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wadewood
06-03-2004, 13:52
I was browsing this website; Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. (http://www.kentuckybourbonwhiskey.com/welcome.htm). This is the company owned by Evan Kulsveen. It has been discussed here before that all that goes on is bottling at this site. We also wondered where he gets his bulk whiskey.

On the Distillation tab of website, it states the bourbon is from a pot still. Is this just marketing? or does he get his whiskey from someone who still uses a potstill?

Paradox
06-03-2004, 13:58
I'm drawing a blank but it does say that it is first distilled as most distilleries do in a column still and then redistilled in pot stills... So it's not like their first run distillate is from a pot still. I'm certain Chuck and others will have better info. Great website though, I never have seen it before. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

Gillman
06-03-2004, 14:30
Thanks for finding this, very interesting! It sounds like all this whiskey is made on-site, is that possible? E.g., the description of their still system, I can't see any reference to contracting production elsewhere. So many brands, but I can't recall seeing many of them on the shelves during my recent Sampler trip, Rowan Creek was there, maybe one or two others. Sounds like a concerted effort is being made to put many (all?) of these brands on the domestic market. Nice site with interesting information on Willett family history. By the way the Vintage Selection (bottles dated from '76 - '83) surely must have been made by the original Willett's because the site says the distillery (until the current generation took over) operated until the mid-80's.

Gary

Paradox
06-03-2004, 14:35
The vintage series may only be available for export. At least that's the only place I have seen it available, overseas. Old Bardstown I remember seeing at Toddy's, actually, I think I bought a bottle of it there but that was back in 2002. Johnny Drum 15yo I have only seen available on internetwines.com, I know it has been around for a while now. The Rowans Creek and the other 3 in the SB Botique Collection are pretty readily found, especially at liquor barns there in KY.

If anyone has ever seen the Vintage series here in the US, mainly the 1976, please let us know. I would love to have a bottle of that year for particular reasons...

dgonano
06-03-2004, 14:40
Many thought that Heaven Hill supplied the whiskey. However the site shows a fermentation process. Is it possible that they contract the first distillation thereby avoiding the mashing,etc.
The second distillation could be done on premises.

tlsmothers
06-03-2004, 15:12
I emailed the contact on the site inquiring about NY distribution possibilities for the other whiskeys outside the Small Batch Boutique collection which are already here. I'll keep you posted on any response I get. You are prolly right, though, in that the Vintage series is for export only. Just our luck, right?

cowdery
06-03-2004, 18:46
Good for them, all power to them, and I'm glad they did this (put up a web site), but there is nothing here (altough careful reading is required) to indicate anything has changed. KBD is still a bottler and marketer operating at the site of a defunct distillery.

In their distillation section, just substitute "Heaven Hill" (or anyone else who may be selling bulk whiskey to them) for "our" and everything is true, to the extent that Heaven Hill hangs a KBD dba on the wall when they are making whiskey for Even, the "our" is true too. In fact, everything they say is true. I'm not disputing anything, but if they were making any whiskey up there on Willett Hill, I'm sure one of our local spies (you know who you are) would have told us about it.

That Vintage Collection is very interesting. You would think it must be Willett whiskey. They did distill into the 80s, although there were some years in there when they were making GNS, not whiskey.

Gillman
06-03-2004, 18:53
But what about the special "bourbon" continuous still they refer to; can it be loaned by Heaven Hill yet different from HH's standard equipment? Is it not possible Mr. Kulsveen has been distilling on the former Willett's site, or at least doubling the whiskey the way Dave has suggested?

Gary

bobbyc
06-03-2004, 20:52
I'm sure one of our local spies (you know who you are) would have told us about it.




On the day last November Greg Kitzmiller and I stood in Heaven Hills parking lot after we looked at the new visitor center site and I pointed out the warehouses on Willetts hill and talked a bit about it. No smoke coming from there that day. BrendaJ 's son worked there for a time so she would know the most, Of course BettyeJo would see the site almost daily as well. Who has a pot still? Wth all the vodka being distilled in those maybe someone does a run now and then.
At any rate it's as Chuck says. They are distilling more on the Website than on the Hill in Bardstown.

cowdery
06-04-2004, 08:25
Here is what they actually say:



The first distilling is achieved by the use of a custom designed column still, made especially for the distilling of Bourbon.



