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MarkB
05-02-2005, 15:04
Hello there, bourbon brethren. I noticed that Wathens is available again after a fairly long stretch where it was off the market. Anyone had a chance to try this new bottling, know anything about it? And most importantly... is it as good as the previous batch?

TNbourbon
05-02-2005, 17:28
I have seen two 2004 batches -- one at Christmastime dated July, and another en route to the Sampler dated October.
I have a couple of '97s on my shelf along with a 2003 (none currently open), and the latter is much darker -- which makes me wonder if each successive batch is older (anybody know whether Mr. Medley has put his stock in stainless, or is it still in barrels?).

bobbyc
05-02-2005, 19:01
(anybody know whether Mr. Medley has put his stock in stainless, or is it still in barrels?).



While we are asking questions, and possibly one who knows the answer to that one might know the answer to this, What happened to the 100 or so barrels of Mellow Mash that Buddy Thompson kept for himself as he disposed of Glenmore, that was about 20 years old a few years back?



and the latter is much darker --



I must get a bottle of that open and soon, Wathens as it was, was a favorite of mine and the possibility of more age, particuliarly if a subsequent improvement is involved, might make a fertile field of bourbon to be gleaned.........

Such colorful language, Damn, it won't get me BOTY........http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/banghead.gif wait a minute , I already was...... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

Rughi
06-04-2005, 00:02
Fresh New Wathen's,
dated 3-21-05 Barrel 228

This bottle has no age statement, but does read:

Wathen's
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Single Barrel
Eight Generations
250 Years

On the back:
Bottled by Charles Medley Distillery San Jose, CA
Distilled in Kentucky

Are the contents of this bottle in the line of earlier Wathen's discussed on the forum?

This is the first bottle of Wathen's I've seen, but earlier bottlings seemed to have a following.

-Roger

TNbourbon
06-04-2005, 07:48
Well, I've spotted some 2001 and 2002 bottlings around here recently -- I sense the germination of a Wathen's vertical-tasting seed taking root, which may ripen about Festival time. We'll see.

Hedmans Brorsa
06-04-2005, 09:24
Fresh New Wathen's,
dated 3-21-05 Barrel 228



Yep, and some of these managed to find their way over the Atlantic. One bottle (my first ever) is heading for this household and should be with me sometime next week.

This parcel also includes my first ever bottle of OF Birthday Bourbon. To say that Iīm excited would be an understatement. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif

Rughi
06-04-2005, 09:37
Are you proposing


rigorous testing and evaluation of at least one bottle by an esteemed panel in an appropriate multi-sided and covered exterior venue.


as Chuck put it?

Because that sounds like a good idea to me.

By the way, this bourbon is rich, thick, and smooth. Yowza it's good. I haven't had earlier bottlings of this brand, but I doubt what I got is a young source filling in for the product of a few years back about which I've been reading.

-Roger

dgonano
06-04-2005, 09:42
During the Sampler I purchased a bottle ( barrel 202; 10/06/04 ). Also have one from a few years ago ( barrel 108; 05/21/01 ). Both are very similar in color. Neither are opened but September is fast approaching.

TNbourbon
06-04-2005, 19:55
I currently have bottles from Barrel 10 (3/27/1997) -- this is the bottling the Regans use in "The Bourbon Companion" tasting -- and 146 (2/7/2003). The others I've seen around are from 140-ish barrels, too. So, we seems to have some gaps covered, and others to fill.

BourbonJoe
06-05-2005, 05:29
The new stuff is a 94 proof single barrel which is 10 years old. I never tasted the "old stuff", but in a recent tasting in our Bourbon Club, it blew the doors off of Thedford and Heaven Hill. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

TNbourbon
06-05-2005, 09:02
The new stuff is a 94 proof single barrel which is 10 years old...



Does the labeling now carry an age statement? None of the bottles I have or have seen do so.

Rughi
06-05-2005, 09:50
I can't find an age statement for my bottle, from barrel 228, bottled on 3-21-05.

