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Rughi
06-01-2005, 09:45
During the 1950s through '70s was Hill and Hill a National Distributors product? My guess has been that it came from the Old Grand-Dad distillery.

I'm trying to get an understanding of the "little brother" bottlings of the flagship bourbons Grand-Dad, Taylor, and Crow.

-Roger

TNbourbon
06-01-2005, 10:08
Here's a link to a Hill & Hill label (I don't know the 'vintage'):
http://homepage3.nifty.com/bourbon_com/e/gallery/HillAndHill.htm

and here is a listing of National Distillers brands/trademarks, which includes Hill & Hill at the very top:
http://www.bottlebooks.com/American%20Medicinal%20Spirits%20Company/national_distillers_products.htm

Gillman
06-01-2005, 11:01
I thought the name "Autumn Wind" was particularly evocative. We don't see names like that anymore.

Gary

cowdery
06-01-2005, 17:13
I was involved with Beam when they merged with National and I recall that Hill and Hill was still in the portfolio at that time. Beam sold some of the brands, the ones anyone whould buy, and simply discontinued a lot of them. National literally had dozens of regional and distributor brands.

Rughi
06-02-2005, 00:25
I found that Hill and Hill was a Louisville/Shively area distillery in an industrial area near Early Times, within sight of Seagram's, Yellowstone, and the "original" Bernheim plant, according to John and Linda Lipman's site:

http://www.ellenjaye.com/shively.htm#top


From here, Mike drives us to an industrial area where we turn down a short gravel access road to a parking area where we can see, all around us, no less than four plants that had once been well-known bourbon distilleries. Directly in front of us stands a group of buildings where people are going in and out to work. Whatever the buildings are being used for today, this was once the site of Hill and Hill, a well-known bourbon distillery that John remembers from as recently as maybe twenty-five years ago. Mike explains that they had both brick and iron-clad warehouses, and examples of both are still standing. The iron-clads are obviously abandoned, but the brick buildings appear to be in use.



I would guess that Hill and Hill remained at that plant as long as the name was in use, so it wouldn't be a "little brother" in the way that Sunny Brook was at the Old Crow/Grand-Dad distillery in the '60s to '80s.

-Roger

bourbonv
06-02-2005, 07:13
The Hill and Hill distillery is in Shively off Bernheim Lane right behind the old Seagram's distillery and just south of the original Bernheim Distillery. The distillery is being used now to make industrial alcohol by re-distilling alcohol from other distilleries. This includes bottles and barrels of bourbon from just about every distillery.

Mike Veach

Gillman
06-02-2005, 07:47
I am surprised redistilling still occurs in the sense of low-proof distillate being taken off-site to make rectified alcohol in another plant. This is an old practice going back to the mid-1800's but at the time, many distilleries did not have stills that could get proof over 160 or often less. The old three-chambered beer still was like that and so were many early column stills (not to mention the original pot stills). A rectification column was needed to make high proof spirit and not every plant had one. But today with so few distilleries existing and those being large operations, which does not have a still capable of distilling to 194 proof, i.e., if it was intended to operate it for that purpose? Don't all the distilleries make rectified alcohol anyway, e.g., Heaven Hill for vodka and various spirits requiring same? (Maybe Maker's Mark is an exception). Or can it be all distilleries can make spirit to any proof they want but it does not pay them to take up some of the low-proof (for bourbon) production time and thus they send it out for redistilling? I find this puzzling but no doubt there is an answer and Michael knows it!

Gary

bourbonv
06-02-2005, 14:33
Gary,
The answer is quite simple - this is not beverage alcohol that they make. The alcohol is used for everything from fuel additives to cosmetics, but not drinking.

Mike Veach

Ken Weber
07-05-2005, 11:31
Gary,
This is interesting and I need to ask around here to get more information. I know that we installed a "light whiskey still" 20 - 25 years ago. Light whiskey was really little more than extremely high proof whiskey (too high to be bourbon - max 160 proof - and too low to be vodka). The idea was to make an aged whiskey with a very slight whiskey taste (which was okay since people wanted to mix it with Coke or some other jiuce). Anyway, we produce Rain Vodka in our still for about 2 weeks out of the year.