The still at Heaven Hill Bernheim is a "custom designed column still, made especially for the distilling of Bourbon." So is the still at Jim Beam Clermont, the still at Jim Beam Boston, the still at Barton, the still at Maker's Mark, the still at Wild Turkey ... you get the picture.

wadewood
06-04-2004, 08:49
I'm more interested in the 2nd distillation that uses a pot still. I was hoping somebody knew what other major distillers use pot stills on their 2nd distillation or if this is common. The full paragraph reads:

[QUOTE]
The first distilling is achieved by the use of a custom designed column still, made especially for the distilling of Bourbon. Thereafter, we distill our Bourbon a second time. This time, in we use a pot still, also custom made for our product, with the design based on the Alembic, original still design. Incorporated into the design of our custom made pot-still is a special film-tray section added into the top section of the still.

cowdery
06-04-2004, 09:43
Who uses a pot still for their second distillation? Everybody. They call it a doubler (direct heat source) or a thumper (steam) but either way it is an alembic-type still. They don't look like the ones in Scotland (or at Woodford Reserve) but they are, in actual fact, pot stills.

doubleblank
06-04-2004, 09:44
Wade....Using a pot still for the second distillation is very common. There are some informative discussions on distillation elsewhere on this board that explain it in detail.

Randy

boone
06-04-2004, 09:56
Hmmmmmm...thanks Chuck for "Reading in between the lines"...

I look over at the old Willetts place daily...No smell of distilling going on there...Geezzzzzzzzzz...By the picture that's on that web page it looks to be a nice looking place when actually it's really dumpy looking, run down, almost looks abandoned...

They bottle in there.

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

Gillman
06-04-2004, 10:29
Yes but the drawing on the site shows a separate, free standing alembic still such as is used in Scotland (spirit still). I thought that thumper and other typical bourbon industry doubling equipment was different, operating on a pot still-like basis but attached to the columnar apparatus to receive the spirit but not something where you loaded the column distillate, batch-style, into a separate piece of equipment that looks a lot like a Scots spirit still.

Gary

cowdery
06-04-2004, 10:54
The illustration is indeed of a scottish-type alembic and, therefore, somewhat misleading. It was probably pulled out of a book without a lot of thought. A doubler/thumper is classified as a pot or alembic still, but it doesn't look like the one in the picture. If one interprets that picture as a drawing of "their" still, then it is misleading, because I guarantee "their" still does not look like that.

cowdery
06-04-2004, 10:57
The picture is taken from just far enough away that you can't see how old the cars are. My guess would be that the picture was taken when the place was brand new, in the 1930s or thereabouts. Maybe as late as the 1950s.

dgonano
06-04-2004, 15:32
Well, maybe not the 30's but 50's or 60's perhaps. Funny how the site says the family has put a lot of time into restoring the facilities. When finished ? it will look like it did in 1800's.

Regarding the stills, if they were on site , KBD most likely would have
displayed a photo image as opposed to a chemistry book drawing.

One last thought... is their whiskey made according to their specifications or do they just pick barrels that have certain characteristics and age the whiskey?

cowdery
06-04-2004, 18:23
...is their whiskey made according to their specifications...

Probably not.

... or do they just pick barrels that have certain characteristics ...

They probably do that, yes.

... and age the whiskey?

I don't believe they do any aging on site. They simply buy whiskey of the age they want. Part of the reason for this is that aging whiskey yourself ties up capital and incurs a state tax liability. If there is any whiskey in the remaining rackhouses there it belongs to someone else and KBD is merely leasing them the space. If they would subsequently happen to buy some barrels that are already on their premises, it would be a coincidence.

bobbyc
06-04-2004, 18:33
If there is any whiskey in the remaining rackhouses



Also the issue of the odd sized barrels.

brendaj
06-04-2004, 22:39
Yepper Bobby,


They are distilling more on the Website than on the Hill in Bardstown.


My Son said there wasn't any Bourbon aging in any of the warehouses he was in (and I think he said he had been in all of them). And definitely no distilling.
I think they had some plans for a Visitor Center when I shot those photos a couple of years ago. They even had some lumber delivered. But it looks like HH beat 'em to the punch.
Bj

boone
06-05-2004, 00:05
Also the issue of the odd sized barrels.



Yeah...the guys in the dump room described them to me. Short, fat and really round...They called em' "hog head" barrels http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif...

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

jbutler
06-05-2004, 14:17
Chuck,

An enhancement of one area of the photo shows what is clearly a mid-seventies Chevrolet stepside pickup. Most of the other vehicles appear to be 60's or early 70's.

bobbyc
06-05-2004, 14:50
Short, fat and really round...They called em' "hog head" barrels



As I understand it, there would have to be a lot of carpenter work done for a 52 gallon standard size barrel to fit in Willetts warehouses. In fact it may not be possible then depending on if enough clearance could be found for the longer barrels.

cowdery
06-06-2004, 17:27
Nice work, chief. Between our local humint assets and your technology, KBD won't put anything past us.

After I wrote my post above, it occurred to me that what were obviously light colored cars meant it was probably the fifties at the earliest. Thanks for nailing it down.

cowdery
06-06-2004, 17:28
Which explains why they are the only barrelhouses in Kentucky that are standing empty.

boone
06-06-2004, 17:40
Between our local humint assets and your technology, KBD won't put anything past us.