-Roger

BourbonJoe
06-05-2005, 09:53
Tim,
There is no age statement on the bottle, but if you contact the distillery they will tell you that it is 10 years old.
Joe http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

TNbourbon
06-11-2005, 07:59
Well, a Joe suggested, I emailed the Medleys and asked about provenance and age. They did not divulge the age, but did dispel some suspicions that this is/was Yellowstone/Glenmore bourbon. Here is the entire text of the response:


"Tim -

Wathen's Kentucky Bourbon is not, nor has been, from Yellowstone/Glenmore distilleries. I do not know of any brand to direct you to if you are seeking product from that distillery.

Thanks.

SAM Medley
8th Generation Distiller
Wathen's Kentucky Bourbon"

Hedmans Brorsa
06-11-2005, 09:37
Wathen's Kentucky Bourbon is not, nor has been, from Yellowstone/Glenmore distilleries



Interesting. Somehow I regarded it as an established fact that at least the early bottlings was the real thing. What happened then, to the barrels that Charles Medley were supposed to have retained for himself?

Got my bottle earlier this week, by the way (older than I thought, 'handbottled 4-30-02). I have to say that it showed more than just a little resemblance to 10yo AAA. To pass a fair judgment I have to spend some more time with it, though.

bobbyc
06-11-2005, 12:43
So there's a chance it's been Heaven Hill bulk whiskey all along, talk about fact being potentially stranger than fiction!

I too had thought it may have been a bourbon that Charles had a hand in making as well.

Rughi
06-11-2005, 13:08
Bobby,
Do you say it may be Heaven Hill based on tasting, or solely on speculation?

My taste buds tell me anything BUT Heaven Hill, but YMMV.

Roger

robbyvirus
06-11-2005, 23:56
Bobby,

My taste buds tell me anything BUT Heaven Hill, but YMMV.

Roger



I agree with Roger...Wathen's tastes like no Heaven Hill bourbon I've ever had!

Rughi
06-20-2005, 07:12
After having no luck in getting an East Bay source for Wathen's (sources said they couldn't even get a response), I asked my dad to go back to the store in Napa where I got my first bottle to pick up a couple extra. When he went in and asked for it by name one store worker turned to another, said he'd never heard of it before, and asked if she had ever tried it.

"Ya, it's just another bottle," she replied.

I wholeheartedly disagree. It's great, great stuff. Just not much distribution - or any advertising.

By the way, the two new bottles were from barrels 224 and 228 (which my first bottle was), both bottled on 3-21-05.

Roger - Just another bottle, please - Hodges
-

BourbonJoe
06-20-2005, 08:03
Tim,
Just opened a bottle from barrel 205 (10/7/04) that I got at the House Of Bourbon (30 bucks)in Owensboro during a visit in April. The stuff is super. I wish I would have gotten more.
Joe http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

bluesbassdad
06-20-2005, 20:55
I may have seen several bottles of Wathen's on the shelf at Hi Time in Costa Mesa yesterday. (I was too busy cleaning out the Russell's Reserve to commit to memory all the others I passed up.) If you'd like to lay in a stash, I suggest you give them a call.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

monte
06-20-2005, 20:58
I may have seen several bottles of Wathen's on the shelf at Hi Time in Costa Mesa yesterday. (I was too busy cleaning out the Russell's Reserve to commit to memory all the others I passed up.)



What price did you get the WTRR for??


What a fine pour...

-monte-

P.S. to be on topic, I have not seen any new Wathens up here at all, including at places that have shelf markers for Wathens... so it goes!!

bluesbassdad
06-20-2005, 21:26
I left the sales slip at my son's house back in CA. (We made a combined purchase on a single credit card transaction.) I believe the shelf price was $26.99, but since I asked for a case, but they had only nine bottles, I was supposed to get the case discount. I can't verify whether I did.

