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  1. #1

    any info on IW Harper and Old Charter

    Does anyone know the history, tasting, and availability of these to brands? I was told, they are both sweet.

  2. #2
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    Re: any info on IW Harper and Old Charter

    Regarding the Old Charter, a search in the tasting forum will turn up several hits, including this review by the undersigned.

    I didn't try a similar search for I.W. Harper. That's a brand that I don't remember seeing for perhaps 20 years or more. Is it still available where you live?

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: any info on IW Harper and Old Charter

    Both I.W. Harper and Old Charter are venerable old bourbon brands. Both have seen better days, at least in the USA. As for their taste, they are certainly no sweeter than any other bourbons. They are both traditional rye-recipe bourbons and for most of recent history they were essentially the same whiskey, made by United Distillers at their Bernheim Distillery in Louisville. Today, Harper is still owned by Diageo, the successor company to United, while Charter is owned by Buffalo Trace. Old Charter, in a number of different expressions, is pretty widely available in the USA, especially in the South. It's good, especially the 12-year-old 90-proof "Classic." I.W. Harper is generally not available in the USA, but is very popular in Japan. It was withdrawn from the USA market to prevent grey market exports to Japan

  4. #4

    Re: any info on IW Harper and Old Charter

    I was a few different bottlings of Old Charter and one bottling of IW Harper. I bought the Classic 90, 12 yr, and of course had an shot already. It's good. I can't quite describe it, yet. I also saw IW Harper at 80 proof. I think, I'll get to it next. But, I have to fully experience the Old Charter first.
    mark h.

  5. #5
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    Re: any info on IW Harper and Old Charter

    I found a bottle of the 15 year I.W. Harper 80 proof from the Heritage Collection some time ago at a pretty good discount... (I heard it went for upwards of $30 and for $20 figured I couldn't really go wrong. I was wrong.) I wasn't really too impressed for the mere fact that it seemed too 'light' of a bourbon at only 80 proof. Maybe many years ago I would have thought differently about it but now I find myself requiring a little more 'oomph' in my selections.

    --> Mark R.

  6. #6
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    Re: any info on IW Harper and Old Charter

    I purchased a bottle of the I.W. Harper 15 yr. 80 proof shortly after I started seriously tasting whiskies. For 35 bucks, I was less than thrilled. I agree....I believe the proof was too low for such a bourbon and resulted in something that was light and boring. It was, for me, one of the bigger disappointments I've had in buying and sampling bourbons.

  7. #7

    Re: any info on IW Harper and Old Charter

    I agree with you fellas. Eighty proof is light, especially after Stagg, Bookers, Noah's Mill, and Old Grand Dad 114. I hope other brands take up the challenge to produce bourbons of that strength. If not at least up to 107 proof or 100 proof. The price didn't deter the demand for Stagg. And compared to single-malt, they are a bargain. I do know, that Stagg turned the heads of some of the most committed single-malt only drinkers.
    mark h.

  8. #8
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    Re: any info on IW Harper and Old Charter

    Hey Gang----

    Hold everything on I W Harper. I W Harper was part of the Bourbon Hertiage Collection that you are talking about. United Distillers put these together: George Dickell Special Barrel Reserve (Tenn. whiskey), W. L. Weller Centennial Wheated, I. W. Harper Gold Medal, Very Special Old Fitzgerald (wheated), and Old Charters Proprietor's Reserve. They came out in 1994 and this gave the bourbon drinkers of the US a chance to taste an assortment of the finest bourbon produced in differing styles. This collection was probably more responsible for some of the great bourbons we have today. You must remember there were not too many of the bourbons we have today around at that time. These are truly great bourbons today as they were in 1994.

    Cheers,
    Marvin

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: any info on IW Harper and Old Charter

    Marvin, you are right about that! A very happy day for me was when I found a bottle of that 35 dollar 80 proof Harper. I needed it to round out the Bourbon Heritage Collection. And it was mostly long gone, I had walked passed a bottle of it at Liquor Barn and bought stuff like Beam and HH and then it was gone. I found one, bought it, and haven't looked back. I probably won't open it . I may sell all 5 of them at some point, at the same time to one person.

  10. #10
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    Re: any info on IW Harper and Old Charter

    Marvin, please do not misunderstand my stance. I agree with you that for what they all represent(ed), they are remarkable bourbons... But when it comes to palatability (compared to today's expressions) I personally would pass on the I. W. Harper, as well as the VSOF. I've tried them all now and have unopened bottles of all 5 on display (along with all the other bottles in the collection) to represent exactly what you said about them, that in their day they gave people a chance to taste a varying assortment of very fine bourbons. And opened up the market to the finer expressions we have today.

    --> Mark R.
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