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Thread: old 1889 royal

  1. #11
    **DONOTDELETE**
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    Re: old 1889 royal

    I agree with you. Or at least I WOULD, except for that "Bardstown" location on his label. I have the original Meadowlawn label (although not the 12-year-old Royal), and (thanks to you) also a current HH label. Attached to this post is a photo of the two of them. You can plainly see the distillery locations.

    Here's a couple of things you might want to ask Max when you see him...

    (1) Did HH ever bottle the 12-year-old Royal version, perhaps long ago when they first acquired the label?

    (2) Did they buy the label directly from Meadowlawn, or did another distillery own it for awhile. Perhaps Barton or another distillery located in Bardstown (there were once several). I think I remember that Barton owned Cabin Still for awhile between Stitzel/Weller and Heaven Hill; maybe they had Old 1889, too? That would explain the "Bardstown" designation.

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

  2. #12
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: old 1889 royal

    Thanks for the photos. Apparently we're both on at the same time, since your posts showed up just as I was posting mine.

    After seeing your pictures,I think there's no doubt that you have something here dating from the period you mention. It also probably pre-dates the Meadowlawn label I have. If it weren't for the "Bardstown" designation (which I can't see in the photo) I'd almost think you really DO have one of the Kansas City versions!

    Somebody come up with an explanation for "Bardstown" being on the label?

    MetalMan, I know it's tedious (especially since there's a lot of text on the label), but the photo isn't clear enough. Could you print out all the text? This is pretty fascinating stuff

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

  3. #13
    The Boss
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    Re: old 1889 royal

    After seeing your pictures,I think there's no doubt that you have something here dating from the period you mention.
    John,
    Just out of curiousity, what led you to this relatively concrete assertion? I'm not suggesting that you are incorrect, it just seems a fairly long leap considering that the evidence is set of blur photographs. Can you decipher the numbers on the seal? If so, where did you learn to do that, I'd like to learn as well.

    Cheers,

    Jim Butler
    Straightbourbon.com

  4. #14
    The Boss
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    Deciphering the strip stamp

    I just finished composing a 4 paragraph message detailing my findings from a conversation with ATF Agent Ed Riceman (sp?) re: strip stamps, and Netscape crashed on me! <insert cry of frustration here>

    Anyway, there is apparently little to be learned about the liquor in the bottle from the numbers on the stamp. The only telling legal evidence is derived from the date of the bottle's manufacture, clearly stamped on the bottom. This was apparently ATF procedure until it was repealed in the early seventies. He knew of no ATF or IRS documents which defined the meaning of the strip stamp numbers. That doesnt mean that such documents don't exist, but it probably means we're not going to find an Acrobat document describing the procedure on some .gov website :-(
    So I guess it's a fact hunt through the annals of the bourbon industry itself to determine this kind of thing.

    I agree; fascinating stuff.


    Cheers,

    Jim Butler
    Straightbourbon.com

  5. #15
    **DONOTDELETE**
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    Re: old 1889 royal

    it states this

    Old 1889 Royel is a handemade sourmash Bourbon.
    Taken from the finest golden grains and renouned limestone water from Nelson county Kentucky, its given exciting life and golden aged in new charred oak barrels for 12 years

    kentucky striaght bourbon whiskey. 86 Proof and bottled in kentucky by the old 1889 distillery Co. at bardstown.

    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #16
    Connoisseur
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    Re: old 1889 royal

    Metalman,

    Your label is similar (but not identical) to old 1889 royal labels I've seen in Japanese web sites -- the bottle is different. John's label confirms there were at least 3 versions of old royal labels printed over the years. Our Missouri/Kansas friends Den and Bill, you have the best chance to find any/all early labels on some dusty forgotten shelf. Boone, the label you describe, is it the one posted by John?

    Omar


  7. #17
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: old 1889 royal

    "Just out of curiousity, what led you to this relatively concrete assertion?"

    I guess it's 'cause if it were fake, it would be like doing an outstanding job of faking a 1963 Mercury Comet. Why would anyone bother? I can see that this is not an easy label to photograph, and also that this is certainly an old bottle containing SOMETHING. The script on the label is similar enough to the known-correct label to be sort of trade-markish, but there has obviously been no attempt to duplicate the known label. Not what someone would do if they wanted to pass something off as a specific product. And again comes the question, whatever would they have chosen THAT one for? No, I'm convinced Metalman has a real bottle of circa 1940's Old 1889 Royal unless someone offers convincing evidence otherwise. But I'm still fascinated by the "Bardstown" reference.

    Hey MIKE!!! This is Looahville for criminy sakes. I can't believe *YOU* don't know about this one (or are you just chuckling in the background as we all make fools of ourselves over something that should be obvious?)

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

  8. #18
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: old 1889 royal

    First, a couple of questions for Metalman:

    Why do you believe your bottle is the only one in existence?

    Who at the Getz Museum offered you $50 for it? I ask because I've never heard of the Getz buying anything from anybody for any amount, but Mike can confirm this. I think you're right, John, Mike is reading all this and laughing up his sleeve at us.

    From the pictures, I agree that this is a genuinely old bottle, presumably from 1948. I also agree that the "Bardstown" location is the vexing part. Here are some thoughts.

