View Full Version : Rare Bourbon

04-25-2002, 10:30

I have spent a lot of time in the labels. I can tell you for sure that your bottling in not from HH. I did find a few rare labels that most of the people around here (except Koji) have not seen. You can literally spend days and days in the label warehouse and ya still would not see everything...Good thing they have books for you to look through for easy reference.

The Evan Williams blue is 23 years old, 107 proof, Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Export only. There is no wrap. It is dipped in blue wax. The back label has Japan writing on it so I don't know what the hell it says. They bottle this about once a year and a few times twice a year. I had this bottle in our booth a couple of years ago. Everyone would pick it up. One guy put it in his shirt a walked away. He was just joking, little did he know that it was live.. I state it very clear that all the sample bottles are DUMMIES. They did not have time to dip me a "DUMMY" so they gave me a live bottle. I will not do that again...I took it home with me ever night during the festival.

The other label is really rare. Old Heaven Hill, Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 28 years old, 100 proof.....and you guessed it Export to Japan. I could not find a wrap or a back label for this one. Come ta think of it, I have not seen it bottled. I spent a lot of time asking people who work there what did it look like.....l found 3 people who remember it. They all said it was bottled in the early 80"s. They did not know exactly what size but they all guessed 750. They all said it was sent "out back" and dipped in red wax. No one recalled a back label. If you are a collector of rare bourbons this one would be a good find.

My scanner does not work very good. The actual color of the 28 year is metalic gold with silver trim. The words Old Heave Hill are silver and the 28 years old is in red.

Bettye Jo

04-25-2002, 11:41
Thanks Bettye Jo for the info and photos. Proof at last that a 28 yr old bourbon did exist. Hard to believe bourbon could survive so long in virgin oak. I'd suspect it tasted very woody and bitter-- but maybe those few barrels were kept in a cool, time-defying corner of the warehouse -- covered up or something.

In case you guys were wondering, the mystery bottle I asked Bettye Jo about is called Boone's Knoll, a 16y bourbon I found in Germany. The plain label says it was distilled at Boone Knoll Distillery in Lawrenceburg. There is no such distillery, so I thought it was a Heaven Hill product. Maybe it's one of Even Kulsveen's boutique bottlings for Europe.


04-25-2002, 18:55
Hi Omar,
The Boone's Knoll is actually the same whiskey as 16-year Hirsch bourbon that I bottled many years ago for export only. This is the Michter's whiskey owned by the Hue family in Covington, KY. If you look closely, the label says "Bottled BY Hirsch Distillers, Lawrenceburg", not "Distilled By". That's the clue. Remember, if it says "Bottled By" and it's in Lawrenceburg, KY, and it's not a Wild Turkey brand, it's mine.
But of course this will no longer be since I will close my place down in a few weeks, and move over to BT in Frankfort.

04-25-2002, 21:18
Hi Julian!! Congrats again on your move to Buffalo Trace.

Well, I'm looking at the Boone's Knoll 16y bottle and here's what I see:
First, you are 100% right -- it doesn't say "Distilled By" anywhere.
Yet, it doesn't say "Bottled by Hirsch" either.
It says: Bottled by Boone's Knoll Distillers, Lawrenceburg, KY 45.8% Alc/Vol.
It has a plain, oyster grey color front label and black letters. No back label.
The bottle is shaped just like the Evan Williams Vintage Single Barrels and uses a black wax or plastic coat to seal the top, like the EWSB. The bottom is embossed with Clyde Forth Packaging Co. Ltd. CFP 84.

Did you bottle this way back in 1984?? I just got it in Germany last month. It's the export 700 ml size and appears to be a current bottle, not anything from the 80s.

Now I'm looking at the taller Hirsch 16y bottle side by side with Boone's. The Hirsch says: Distilled in Spring 1974, Bottled by Hirsch Distillers in Lawrenceburg at 45.8% Alc/Vol. (Bottled in 1990 I assume, since it's 16y).

Same town, same aging, same exact alcohol proof.

Thanks Julian. Although it doesn't say it on label, Boone's Knoll would have to be pot stilled also, right?

All the best at BT,

04-26-2002, 09:30
One of those must be the bourbon I was given to taste one time when I was visiting there (at HH) about ten years ago. The story I was told was that a few barrels had been "mislaid." In other words, they were found in the warehouse, aged 20+ years, but they had disappeared from the inventory records. With as many barrels as HH has in storage, it isn't too surprising that a few can get lost. Anyway, the point is that it wasn't aged that long on purpose. It was an accident, but there they were. I tasted it and it reminded me of how your clothes smell after you have been camping for a week. The color was virtually black and the taste was extremely acrid and sooty, almost unrecognizable as bourbon. I was told they were planning to sell it in Japan, not because the Japanese like that taste profile necessarily, but because the Japanese--with their long history as a scotch market--believe older is always better.

They're welcome to it.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

04-26-2002, 13:42
Bleeeeeeeee! http://www.straightbourbon.com/images/icons/crazy.gif

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

04-26-2002, 17:18
Some of the Hirsch was removed from barrells and placed in a stainless steel tank to prevent further aging. What I understand is the 20 yr is gone and there is some more of the 16 in storage . I own a bottle of the 20 yr but as yet is unopened, what discipline . It took a long time to get where it's at , no use to get in a hurry now.

Bobby Cox

04-27-2002, 09:03
Hello everybody,let me add a few words.I just came back from the CART CHAMPION RACE in Motegi so I am kind of dizzy.Okay here it is,you would not believe of the numbers of strange bourbon we get in our country!example;Evan Williams 23y will come in other 2 brands Martin Mills 24y,and Bourbon Valley 24Y,both on the label you just add ---Distillery from Bardstown,and you have a bottle.I will give you the name of the importers when Im there not here.Well anyway if you pick up bottles here you will end up with 100 distillerly in one hour!People believe it too.As long as it tastes good I never complain,but I would pick up Evan Single(any age)for $40 but never the 23Y for $250 it just not worth it(my opinion).One more,the kind of people who buy whiskey(expensive) here is the kind of people who buys Mercedes in Japan.As long as its expencive its GOOD!The cheaper domestic cars don't break as those.Its not the age they want,its the price.Now I am getting lost in my own sentence.And Omar most of the bottles I can get,but for HH 28Y its impossible,HH 21Y is on market,and some HH BiB 15Y Gold Label can still be found but rare.HH 21y is like $200 buy the way.

Koji(gotta get sleep)

05-04-2002, 18:38
I need to add something to the post about the 28 year old Heaven Hill bourbon. The very first bottling which was in 1981 the wax was not red. It was a real tacky looking metalic gold....I talked with Kenny Halgash, in the WLD-- warehouse loading dock-- (out back is what we call it) He told me that the very first bottling he was given a clear wax and he had to add this mixture to it to make it look metalic gold----It did not work very well----Sooooooo the next botttling was made in red wax...........The last time it was bottled was about 10 years ago.......That's straight from the boss of "OUT BACK" .

Bettye Jo