Ken

TNbourbon
07-05-2005, 13:33
...Light whiskey was really little more than extremely high proof whiskey (too high to be bourbon - max 160 proof - and too low to be vodka). The idea was to make an aged whiskey with a very slight whiskey taste (which was okay since people wanted to mix it with Coke or some other jiuce)...
Ken


Now, I find THAT interesting. I've never seen a practical definition of 'light' whiskey before. I have a couple of 200ml bottles of Colonel Lee Light Whiskey (Barton) from the strip-seal era that I use in marinade, an occasional Manhattan, et al. I've seen it in just a handful of places.

bourbonv
07-05-2005, 14:29
Light whiskey was a product of the late 1970's that was a response to "Light Beer". It was spirit distilled at higher than 160 but less than 190 neutral spirits. The real winners in this were the blended whiskey people because they could make "Light Whiskey" at 189 proof ( 1 degree less than neutral spirits) to mix with their product and call it 100% whiskey.

Mike Veach

Gillman
07-05-2005, 18:49
It's in the regs Tim, they refer to light whiskey being between 160 and 190 proof.

Gary

boone
07-05-2005, 19:27
Hi Tim,

I looked up this post (http://www.straightbourbon.comhttp://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthreaded.php/Cat/0/Number/31835/page//vc/1) for ya http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

The date of the newsclip (The Kentucky Standard) July 1968...

Bettye Jo

TNbourbon
07-05-2005, 19:42
It's in the regs Tim, they refer to light whiskey being between 160 and 190 proof.
Gary



Aw, c'mon, Gary -- I would have had to open up another 'window' to look at the regs. I'm on vacation! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif



Hi Tim,
I looked up this post (http://www.straightbourbon.comhttp://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthreaded.php/Cat/0/Number/31835/page//vc/1) for ya http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
The date of the newsclip (The Kentucky Standard) July 1968...
Bettye Jo



Thanks, Bettye Jo -- is there anybody out there still making it? Or should I go back and snatch all those 'tradeable', now-rare Colonel Lee 200s http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif?

cowdery
07-06-2005, 01:11
Gather around, boys and girls, while I tell you about light whiskey. Hardly a man still alive, certainly few who still work in the industry, remembers it. It was even before my time.

"Light whiskey" was a reaction to softening bourbon sales and rising sales of blended scotch, Canadian whisky, vodka, rum, pilsner-style beer and anything else perceived as "lighter" tasting than bourbon. It was going to save the industry. The American distillers petitioned the feds to create a definition, which is still on the books. You can look it up.

In fact, it is right there in the regs when it became legal to make light whiskey: January 26, 1968.

What is (or, rather, was) it? Let's first review what straight whiskey (e.g., bourbon, rye) is. Straight whiskey must be distilled at no more than 160 proof and entered into a new, charred oak barrel at no more than 125 proof.

In contrast, light whiskey is distilled at more than 160 proof but less than 190 proof. Since the regs are silent about entry proof, it can be entered at distillation proof. It must be aged, but the regs are silent as to how long. It can be aged in either used or uncharred new oak containers.

The regs also created a category called Blended Light Whiskey, which was light whiskey mixed with a little straight whiskey.

One irony about light whiskey is that the name was intended to convey a lighter flavor, but with the same alcohol content and, hence, calorie content as straight whiskey. Right on the heels of light whiskey's introduction, some genius at Miller Brewing figured out that men would never buy something called "diet beer" but might buy a reduced calorie product called "light (lite) beer." Thereafter, "light/lite" would mean "less filling" (i.e., fewer calories), another psychological blow for "light whiskey," which could not claim "fewer calories," just "less taste."

But it wasn't Miller Lite that killed light whiskey. The category was basically stillborn. A lot of money was pissed away and it was something the old timers only talked about in hushed tones after a few drinks (which, at least among the old timers I knew in the liquor business, was just about any day after 5:00 PM).

So that is the saga of light whiskey. Hindsight being what it is, it's easy to see that with Canadian whiskey and vodka already in existence, there wasn't really a place for light whiskey. A lot of the stills are still around, mute rebukes in steel and copper. To their credit, Buffalo Trace figured out something (making Rain vodka) to do with theirs.

Mark Brown told me about when he pointed to the still and asked Elmer Lee what it was, and Elmer told him it was a still for making light whiskey. Mark said he detected a sneer when Elmer uttered the words.

mbanu
07-10-2005, 06:04
High distillation proof? High barreling proof? Used cooperage? Sounds like corn rum. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

Any bourbon makers still making light whiskey??

cowdery
07-11-2005, 18:28
Any bourbon makers still making light whiskey??



No.

kitzg
07-13-2005, 19:22
great info... and story about the evolution to rain. Likely because Jo is also a bourbon drinker she really likes rain vodka. The reason is that even after quadruple distillation "impurities" (the word vodka distillers use for anything that actually leads to flavor) come through with a little hint of corn.