    Presumably, John, your source for the fire dates is Sam Cecil's book. Though unreliable in many respects, Sam is most reliable when he is talking about his colleagues and contemporaries, so his account of "John P. Dant, Old Boone, RD #39" (p. 75) seems pretty sound.

    I noticed with interest that he says the "Old 1889" brand was acquired from Tom Pendergast, the corrupt political boss of Kansas City. Pendergast died in 1945, so presumably that sale took place prior to that date and prior to the 1948 bottling in question. Cecil also says it was a 50,000 case brand, which is not too shabby, especially in essentially one market. (For reference, the threshold to be considered a major national brand is one-million cases a year.)

    According to Cecil, many members of the Dant family were involved with "John P. Dant, Old Boone, RD #39" over the years. As Cecil notes, the Dants had operations in Marion and Nelson (i.e., Bardstown) as well.

    However, in an example of Cecil's frequent confusion, he says on p. 75 that J.P. Dant "leased the Grosscurth Distillery RD#26 at Anchorage in Jefferson County during World War II and operated as Meadowlawn Distillery Company," but on p. 90 he says that C.A. Crosscurth "for a period during World War II had leased the John P. Dant Distillery RD #39 at Meadowlawn in Jefferson County." I guess it is possible that they leased each other's distilleries during the war, "swapping" facilities for some reason, but this sort of thing is why Cecil's book drives me crazy.

    The town of Meadowlawn (aka Meadow Lawn) is no more. Its name today is Valley Village. It is about 15 miles south of Louisville on the Ohio River. The name originated as the estate of Dr. Thomas Greenley, a renowned 19th century Kentucky physician.

    Anchorage is about 10 miles east of the city, i.e., nowhere near Meadowlawn.

    As for how Bardstown gets into the mix, here is a clue, also from Cecil, on p. 99: "Phil Dant, a son of Harry Dant and a grandson of Jim Dant, started employement in the Dant RD #169 in 1936 and stayed until 1942, when he was employed at Shawhan near Bardstown. This plant was still owned by Tom Pendergast of Kansas City at the time and was under the direction of Frank Schutte. Phil was appointed plant manager in May 1943, but he left for service in World War II shortly after. On his return he joined John P. Dant at Meadowlawn and also ran a bottling operation on Main Street in Louisville." (emphasis mine)

    According to Cecil's article on Shawhan, RD #28 (p. 118), that distillery was sold to Pendergast in 1933. He changed its name to Shawhan in 1938. That name originated in Kentucky but by 1933 it was in Weston, Missouri. When the Shawhan name was "moved" to Bardstown, the Weston plant was sold and renamed McCormick.

    After WWII, the Bardstown distillery (RD #28) was sold and renamed Waterfill and Frazier, a name under which the Crosscurth Distillery in Anchorage once operated as well.

    As John points out, RD#39 in Meadowlawn had fires in 1966 and 1971, but RD#28 in Bardstown also had a fire, in 1968, losing one rackhouse. It closed shortly thereafter. Today there are still rackhouses on the site, which are owned and used by Jim Beam.

    My theory is that production of Pendergast's "Old 1889" moved to Bardstown in 1933 (yes, Pendergast made whiskey illegally at the Weston plant throughout Prohibition) where it stayed until at least 1948, before moving to Louisville.


    --Chuck Cowdery

  9. #19
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    Re: old 1889 royal

    The bottles of Old 1889 Royal that I have are shaped exactly like the bottle in Metalman's photos with the following exceptions:
    1. Mine have 750 ml embossing around the lower perimeter of the bottle. The bottom shows a "JG", "19", "56A", "LIQUOR BOTTLE", "9", "98", "42".
    2. The bottle cap is a cheesy looking gold plastic screw-on cap.
    3. The front label is exactly the same as Metalman's photo and description, including the Bardstown address.
    4. The neck label has the following UPC barcode: "96749 18135".
    5. The rear label also has the Surgeon General's warning.

    Maybe Boone can look into the UPC code and let me know about the vintage of my bottles.

    This is baffling. I wonder if someone stuck some new labels on some old bottles?

    Konfused in Kansas.

    Bill
    http://home.kc.rr.com/mashbill/

  10. #20
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: old 1889 royal

    And THAT, folks, is why I love this forum so much!

    Whew! What a tour-de-force, Chuck. Mike would be proud of you. Hell, I'm proud of you, too, but then you were a hero of mine before I ever came here. Who cares that you only used one source (same one as I did, in fact)? At least you worked all the way through it. And for those of you who aren't familiar with Sam Cecil's "The Evolution of the Bourbon Industry in Kentucky", this is no easy task. A goldmine of bourbon history, it has no index, it's sorted alphabetically by county (there are approximately three million counties in Kentucky, one for virtually every family name; in larger homes you can't go to the bathroom without crossing one or two of them), and then by distillery number -- except that there have been several numbering schemes and Sam isn't at all consistant about which one he chooses for a given distillery. Add to that the fact that, as Chuck points out, Sam's information is only partially accurate and should be thought of as a starting point for further study rather than the definitive answer, and you have a real challenge. I should mention, however, that if you're at all serious about understanding the history of bourbon, you MUST have a copy of this book. I should also mention that Sam Cecil himself is a good part of that history. He's known most every distiller since Prohibition.

    I guess we've come a ways from "..someone was handing you a load of hooey". Really good sleuthing work there, Chuck.

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

 

 

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