I had already cleaned out BevMo in Torrance (a mere two bottles), but a very attentive clerk there told me they have another shipment coming in next week -- not that I care now or that it would do me any good, having returned to Arizona today. I can only guess whether it will be the old bottling or the new, low-proof bottling. Their price was $28.99.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

BobA
06-21-2005, 10:26
FYI, the AZ pricing looks like what I see in GA, although sometimes more; maybe gets as low as the CA price. All here that I've seen is still the real stuff.
Bob

bluesbassdad
06-21-2005, 11:59
Bob,

The prices I quoted are from CA, where I visited over Fathers Day, not AZ.

The lone bottle of Russell's Reserve that I have found in AZ (Prescott) had actually been marked down -- to $23.99, IIRC. It literally qualified for the "Dusty, Old Bottles" thread.

In general, prices in the Prescott area are 5-15% higher than at Hi Time in Costa Mesa, CA. Based on selected price checks by phone at Sportsman's in Phoenix, their prices are similar to local prices, certainly not enough of a savings to justify a two-hour drive each way.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

BobA
06-21-2005, 13:03
Yes, I now see that I misread your earlier post. It can be interesting to look at pricing in different states, or even among local stores, and satisfying to think we know where to shop for what. But if I really sit down and figure it out, I suspect I'd often find myself burning $2 in gas to save $1 on bourbon, or any other product I try to "maximize." I suspect that a knowledge of what is available where is probably the most that I can hope to hold in my head, and that seems to vary more than price. And, to return this thread to its roots, I believe I have only seen one bottle of Wathens, and was already maxed out that day.
Bob

BourbonJoe
07-20-2005, 09:44
Wathen's Kentucky Bourbon is not, nor has been, from Yellowstone/Glenmore distilleries. I do not know of any brand to direct you to if you are seeking product from that distillery.

Thanks.

SAM Medley
8th Generation Distiller
Wathen's Kentucky Bourbon"



This is all very interesting. Sam Medly is an 8th generation distiller but evidently has no distillery. Interesting. Wathens is also bottled in California. Interesting. Anybody know by whom??
Joe http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

Rughi
07-20-2005, 12:20
I believe Wathen's is now bottled by Frank-Lin of San Jose (bottlers for a supermarket near you!). Can't remember where I heard that.

Roger

BourbonJoe
09-02-2005, 10:29
I currently have bottles from Barrel 10 (3/27/1997) -- this is the bottling the Regans use in "The Bourbon Companion" tasting -- and 146 (2/7/2003). The others I've seen around are from 140-ish barrels, too. So, we seems to have some gaps covered, and others to fill.


I just picked up 6 bottles (special order from the PALCB). Most of the bottles were from Barrel 83, dated 8-17-99. These were bottled in St. Louis, not California.
Joe http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

Rughi
09-04-2005, 12:43
In a different thread, Bourbon Joe pondered:


I just got some Wathens SB from 1999. The case stated that they were made (bottled?) at DSP-MO-16. Does anyone know which distillery this is? Would this stuff be better than the new stuff out of California?



I don't believe the whiskey is different, but rather railed out to San Jose for bottling.

Following is a post from 1999 by John Lipman, which seems to have been contradicted by a communication between Charles (sorry, it was Sam) Medley and Tim TN earlier in this thread. His thoughts were similar to many others voiced on this forum:
"Wathen's Bourbon" thread 1999 (http://www.straightbourbon.comhttp://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/2951/page//fpart/2/vc/1)

Yes, he's the same Charles Wathen Medley who used to be the master distiller at Glenmore. According to what he told us, it's a classic case of follow-the-twisty-trail-of-who-owns-what in the bourbon business. National Distillers bought out Glenmore. Then Barton Brands bought the distillery property and the brands from National. But they didn't buy the existing stock. Well, National didn't want the existing stock, either, so Charlie bought it and moved it across town (Owensboro) to one of the warehouses at his family's old abandoned distillery. So now the Charles W. Medley Distilling Company, which doesn't actually do any distilling, and probably doesn't have the yeast or the rights to the formula either, owns a warehouse full of barrels of fine whiskey which Charles Medley actually made. Pretty cool, huh?

