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**DONOTDELETE**
04-29-2001, 07:01
Yes this is Mike even though it is John's computer. I have been in Cincy all weekend doing research at the library. While looking at city directories (the earliest version of telephone books without the telephone numbers) I found a very interesting advertisment from 1858. John is going to help me attach this document so you can examine it for yourselves.

This advertisement is interesting on many levels. First they talk about "old Bourbon" (refer back to past postings on age and bourbon). Next the distillery is also a mill and at last notice the remarks on the whiskey being "Undrugged" and the "Distilled solely in copper, free from steam, and rectified by fire".

Examine this and give me some comments.
Mike Veach

=John=
http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

jbutler
04-29-2001, 09:44
Mike,
The "undrugged" statement is interesting, and probably put in the copy to distinguish their product from the various opiate laden snake oil elixirs of the day.
The History Channel has recently been running an excellent miniseries called "Illegal drugs and how they got that way". It was amazing to see how many over-the-counter preparations contained opiates in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Cheers,

Jim Butler
Straightbourbon.com

lexkraai
04-30-2001, 07:19
Hi Mike

What's also interesting (to me at least) is the mention of pure malt whisky. Today's handful of American single malt whiskies obviously aren't something 'new'!

Cheers, Lex

**DONOTDELETE**
05-01-2001, 16:53
Lex,
There are many "Malt Whiskies" to be found in the 19th century. American Malts are not anything new and I suspect that they will die for the same reasons their ancestors did - unable to compete with rye and bourbon.
Mike Veach

**DONOTDELETE**
05-01-2001, 16:57
Jim,
John and I also saw an advertisement for "Coca Whiskey" that even used the same style of letters as Coca-Cola except this ad predated Coca-Cola (I think it was 1883 but it may have been 1879. John is the one who found it so he may remember.) This shows that they were putting cocaine in whiskey in the late 19th century.
Mike Veach

jbutler
05-01-2001, 17:15
Mike,
Apparently when morphine use became socially and politically unacceptable, these same snake oil companies started to replace morphine with cocaine in their preparations; ostensibly to get people off the junk. Needless to say, that trick didnt work.


Cheers,

Jim Butler
Straightbourbon.com

cowdery
05-01-2001, 18:13
It's interesting that they identify themselves as "distillers" and "rectifiers." In that period, one distinction between "distiller" and "rectifier" is that most whiskey distillers were still using pot stills, while rectifiers used column stills. It may be that they sold a combination of products they made and products they bought from others and sold as is or "improved." Their use of "as made in Bourbon County, Kentucky" may be their way of saying it's like Kentucky bourbon, but made in Cincinnati, or it may not be that coy. The mention of malt products makes me think they might also have been a malter. Having just returned from Holland, I also find it interesting that they describe Holland Gin as being made from malted wheat. I have never really heard that before, but don't profess to be expert on the subject. (Well, I kind of claimed to be in that bar in Amsterdam on Saturday night.)

I also note the name of John Ford. The 1896 Nelson Country Record Illustrated Historical Supplement mentions the long history of Fords in the Nelson County distilling business.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

bourbonmed
05-01-2001, 20:17
Chuck,

Did you buy any bourbon while in Holland?

Omar

lexkraai
05-02-2001, 05:45
Hi Mike

How widespread where malt whiskies in 19th century America? Has a comprehensive publication on that ever appeared anywhere? If not, it would be very a very nice article for "Celtic Spirit" ....

By the way, I'm not so sure that today's American malt whiskies will go extinct as a result of competition with bourbon/rye. In the 19th century, competition was on a much more local scale than now. Whether American malt whiskies will survive in today's global market will to a large part depend, I think, on how they can compete with Scottish/Irish single malts.

Cheers, Lex

cowdery
05-02-2001, 15:30
Nope. It isn't exactly the inebriant of choice there. I did make a quick check in one store to see what the prices were like and they were comparable to here. They had Jack, Jim, MM, 4R and the only surprise, Wathens. This was actually in The Hague. I thought about browsing the Duty Free but remembered the rule that DF is only worthwhile for getting things you can't get here. I just wasn't that interested. I bought cheese.

I didn't sample some Jeniver, which was interesting but it didn't make me a convert.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

cowdery
05-02-2001, 15:38
How widespread where malt whiskies in 19th century America?

