View Full Version : Who's making Harper ?

08-10-2005, 05:46
The database lists UD as the distiller for I.W. Harper. Since I will be working to update the database, can anyone tell me who presently distills I W. Harper?
Joe http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

08-10-2005, 12:30
Diageo owns the I.W. Harper brand and Four Roses makes all of Diageo's bourbon. In fact, about half of the output of the Four Roses distillery goes to Diageo for its various bourbons and blends, which is inhibiting the ability of Four Roses to expand its own distribution.

08-10-2005, 18:47
about half

They will tell you, if you tour the Lotus facility that it is 52%. One would guess that that is cramping their style.

08-10-2005, 18:54
Evening Chuck,

Do you have any tasting notes comparing current production Harper with regular Four Roses?


08-10-2005, 20:31
This is very interesting...searching the ttbonline (government labeling requests) the last labeling request it lists for harper is 02269000000084, origin KY(which tells us nothing about who distills it) but the plant registry is DSP-VA-25 (which I think is Virginia Gentleman's?)
The approval date on this is 09/26/2002.
The previous 3 permits were registered to DSP-IN-26(Seagrams?) and before that(back to 1997) DSP-KY-24, (Bernheim?)

08-10-2005, 21:06
DSP-VA-25 is, indeed, Virginia's A. Smith Bowman (aka Virginia Gentleman). However, Bernheim is, and always has been, DSP-KY-1.
Someone with a handy copy of Sam Cecil's book will have to provide the provenance of the others.

08-11-2005, 01:34
...Grab Sam's book...search...search some more...
RD #24 ... Glenmore Distilling Co. According to the book Medley and Barton do bottling there.
Course no mention of an Indiana plant: the title does end with "in Kentucky"... so more scouring the net...
Turns out there is exactly one registered distillery in Indiana-Pernod-Ricard DBA Seagram Lawrenceburg Distillery
Okay so that takes care of the bottling, but who actually makes the stuff IN the bottle?
"24 February 1999 UDV sells six brands in North America United Distillers and Vintners (UDV), a subsidiary of Diageo plc, today announced that it will sell Christian Brothers Brandy and dessert wines, Arrow Cordials, and the Old Charter, W L Weller, Old Fitzgerald and Rebel Yell bourbon brands to Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc, Sazerac Co., Inc and David Sherman Corporation for US$171 million.

These transactions, which are subject to regulatory approval, include UDVīs Bernheim distillery located in Louisville, Kentucky and related inventory. The brands have annual volumes of 2.2 million 9-litre cases and US$75 million of sales. UDV will retain ownership of its premium Tennessee whiskey and Kentucky bourbon brands, including George Dickel and IW Harper and related stock ."-Diageo website(1999 article)
I haven't found an article saying they have sold those brands off, so while they may currently still be using the stock they kept from the '99 sale and having it bottled wherever they can, seems like they should still be listed as the makers. But then again I might have missed something.
On a side note(as if this wasn't long enough) if they were to take the word Kentucky off the label That Seagrams distillery they own makes 2 bourbons(source:The World Whiskey Guide, Jim Murray, 1997) one 35% rye 60% corn and one 75% corn 20% rye. The second is used for a straight whiskey called Sam Cougar Black (says availablity is Australia and New Zealand)
Also Bulliet Bourbon is listed as a Diageo Brand(2004 San Francisco spirits competition Gold)
Okay all this searching around has severely inhibited by inbibing ability...hard to drink and type...back to my Elmer T Lee http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

08-11-2005, 05:09
Diageo owns the I.W. Harper brand

I went on Diageo's site and they do NOT list I.W. Harper as one of their brands.

08-11-2005, 05:21
Diageo owns the I.W. Harper brand and Four Roses makes all of Diageo's bourbon.

A further search on the internet (German Site) lists Bernheim (Heaven Hill DSP-KY-1) as the distiller of I.W. Harper. I think I'm now terribly confused.
Joe http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

08-11-2005, 09:32
Diageo owns and sells many brands it doesn't list on its website. I.W. Harper is sold in only a couple of U.S. markets (hence I haven't had any recently). It is big in Japan primarily, though not as big as it was a few years ago.

Before Diageo sold all of its Kentucky facilities it was making Harper at Bernheim and bottling it at the old Glenmore plant in Owensboro. After that, it contracted with Bob Allison for bottling. Bob bought a bottling plant up in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. He had been Diageo's manager in Kentucky before the sell-off. Diageo has its own facility in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, the former Seagrams plant there, where it makes Seagrams Seven and other stuff. What I don't recall is if the relationship with Allison was prior or subsequent to the Seagrams acquisition. He also was bottling George Dickel for them there.

Four Roses makes ten different bourbon formulas, because they use two mash bills and five different yeasts. The current Harper production could be any one or a combination of those whiskeys.

Just to complete the story, Issac Wolfe Bernheim ("Issac Wolfe" = I. W.) originated the I. W. Harper brand. The distillery he operated with his brother was down in Shively, not at the current site called Bernheim. After he sold the company and retired, the owners closed that plant, bought the one in Louisville (the old Max Selliger place) and moved the Bernheim name there...so Bernheim never made whiskey at Bernheim, if that makes sense.

08-11-2005, 23:48
You are right, I think, about it not being as big here as it once was. I have been seeing it on sale for as little as 13-14 bucks. In the past I never saw it under $25 US. It is a fine bourbon and at current prices a very well priced one. I would buy some, but I am afraid that it would become an old dusty in my bunker since there are many bourbons I prefer. It is too soft and mild to my taste. I do buy the 200 ml bottles from time to time for the free 'flask' it comes in. I have been thinking about buying two or three of the 200s and vatting the contents with some WT rye to see if that spices it up. I will do an experimental vatting first in a glass before I try a larger scale vatting.

08-12-2005, 06:57
What age and what proof are you talking about?
Joe http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

08-13-2005, 05:18
Hi BourbonJoe,
The standard bottling. Gold Medal I.W. Harper Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Louisville. 80 proof no age statement. I figure it to be 4 years old. I have seen other I.W. Harpers notably a 12 year old, but they are rather pricy $50 or more depending on the store. I will get around to it someday.

08-13-2005, 05:28
The bottle of 80 that I have says it's 4 years old (look at the very bottom of the back label).
Joe http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

08-13-2005, 08:20
The back label on my bottle is in Japanese. No age statement. Age statements are usually on the front of the bottle, in English, if it is there at all. If it is 4 years old, and I am sure it is, my guess is that they would rather not say that it is that young.