Ahemmmmm...Let me clear my throat abit...Ahemmmmmm....

<font color="blue"> (jobettye holler's out the front door) </font>

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smilielol.gif <font color="red"> "NEXT" </font> http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smilielol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

brendaj
06-07-2004, 09:17
Jim,
Pretty cool! Ya'll crack me up.



clearly a mid-seventies Chevrolet stepside pickup. Most of the other vehicles appear to be 60's or early 70's.


Thing is, you gotta remember ... this is Kentucky Honey. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
That shot could have been taken yesterday. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smilielol.gif

Seriously, we do tend to drive the very last ounce of life out of a pickup truck. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
Bj

jbutler
06-07-2004, 09:20
That shot could have been taken yesterday.



That part I'm real clear on Brenda http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

My point is only that the picture can't be older than say, 1973.

boone
06-07-2004, 12:46
I asked some friends questions about this place and the folks who run it. Even (pronounced Evan), is orignianly from Norway. He married Martha Willett, the oldest child of this distilling family. Martha works with Evan at the site.

Her father retired around 1980.

I could not get a exact year when those two entered this venture. I know it was more than 12 years ago. I know a girl, that worked for them, helping to bottle product. They did tell me that "On the inside, there has been great improvements" on the small bottling line, (back then)...

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

TNbourbon
06-07-2004, 13:51
Here are couple of links with references to Even Kulsveen (Norway, maybe, and not Scotland?) -- one starring our own Brendaj:
Ellenjaye On the KBD Trail (http://www.ellenjaye.com/kybourbondist.htm)

Known even in the UK (http://www.bbr.com/GB/db/producer/276?first_product_F=1&amp;ID=null)

The KY Secretary of State lists KBD's registration in 1990, and Martha Willetts Kulsveen as the sole officer. Interesting to note that office lists Kulsveen/KBD as the name-holder for Michter's. Didn't know that!:
Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. SOS registration page (http://www.sos.state.ky.us/obdb/(scchpb45qkqd0pqxghjrwnek)/showentity.aspx?id=0268348&amp;ct=09&amp;cs=99999)

cowdery
06-07-2004, 18:12
They were well underway when I met them in 1991-92. They were still bottling Willett whiskey then and only for export, mostly to Japan. Decanters and other fancy packages were a big part of their business.

I seem to recall him saying (and his accent bore it out) that he was from Norway.

bobbyc
06-07-2004, 21:31
My point is only that the picture can't be older than say, 1973.




If I may, the model year changes in September so we could be back to September of 1972 with that truck, unless it was a prototype............ http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif Where better to test them? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smilielol.gif

cowdery
06-08-2004, 06:44
Since Willett may have been making alcohol for fuel at that point, maybe they were all prototypes. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smilielol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smilielol.gif

brendaj
06-08-2004, 09:56
Hey Bobby,
This is too funny... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif


unless it was a prototype............ Where better to test them?



Actually, the guy I was dating (30 yr. Ford employee) is on some sort of 'new model team'. He was working on the 2006/2007's, and said they used to get to drive them home (only management is doing it now). He said they would put a big 'bra' on it, so you couldn't see the front... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

brendaj
06-08-2004, 10:25
Tim,


one starring our own Brendaj


The color of my nose makes one think that I'm running in from the bottling house, after too much sampling http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/skep.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
That was a fun little adventure... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
This trip took place after I went 'up the hill' alone one day taking pictures. I wandered into what I now know to be the bottling area. I yelled, but no one around. Yelled some more...no one. So I wandered into the next area, and there sat cases of Sam Houston...a large door and a fork truck with the keys in it... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/skep.gif whoo, that was a hard one http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
I had a page running a couple of years ago, I'll try and dig it up.
Bj

Hedmans Brorsa
06-14-2004, 08:24
I have a bottle of "Vintage bourbon 1976" at home. It was ordered from The Whisky Exchange just outside of London, U.K. (www.thewhiskyexchange.com). On their home page they claim that they ship to the U.S. I know zilch about customs regulations to the state of New York but it should be noted that my home country, Sweden, has a reputation for zealous customs officials and I´ve never encountered any problems. They usually write something like "Collector´s items" on that green declaration sticker.

As for the contents of the bottle originating from the Willett distillery, I really couldn´t say as I have nothing to compare it to. There seems to be a reasonable amount of old HH whiskey around so I see no reason why these bottlings could hail from them as well as (I guess) most of their other brands.

The best do to would probably be to taste it side by side with the 23 year-old EW. I am not too keen on older bourbons so that comparison will probably not be made by me. I only invested in VB -76 because Jim Murray described it as an unusually lively bourbon for its age.