I would like to know that too. My impression is, not very. I just wrote an article in which I pooh pooh Fritz Maytag's contention that 100 percent malt rye whiskey would have been common or typical in the 18th century. Part of my reasoning is that every bourbon recipe we know about, including the one Mike V just found from 1800, calls for 10 to 15 percent malt and cooking the mash to complete the starch-to-sugar conversion. America doesn't have a tradition of all-malt brewing or all-malt whiskey-making, so I doubt it ever did.

For that matter, how old is all-malt distilling in Scotland, Ireland and Wales? Does it go back to the beginning or is it a relatively recent phenom?

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

**DONOTDELETE**
05-02-2001, 16:50
Lex,
There is no list that you can look at to see how common malt whisky was, but there are several trademarks that I have seen andsome advertisements such as the one posted here. It was never a major market factor but then again there were a lot of immigrants that could be looking for whisky just like they had at home.
Mike Veach

lexkraai
05-03-2001, 01:22
For that matter, how old is all-malt distilling in Scotland, Ireland and Wales? Does it go back to the beginning or is it a relatively
recent phenom?

Hi Chuck

Certainly goes back to the beginning. The earliest record of a spirit distilled from grain on Scottish soil specifically mentions 'malt' and dates from 1494. Malted barley as the base material is known through the centuries in Scotland / Ireland (Wales' whisky history is much more obscure). But just as often a mixture of malted and unmalted barley was used (people in the highlands often simply distilled from what they had available). Oats have been used as well, but it seems rye hasn't been used much if at all. There are 18th century records suggesting to replace growing rye instead of barley to reduce the amount of whisky distilled. This suggests to me that rye wasn't used for whisky.

Cheers, Lex

**DONOTDELETE**
05-03-2001, 09:45
Lex this "old world" connection is intriguing. My family is made up of English, Welsh, and Scotch/Irish Protestents. Why do you suppose that the farmer/distillers of early America discarded barley malts for rye and corn whiskey? Did it have anything to do with; pants, firearms, or large brested Germanic women?

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

lexkraai
05-03-2001, 10:46
Hi Linn

I'm not so sure that malted barley was actually discarded in favour of rye. Don't forget that there were many Germans among the early colonisers and that rye was the grain of choice for them for as far as distilling was concerned. Also, it may have been that the rye varieties of those days were better adapted to grow in the American soil than the barley varieties (but I'm guessing now). Obviously, corn got included in the mash bills because it was already there.

Cheers, Lex

cowdery
05-03-2001, 12:32
Lex,

Your explanation is correct as far as my information goes. There are records of corn beer and corn whiskey being made very early in the colonies, but not as a regular or preferred grain until the settlement of Kentucky. While I stand corrected about the use of all malt in the Celtic lands, it seems very likely that the German distillers did not generally use malted rye, but used a small percentage of barley malt to assist the conversion of rye and other grains in the mash, as is the American custom. Malt was too precious for beer making to squander more than was necessary on distilling.

As Mike has pointed out before, much is made about the Scots-Irish roots of American distilling when, in fact, it looks like the Germans may have had an equal or even greater influence.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

lexkraai
05-04-2001, 01:27
Hi Chuck

I didn't mean to imply that 100% malted rye was used by early German distillers. I'm sure you're right that they used unmalted rye with a bit of help from some malted barley.

I've always been intrigued by how bourbon & rye are related to the Celtic whiskies. I'm a biologist by profession, so I can easily 'see' them as 'species'. If it was the Scotch-Irish who started making rye and corn-based whiskies from their barley-based experience, then the Celtic whiskies are the direct 'parents' of bourbon & rye. If on the other hand it is German distillers who made spirits from rye and later corn and bourbon & rye whiskies evolved from that then American whiskies do not descend from Celtic whiskies (but rather from some early form of 'schnapps') and Celtic and American whiskies are 'cousins' at most.

What's most likely, I think, is that hybridization of Celtic and German distilling traditions gave rise to bourbons & ryes.

Cheers, Lex

cowdery
05-04-2001, 09:26
What's most likely, I think, is that hybridization of Celtic and German distilling traditions gave rise to bourbons & ryes.

