have not been sure where post-Willett's whiskey has been sourced, the candidates are HH or possibly Barton's for some of it. Some whiskey in the EK line seems clearly to be from one of these sources, e.g., Corner's Creek to me has an HH signature (that dry grassy taste some HH production has). Could it be that Johnny Drum (any age) is the last of the Willett's and the other EK brands mentioned are all from HH or Barton's? This seems possible but unlikely, i.e., I would think nothing from EK being sold today is from Willett's, yet who knows..? Rowan's Creek is a well-aged product and if the Johnny Drums are Willett's, maybe that is too.. I haven't tasted any of the Johnny Drums but I know Rowan's Creek quite well and it does not taste like HH to me (unless it is an older version of EW 7 year old, because that (to me) has an "atypical" HH taste).
Bobby had asked about the current 10 year old Old Bardstown. Here is what Sauceguide says, "rich and rounded, but elegant and supple, with a dry spicy oak pedestal supporting a balance of chocolate, vanilla, gingerbread, caffe latte notes, retaining balance as it continues to open up". Sounds pretty good.
The "Old Bardstown" label sits in our label room (Heaven Hill). It's not real popular, but we do run it on occasion.
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
Thanks Bettye Jo.
Here by the way is a statement under "Noah's Mill" in Sauceguide, "This small batch 15-year-old Bourbon was made at the old Willett distillery before its closure in the early 1980's".
Sounds pretty definite that Noah's Mill was made at Willett's (which Charlie Thomason lauded, with detailed reasons, as one of the last truly traditional distilleries in his 1960's-era article printed in the official magazine issued for the 2002 Bourbon Festival in Bardstown).
Current Noah's Mill on the market came from Willett's? Any possibility to get a copy of that article? Sounds really interesting.
Well, that is what the notes given in Sauceguide seem to say but I don't think the picture is 100% clear yet. Anyway, the Sauceguide publications (there is also one on cocktails) should be available in any large magazine store in a large metro area such as New York's. Also, note their website, www.sauceguides.com. (http://www.sauceguides.com.) I found the information in this guide first-rate, the discussion of bourbon and its history is very good, for example. The magazine has excellent chapters on tequila, vodka, Irish and Scotch whisky, liqueurs and many other kinds of drinks currently popular. It is almost 200 pages long and was sold in Toronto for only $15.00 (CAN), well worth the price.
In the 60's, they called it The World's Greatest Bourbon . I know that really means very little, but it was probably good stuff.
Old Bardstown (http://www.bourbonrecipes.com/sweet/oldbtowncookbook.html)
Your information is most likely correct. Mr. Kulsveen married a Willett. He bottles out of the old Willett Distillery building.
I had some photos of the defunct distillery and the bottling operation running on a website a couple of years ago (from an undercover operation... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif). I'll look for them.
My son worked for him for awhile. Interesting fellow.
Nice history, thanks.
Thanks. The only reason I am interested in this question of Willett's whiskey is because of that Charlie Thomason article. It explained the numerous classic techniques utilised by that company (discussed on these boards in detail some time ago).
And therefore, if whiskey was still available today that had been made at Willett's, I'd like to get my hands on it.
When I said earlier that bottling from Willett's barrels of different ages might have been done at time of closure (some time between the mid-70's-early 80's, accounts differ) of course bottling might (and seems to have) continued for some some time afterwards, too. Say distillate was made in 1976. Well, it could have been bottled as late as 1991 at 15 years old and maybe later if some spirits distillation continued as late as the early 1980's. And we know distillate can be bottled at a stated age whereas in fact it can be older. I know some people said distillation ceased in the early 70's when the plant was converted to ethanol production. But again, even mid-70's production would have allowed whiskey to have been bottled into about the early 1990's using a (minimum) 15 year age statement. Younger ages would have had to be (in practice) bottled earlier but maybe they were and were retained in inventory for years after, then labelled and sold when the vendor wished or market permitted.
So maybe the current Johnny Drum 4, 12 and especially the 15 year old - and Noah's Mill - were made at Willet's. Sauceguide seems to say that they were but I am not sure it meant actually to say that.
Is Willett's whiskey today just a memory? I don't know..
Is Willett's whiskey today just a memory? I don't know..
Truthfully, I think it is most likely gone. I can see where they might have continued aging Bourbon in the warehouses after they converted to ethanol. Bottling it at maturity, for as long as it lasted.
When my son worked there, he swore the warehouses were empty. If I had to guess now, I'd say Mr. Kulsveen is using alot of Heaven Hill.
Just my opinion...
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