Up until last summer, Charlie, his son, and couple of other partners hand-bottled the product at the distillery on a tiny bottling line he had made up just for the purpose (the stainless steel holding tanks hold 58 gallons or about a single barrel's worth). We have a bottle from barrel number 4. But at the time we were there he was finalizing negotiations to have David Sherman take over distribution. As you probably know, the relationship with David Sherman goes back to the Glenmore days. Wathen's is really good bourbon. Charlie wouldn't tell me the age, but you figure, if it's been sitting in barrels since Charlie was making it for Glenmore....

. By the way, later in the thread he states he meant United, not National Distillers.

I can't locate the quote at the moment, but I'm pretty sure I've read a statement by Charles Medley that they went to Frank-Lin of San Jose because of difficulties in having the bottling done by David Sherman of St. Louis, Missouri (where your bottle seems to be from).

By the way, are you going to Bourbon Festival? Tim TN and I had both thought about bringing different bottlings of Wathens to compare in a vertical. Would you like to bring a bottle of yours and we could perhaps make this happen?

Roger

Edit: I just noticed it was actually Sam Medley, not Charles Medley who had the email exchange.

BourbonJoe
09-05-2005, 04:05
By the way, are you going to Bourbon Festival? Tim TN and I had both thought about bringing different bottlings of Wathens to compare in a vertical. Would you like to bring a bottle of yours and we could perhaps make this happen?

Roger



Sorry Roger, I cannot make the festival this year, but that would have been a great idea.
Joe http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

BourbonJoe
09-05-2005, 09:08
Roger,
Thanks for all that information. Would you or anyone else know which distillery is DSP-MO-16?
Joe http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

dgonano
09-05-2005, 17:08
Would you or anyone else know which distillery is DSP-MO-16?



David Nicholson Distillery Co

Rughi
09-05-2005, 20:35
To follow up, I just found the sources I had been trying to dredge up to explain the Sherman of St. Louis to Frank-Lin of San Jose move. This was in March of 2004

First was Julian Van Winkle:



Last I heard was that Charles was having a hard time finding someone to bottle his whiskey. It was in the past bottled by David Sherman in St. Louis.
Evan in Bardstown would be the only one left to bottle for him.
Julian



Second, Lenell added to the story:


Just got word back from Sam Wathen Medley. He says that earlier this year he switched to a new national distributor - Frank-Lin Company in San Jose, California. He reported that during the switch, the glass manufacturer in Europe was out of the bottles, leaving them to search for other bottles which are in transit to the US now. They should be bottling again soon. I'll let you know when I hear more.



This is all at the thread Wathen's Availability? (http://www.straightbourbon.comhttp://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/27558/page/fpart/fpart/1/vc/1)
Man, this Wathen's info is all over the place.

Roger - Just another bottle, please - Hodges

elkdoggydog
08-02-2006, 14:03
I just snagged a bottle of Wathen's, from barrel 215, bottled on 2-17-06 from Ledger's here in Berkeley, for 28 bucks. Judging by previous posts in this thread, I have absolutely no idea how old this whiskey is. I love the ETL-style bottle, though. Classy and functional. After reading this thread, I'm looking forward to tasting this one. Probably should study before I do that, though.

jburlowski
08-02-2006, 14:06
Wathens has been widely available around here for several years. Its a good pour.

BourbonJoe
08-02-2006, 17:46
I have absolutely no idea how old this whiskey is.

A long time ago I inquired to the people who bottle it. I was told 10 years old.
Joe :usflag:

elkdoggydog
08-02-2006, 17:56
10 would be just fine. My confusion stems from this barrel # falling between barrels which have been bottled a couple of years ago. Do they reset the barrel numbers every year, or did this one need a little more time in the barrel to be ready? Ultimately, good bourbon is good bourbon.

BourbonJoe
08-02-2006, 17:59
My confusion stems from this barrel # falling between barrels which have been bottled a couple of years ago. Do they reset the barrel numbers every year, or did this one need a little more time in the barrel to be ready?

Sorry Sam, can't help you there. Don't know.
Joe :usflag:

elkdoggydog
08-03-2006, 08:01
Thanks Joe- I learned a lot about this bourbon from the info you and a couple of others dug up a while back. I hadn't even heard of it when I bought it.