That is exactly what I am coming to believe. The emphasis is usually placed on the Celtic traditions, since the end result there is clearly a whiskey, as opposed to a flavored neutral spirit, but there is more to it than that. Early schnapps, genevir, vodka and akvavit would hardly have been "neutral" as we understand the term today, because distilling techniques weren't that good. They would have differed from whiskey only in that they were flavored with botanicals and not aged in wood. In America, where several traditions came together, it may have been that familiar botanicals were unavailable but wood was. The discovery of corn also altered the equation, because of its high yield, sweetness and more neutral flavor.

Humans are limited to two parents. Whiskeys are not. It is probable that American Whiskey as we know it today borrowed from all the distilling traditions of early immigrants.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

lexkraai
05-04-2001, 10:01
I agree very much with what you say, Chuck. Today's spirits (whisky, brandy, tequila, calvados, jenever, you name it) are all very strictly defined as to base material, subsequent treatment, etc, etc. But the more you go back in time, the less dogmatic people were about this and the different types of spirit sort of blur together. For instance, I have seen Scottish records from the 18th century where a spirit distilled from potatoes was specifically called 'whisky'; nowadays, given that maturation didn't happen in those days, that would be a vodka (although it wasn't distilled to the same high level of proof as today's vodka's). But in the 18th century, the word 'whisky' was more equivalent to 'spirit' in general than to a strictly defined type of spirit. What probably happened on American soil is indeed the coming together of different European distilling traditions and the subsequent evolution of specific types of spirit: bourbon and rye. They are called 'whiskey' because they are distilled from grain and matured in wood, not because they are direct descendents of Celtic whisky. Seen through a biologist's eyes, an interesting case of parallel evolution!

Cheers, Lex

bourbonv
09-16-2003, 14:04
Gary Gillman and I have been having an interesting discussion of rectified whiskey, early rye and bourbon so I decided to move forward yet another old thread on the subject for his viewing pleasure. If the rest of the forum is getting bored, my apologies, but it is seldom that I get a chance to discuss this with such a well informed person.

Gary,
If you look at the original post of this thread you will see an advertisment from 1858. It is interesting for it claims not be as much as what it claims to be. I would be interested in your comments.

Mike Veach

Gillman
09-16-2003, 14:27
Thanks, Mike, for bringing this forward and your other comments.

Regarding the references to steam and fire, they are saying, we don't use a column still (Coffey or patent still) to rectify. Such a still uses steam to separate alcohol from water. The steam pours in from the bottom through perforated plates and meets the falling wash, separating alcohol very efficiently from the water in the wash. Rather (they are saying) we use a copper still heated by a (real) fire burning underneath it. And we rectify, too, that way. In other words, they double distill in traditional pot stills (the way Scotland still does for malt whisky). This ad was an assurance to readers that the whiskey of this house would still taste like whiskey because some of the flavourous fusel oils and other congeners would have gone over with the water through the coils and condensed in to the final spirit. The efficient column still would leave all those behind in the spent wash.

Double-distillation is still used for bourbon, but from the column still (which may contain some copper) to the thumper or other secondary distillation method. Columns can be operated today in a way to reduce their efficiency and thus act much as a first pot distillation would do.

The term OFC (Old Fire Copper) can be seen on old bourbon and rye labels and was a sign of quality. To this day in Canada, Barton's makes in Quebec Schenley OFC. I once read OFC means in that regard, "Old Fine Canadian" but I think that may have been a later embellishment, and the name denoted originally the process proudly claimed in this 1858 advertisement.

Gary

bourbonv
09-16-2003, 14:48
Gary,
You are right on your points about fire copper and the use of steam. Just for the record when Schenley bought their Canadian distillery they took a couple of their brands - Gibson's rye and OFC - and turned them into Canadian whisky brands. This gave them some brand recognition with the products since they were very old and respected brands here in the U.S. and actually breathed new life into brands that were dying of neglect in their portfolio.

The fact that the advertisement spends so much effort putting distance between their company and the rectifiers that drugged their products gives us a hint of what was being sold at the time.

Mike Veach

Gillman
09-16-2003, 16:44
Thanks for this additional information.

Gibson's is still made (in two or three versions) and is quite good. Ditto for Schenley OFC.

What I have done is add an ounce or so of a dry U.S. straight rye (e.g. Pikesville) to the Schenley whiskies. Doing this deepens the dry, cereal taste of such drinks and adds to their authenticity, in my view. It does not alter the taste, just makes it better, more what it "should" be.