As for the whiskey itself : I´ve only had two tastings but it is an extremely fruity bourbon. The nose, though, is almost stone dead - not surprisingly, considering its age.

Paradox
06-14-2004, 09:14
Yeah, I've seen it there and heard of that place but their prices are unfortunately very high and the shipping to the US is VERY high... Even getting a case of 12 bottles to save on shipping, it still comes out to more than $16 per bottle. Maybe someday I'll breakdown... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

drew_kulsveen
07-02-2004, 16:42
To clarify the things that have been posted about our company, I will tell you everything. I am Even's son Drew. I designed the website, very basic indeed but it serves the purpose. We are going through major rennovations at our plant. We have completely gutted our distillery and will be producing again later this fall. As for the pot distillation process, everyone uses one. But our pot still has a specially designed Corcorhan film tray section that purifies it even more. As for our current stock, we are having it made under contract using our formulas that have been dating back to the Willett days. We are having a new copper pot still that is being made at the moment and will be delivered to us toward the end of this month. This will be independent from our standard distillation process. As for production we will begin producing sometime in Sept./Nov. We plan to mash about 200 Bushels a day. If anyone has any questions feel free to send me an email or a private message. Oh, and as for the picture, it's all I had. We are going to reshoot another picture upon completion. And for those of you that mentioned HH, they used to bottle our Old Bardstown for KY, but we bottle it now. And one more thing, our warehouses are not empty which many of you may have believed.

Paradox
07-02-2004, 16:47
First of all, welcome to the site Drew. It is great to have someone else from the industry come aboard. I'm sure in the coming days you'll have a slew of questions asked of you! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif I can't wait to see the possible new products that await us once the new still is completed...

Thanks for the information and again welcome to StraightBourbon! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

bobbyc
07-02-2004, 19:24
Thanks for joining us Drew. That the Willetts mashbill is in production and that soon the smell of Sour Mash will be in the air is fantastic news. Do standard size barrels fit your warehouse or do you have a custom size made?
Again, Welcome!

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

TNbourbon
07-02-2004, 19:48
Drew,
I certainly don't have the long-standing SB.com credentials as either Mark or Bobby, but let me too add a warm welcome. As you look around this forum, you'll see that we are interested in all things bourbon, and that includes Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. Thus, in the absence of facts or knowledge, we speculate on the basis of the (considerable) facts and knowledge of other members of these boards. But, we'd rather have 'straight-from-the-horse's-mouth' facts. Our interest in your company has long been, and will continue to be, keen. Please continue to pepper us with facts (and many thanks for those already offered). You're with 'kin'-folk here.

drew_kulsveen
07-03-2004, 06:22
We have always used the standard 53 WG barrels. We do have mini barrels but they are not used for aging. We ship the mini barrels to Japan for bar displays and these barrels carry Willett Bourbon.

Paradox
07-03-2004, 06:28
We do have mini barrels but they are not used for aging. We ship the mini barrels to Japan for bar displays and these barrels carry Willett Bourbon.



How much to get one shipped to someone in SI, NY? Oh wait, I will be in KY this September... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

Seriously though, my friend has one of those mini barrels actually and it is a very nice addition to a collection. It's not one from you guys, but rather an empty he got during the festival some years back. The inside is still charred though... I keep telling him we need to age some stuff in there! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

cowdery
07-05-2004, 19:04
Thanks for the information and may God bless your noble endeavor.

brendaj
07-07-2004, 12:31
Hi Drew,
First, let me say welcome, welcome! We have pondered the happenings on your hill for several years... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif


And one more thing, our warehouses are not empty which many of you may have believed.

I'm sorry, that misinformation came from me (well, actually my son, he worked there several years ago.) I apologize.

I'm tickled to hear about the renovation of the distillery. Do you think there's a chance I could stop by, maybe shoot a photo or two for the folks here to see the progress?
Again, welcome to forum,
Bj

boone
07-07-2004, 13:39
And for those of you that mentioned HH, they used to bottle our Old Bardstown for KY, but we bottle it now.




Hmmmmmm...a little clarification here. You specifically quote, they used to bottle "OUR" Old Bardstown. With that statement, you leave the impression that the bourbon inside the bottle was Willett bourbon?

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

drew_kulsveen
07-11-2004, 12:14
What I meant by "our" Old Bardstown was that we own the rights to the brand, and Heaven Hill bottled it for us in KY because of a contract that we made with KY Wine &amp; Spirits, which at the time my great uncle own who sold it to Vertner-Smith. And now the contract is void, so we will be bottling Old Bardstown for KY and the rest of the world.

drew_kulsveen
07-17-2004, 19:56
Bettye Jo... My mother Martha is the second oldest. My aunt Mary is the oldest in the family. FYI