Nebraska
10-30-2006, 08:23
I really like Monday mornings, the beginning of the week. You never know where it's going to take you.

I had a very nice conversation with Charles, who also seemed pretty chipper for a Monday morning. All in all a half hour well spent, informative and just plain fun.

I did my usual whining that there's not enough bourbon in Nebraska (there isn't). He said he's meeting with marketing people next month, maybe there's light at the end of the tunnel for me?

I'm sure most of the history he shared with me is common place stuff for you guys, but it was new to me and hearing it from somebody that has lived it was a treat.

We talked about his bourbon (which I will add is a mighty fine pour). I have 2 bottles, one with bottling date of 1997 (st Louis), the other 2005 (San Jose). I learned more about barrel charing and moisture in wood than I knew before, which was cool. The 1997 bottle he said that he was pulling older barrels, tasting each one, but then decided to back off. Kind of let his taste buds do the talking instead of an age statement. I like that kind of thinking. As we both said, older isn't necessarily better, unless marketing guys somewhere in a cubicle say it is :grin:

He told me about his distilling and his column still, which again was a treat. He let me know that both of my bottles were from bourbon he had distilled and tasted. I have high hopes, it sounded like he's gearing up to start distilling again, he mentioned that currently he is not. Sounded like next year:woohoo: . He's a fun guy. He said not to expect Jack Daniel's levels of production, he said maybe 20,000 this first year and then up to 30,000 the following year. Sounds like a lot to me, but can you really ever have enough bourbon. Although it's less production than Jack Daniels, I'm betting the finished production is going to be a little tastier!

I believe he said out of the barrel it was 125 proof, does that sound right? It would be fun to experience it out of the barrel.

He said to give him a call again some time. I'll do worse than that, I'll have him share a pour with me and bend my ear with some stories again. Nice people like that don't come along often enough. Again what a great way to start the week.

Hedmans Brorsa
10-30-2006, 09:37
Nice post, Mark! I normally donīt fancy mondays but if they could be like this, I would be prepared to change my mind.

Anyways, I found it interesting that he mentioned that he distills himself. Did he, by any chance, mention where he distilled his stuff?

Earlier in this thread, we got the information that Wathenīs didnīt emanate from Yellowstone/Glenmore so where does it come from, then? :confused:

Nebraska
10-30-2006, 13:26
I thought to understand him that he would be and had been distilling at Owensborough, although currently he was not. He didn't say how long it had been since he'd been doing some distilling, but very definitely had said he's gearing up for the coming year.

He threw a mess of history, distillery names, stories and information at me. I got a little over whelmed about half way through the call at one point (information over load) and although I was taking some notes, I couldn't keep up!

He talked a fair amount about the early 50's, specifically 1950 and 1951 and the circumstances leading to a bourbon glut around 1958 and the changes in the law at that time. I'm only touching on all of this, like I said some of it I absorbed, a little got written down and some I tried to just take in and enjoy, but for me it was a lot of information in a little amount of time.

cowdery
10-30-2006, 21:14
Charles Medley's distillery in Owensboro has been silent since the early, maybe mid-90s. He bought it back from Guinness for the purpose of making whiskey there again. It would be a wonderful thing if he did since he, you know, actually knows how.

barturtle
10-31-2006, 04:00
Charles Medley's distillery in Owensboro has been silent since the early, maybe mid-90s. He bought it back from Guinness for the purpose of making whiskey there again. It would be a wonderful thing if he did since he, you know, actually knows how.

It would be very good to see his knowledge passed on (in a hands on way, so it's not just "book knowledge"), as any knowledge not passed on is lost

bucky1
10-31-2006, 18:28
Charles Medley's distillery in Owensboro has been silent since the early, maybe mid-90s. He bought it back from Guinness for the purpose of making whiskey there again. It would be a wonderful thing if he did since he, you know, actually knows how. Chuck,
Are you saying that some others in the business don't really know how to make whiskey?
Jon

Nebraska
10-31-2006, 18:39
I sensed a couple of things in our conversation. He struck me like a Bill Friel kind of guy, but trying to do it independently. Making it seemed like a passion, dealing with the here after (marketing) seeming like a pain.