Schenley tends to make dry, grainy type whiskies, quite rye-oriented, that is, in terms of tradition. Seagram's Canadian whisky tends to have a bourbon-accent, in my view.

Allied-Domecq's ryes tend to be crisp, dry and faintly fruity, as Michael Jackson noted with his usual perceptiveness in his 1988 World Guide To Whisky.

So we have a palette of flavours here.

Sometimes, though, they benefit from a little tweaking. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Gary

bourbonv
09-30-2003, 09:56
I find the types of products listed here interesting - barley malt whiskey, pure rye malt whiskey and gin made as it is in Holland from malted wheat. Makes me wonder if pure wheat malt whiskey is so bland that it needs spices and juniper berries to give it flavor.

I also wonder if these barley malt and rye malt whiskies are aged or not.

Mike Veach

Gillman
09-30-2003, 10:38
Mike, in the 1800's and no doubt earlier, geneva gin generally was made from the same recipe as rye whiskey: 80% unmalted rye, 20% malted barley. No doubt some geneva was made from malted wheat as this advertisement implies. Ultimately, most genever came to be made from molasses or sugar beet syrup distillate, so using wheat (as in the old white wheat whiskey) may have been a way station on the road to making all-continuous still, molasses-based spirit. By stating "Holland Gin", clearly as you say the implication was that juniper berry was used. It was used originally anyway, not to give flavour to pallid spirit, but for quite the opposite reason: to cover over the congeneric taste of new spirit. Possibly the medical reputation of juniper got embroidered and transposed onto this original rationale, but there can be little doubt that juniper usage was an early type of rectification. This gin was unaged, as it still is (saving one or two examples given a yellow tint by oak cask aging).

Regarding pure barley whiskeys, they would have been Irish-type (unpeated and made mainly from unmalted barley as is still the case in the Republic of Ireland for the true pot still whiskey).

Wheat whiskey was the white wheat whiskey sold in Canada too into the early 1900's.

All these save the Bourbon would have been unaged for very long. Maybe a year or two at most, to give some tint from the cask and smooth out the taste a bit, but not more than that.

All these liquors were true pot still distillations.

Gary

Gillman
09-30-2003, 19:45
Just on a further point, malt rye whiskey would have been whiskey made from malted rye. I know I said in my previous post that rye whiskey was made from unmalted rye, and it was - both methods were used. When I met Craig Beam in Bardstown he said all rye whiskey today is made from malted rye, with barley malt added still to assist the fermentation. Fritz Maytag opted to use malted rye in his revivalist rye whiskeys. Rather than go with unmalted rye, he went with charred, or not, barrels, to distinguish between older (historical) types of rye whiskey. Also, he used 100% malted rye. So, the malt rye whiskey of the old advertisement might have tasted like a younger, sharper (because maybe no corn) Pikesville Rye. A gap in the current rye line-up is, therefore, unmalted rye-based whiskey. What did it taste like? Probably very spicy/resinous and full-flavoured whereas malt rye whiskey would likely have been sweetish/fruity as are the current young examples (e.g. Rittenhouse). In Flanders today, geneva gins are still made from the old 80% raw rye grist/20% barley malt -I cite Houlle/Loos in the very north of France as a specific example. Some genevers have abandoned completely the juniper berry. Houlle/Loos have not although they use juniper in very small quantities. One that uses no juniper whatever is Filliers of Belgium. If anyone is travelling in Belgium and finds some Filliers (I would advise the 5 year old or any younger expression available), you will find what is essentially the unmalted rye whiskey of the mid-1800's - IMHO.

Gary

bourbonv
10-01-2003, 10:12
Gary,
Here at the Filson, we have several early 19th century recipes for alcohol products such as gin, cherry bounce and peach cordial. They are all based upon whiskey, applejack or other fruit brandy. Maybe I shall post some of these later.
Mike Veach

Gillman
10-01-2003, 19:14
That would be interesting and instructive. Whiskey and cherry bounces were a kind of punch, I believe. Punch expressed in French is "ponche". I think the word bounce is a corruption of the word punch. The humourous implications arising from the true English sense of the word bounce could not have been unintentional, of course. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Gary