View Full Version : Berghoff Bourbon
A friend from Chicago thoughtfully brought me a bottle of bourbon from the Berghoff restaurant as a Christmas present. It was the 14 YO expression and was, to put it mildly, damned good. When I went to take a look at the label to see whose bourbon it was, it listed Lawrenceburg as its origin. My guess, naturally, was that it was either Wild Turkey or Four Roses, but neither are known to sell their stock for private bottling. Never having had Four Roses I couldn't match it tastewise, but I know from tasting that it sure isn't Wild Turkey. So, the obvious question is: Whose bourbon is this? I'm especially keen to know since we're having a small bourbon education gathering soon and we're aiming to have at least one, and hopefully two, bottlings from each distillery. If this is Four Roses stock I can cross them off the list and not have to go searching for a contact in KY/IN to ship Four Roses to me out here in Oregon where we don't even get Wathen's or Barton whiskey. Any ideas?
You are correct that neither Wild Turkey nor Four Roses does contract bottling. The other company in Lawrenceburg that bottles bourbon, although it does not distill, is Commonwealth aka Hoffman, which is Mr. Van Winkle's operation. The gentleman is a visitor to these boards, so perhaps he will comment.
So far as getting some Four Roses for your party, a friend in Kentucky is probably your best bet.
Getting Barton whiskey is no problem. Presumably your local retailers carry Hiram Walker's Ten High, which has been made by Barton for more than a decade and which actually is owned by Barton, and not Hiram Walker, despite the name.
I knew there was a bottler in L-burg, but couldn't remember who it was. Van Winkle makes sense (as long as he's dropping product off at Sam's and the Twisted Spoke, what's one more stop on the route?), although there was much more oak on this 14 YO than the 15 YO Old Rip and it was heavier on the dried fruit tones than my VWs. I'm having another bottle of the 14 and a bottle of the 10 sent out here anyhow, and I imagine a taste of the 10 YO would give away the culprit.
Finding out who distills the Berghoff is, I have a feeling, going to be a cakewalk compared to finding a contact in Kentucky willing to ship Four Roses out here. Using Ten High as our Barton whiskey crossed my mind, but the main function of our get-together is to educate some acquaintances of ours not yet knowledgeable about bourbon, and I want to start off with something a little, uh, more representative of the Barton distillery; say the Very Old Barton 6 YO 80 proof, which - how should I say this - is more likely to please a wider variety of people.
Based on your posting over at ads-w, I visited the Berghoff cafe last week and they are indeed licensed for off-premises sales. Their website lists the following as their house bourbon line of whiskeys: 10yr 90 proof ($16); 10yr 107 proof($19); 10yr 120 proof ($24); and, the 14yr 90 proof ($22) you acquired. When I was there last week, the prices had gone up, and there was no more 10yr 120 proof. I got the 10yr 107 proof, which I will compare to the Sam's "Old Commonwealth" 10yr 107 proof and I think I'll find that they are the same whiskeys (from JVW).
I do have a question for the semanticists out there though. Any idea what this means (that I've quoted from the label)? "... preeminent old line, sour mash Kentucky bourbon." It's the "old line" tag that I'm not clear on. Is this just a marketing blurb, or does it have some specific meaning in the production of bourbon?
That's odd. I couldn't find any info on the Berghoff website other than they had 10 YO and 14 YO expressions, and now I see this. Don't know where I was looking, but the presence of a 10 YO 107 proof fairly screams Julian's name. That 10 YO 120 proof sounds intriguing to say the least. I may have to have them e-mail me when they get more in, as I'll definitely want to get my hands on some. For now I'll assume this is Van Winkle 14 YO, and while a good curiosity, there's not much room for it among the 25+ other bourbons we aim to get through that night. Back to looking for Four Roses.
the good news is that anyone who can get you Four Roses will have access to VOB as well. You might try calling Liquor Outlet in Louisville. They're the giant retailer locally. If anyone is willing to ship it would be them.
Nope, "old line" doesn't mean anything.
Here's the deal on Berghoff.
My family used to bottle Berghoff's private label when we had Old Fitzgerald, Stitzel-Weller Distillery. Berghoff had two or three packages. When we sold the Old Fitz plant, the new owners, Norton Simon,(Somerset), continued bottling for Berghoff. In 1992, they decided that the Berghoff business was too small for them to fool with. I found this out and called Herman Berghoff to ask him if he wanted to continue his label. It was a nice piece of business for a small guy like me. He was quite happy to know that the label would continue.
I have indeed bottled Berghoff 10-year, 90 and 107 proof, 10-year 120 proof, and last year, 14-year, 90 proof. The 120 proof was an experiment by Her
Try this URL: http://www.berghoff.com/mondiner.html The bourbons are located on the back of the menu.
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