I found it interesting that the bottles seemed to bother him as well. The supplier and design although close were not acceptable from what I could tell.

I definately got from him a man making great bourbon and just wanting to get it out there.

cowdery
10-31-2006, 20:03
Chuck,
Are you saying that some others in the business don't really know how to make whiskey?
Jon

I don't mean to disparage any current distillers, all of whom I believe to be well qualified. I meant the people who aim to start distilleries or reopen silent distilleries. Among those people, Charlie is one of the few who actually has the requisite knowledge and experience.

It would be great if somebody who has that itch, and the means to scratch it, would look into financing Charlie, since I suspect that's what's stopping him.

Nebraska
10-31-2006, 20:13
The nail has been hit on the head...thanks Chuck.

Murman
12-21-2006, 18:41
Wathen's
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Single Barrel
Eight Generations
250 Years

On the neck:
Barrel Number 282
Hand Bottled 9-29-06

On the back:
Bottled by Charles Medley Distillery San Jose, CA
Distilled in Kentucky

This is my first purchase of Wathen's after a taste during a visit to a family members house in Louisville. Turns out my aunt worked for Wathens in Louisville as a book keeper during the late 30s-early 40s. She told me that barrels of Bourbon were brought to Louisville from Owensboro, for storage. She also made mention that the Wathens bought a bowling alley on 3rd street and Eastern Parkway, where she was later transferred. I grew up 26 miles from Owensboro, in Hartford, KY and left in 1981 for the Navy. My daughter married a boy from Hartford and currently lives there. I know a gentleman in Hartford that worked for Barton many years ago.

I think I will enjoy this site.

TNbourbon
12-21-2006, 18:50
Welcome.
Interesting that Wathen's has a 'late' batch/barrel # again. I saw some in Chicago last spring that were Barrel #1 or #2, which I assume were the first batches after the Medleys relocated their bottling to California. Must have figured out that some of us were differentiating the whiskey that way, so went back to the old sequence. Of course, you can still differentiate it by bottling location -- first Owensboro (Medley), then St. Louis (David Sherman), now San Jose. Many won't, though, of course.

dougdog
12-26-2006, 18:47
Welcome.
Interesting that Wathen's has a 'late' batch/barrel # again. I saw some in Chicago last spring that were Barrel #1 or #2, which I assume were the first batches after the Medleys relocated their bottling to California. Must have figured out that some of us were differentiating the whiskey that way, so went back to the old sequence. Of course, you can still differentiate it by bottling location -- first Owensboro (Medley), then St. Louis (David Sherman), now San Jose. Many won't, though, of course.

Sounds like something bottled by Frank-Lin......they are a big bottling hall in the north end of downtown San Jose...I need to visit there someday soon, but I understand they do mostly bulk work there. I think they bottle all kinds of spirits, not just bourbon...

I found this on the website for Frank-lin...

History
Frank-Lin Distillers Products Ltd. is a distilled liquor products specialist providing a full range of import, export, wholesale distribution, large-scale bottling of favorite spirit brands, and packaging services to a wide variety of clients.

Since its founding in 1933, Frank-lin takes great pride in providing their customers with quality products at competitive market prices.


[Source: FourSoft.com web site, 2002]
So it didn't take the valley any time at all to get back into the swing of things once Prohibition ended in 1933. The Cribari family of winemaking fame started up a liquor distribution business that eventually grew into Frank-Lin Distillers Products, a sizable bottling and distribution operation run by the Maestri family. One of Frank-Lin's most notable products is San Francisco's Skyy Vodka, whose trademark deep blue bottle is without question one of the coolest alcohol delivery systems around.


[Source: Metro, June 12, 1997]

crwathen
07-14-2007, 22:01
Can anyone help me locate a bottle of this in oregon? My last name is Wathen and I would love to give this as gifts to my family.
crwathen@yahoo.com