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Thread: Bourbon Legends

  1. #1
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    Bourbon Legends

    I often came to SB to learn in the past,though many things have changed and members have come and gone the essential core and wealth of knowledge is still here.We are the here and now and most importantly the future.I would like to set up this section as a place for you to share your own personal knowledge for others to learn from and also enjoy.Dave Ziegler has done a wonderful job here so far. I'm not looking for anything that in depth,but more so a brief overview of iconic names of the past and their contribution towards our native spirit of today.

    J.W.Dant 1820-1902

    J.Dant like so many other bourbon icons was not born into the lineage of a distilling family,instead he started his journey as a lowly blacksmith.His English family roots was actually proceeded by multiple generations of farmers.Dant turned to distilling in 1836 in what is to be later be known as Dant Station.He used and produced his own grain from the nearly 200 acre farm apon which he had settled.Joseph was also best know for using the "Log Method" of distilling versus the far more common yet more expensive Pot Still.The "Log Method" is essentially a section of a tree trunk that is hollowed with a copper pipe running through the length of it,the open cavity would be filled with mash and steam fed through the pipe would start the distillation process.

    Dant remained in the family for many years as George his son was the last to operate the distillery into the early 1900's,of course it has since been bought and sold several times until Heaven Hill made the final acquisition in 1993.The Dant name has made it a long way,from 1836 until present day.

    I personally truly enjoy this aspect of bourbon and the roots from which this humble spirit began,add as you see fit with the names,legends and history of some of these often long forgotten men.
    "To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human."
    Larry Wachowski

  2. #2
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    Re: Bourbon Legends

    The method used by J.W. Dant was called "running it off a log" and one of the things I appreciate about the man is he continued this practice after becoming a successful distiller. Being a practical man he made sure there was money in the bank and a market for expansion before setting aside his log to invest in an expensive copper still.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  3. #3
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    Re: Bourbon Legends

    I was hoping you would chime in and add to the discussion.Dant is one of the few that I really have never read much on and was fully unaware of the distilling practice in which he used.Thanks for the further,more accurate description of the process...... always more to learn here.
    "To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human."
    Larry Wachowski

  4. #4
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    Re: Bourbon Legends

    Cool bit of history to bring up! I also saw this mentioned on the DISCUS site history section (I may possibly read way too much about such things). Apparently, there wasn't a copper pipe running through the log. One would have been used to used to feed steam into the log, though.

    In fact, although pot stills were used by most of the legitimate distillers, some poorer folk were still “running it on the log.” This was a backwoods method of distillation that seems rather convoluted--but it worked. The process is partially described by Gerald Carson in The Social History of Bourbon, and although we have added the description of the lid, the still must have looked something like this: A distiller would take a log, split it lengthwise, hollow out each half, and bind it back together. The log was then stood upright and filled from the top with fermented mash. A lid of sorts must then have been fitted onto the top of the log. It was probably similar in shape to a Hershey’s Kiss, with the “top knot” narrowing into becoming a pipe that would carry the vapors to a vessel where they would condense. Somewhere, close to the top of the log or in the lid itself, must have been a hole fitted with the copper pipe that carried live steam into the still from a nearby kettle. The steam would, in time, heat the mash and vaporize the alcohol. Carson does mention, however, that the log stills were used only for a primary distillation, and the spirit would then be redistilled in a pot still. The final product was called “log and copper whiskey.” Joseph Dant, whose family would later be responsible for giving Yellowstone and J. W. Dant bourbons to the world, was using the “log” method in 1836 to make his first Kentucky whiskey.

    More at http://www.discus.org/heritage/spirits/

  5. #5
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    Re: Bourbon Legends

    I found this website from Sku's list on his website. It is a great read.

    http://pre-prowhiskeymen.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
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    Re: Bourbon Legends

    That quote from DISCUS is taken word for word from The Book of Bourbon and Other Fine American Whiskeys, but the site says they have permission from the Regans.
    Michael Shoshani - Old No. 8 on the Straightbourbon.com forums

  7. #7
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    Re: Bourbon Legends

    Very interesting stuff.
    I've got some reading to do, from Sku's link.

    On a more cynical note, wonder how long before we get an Orphan Barrel release named "Log & Copper"?
    "You Can't Buy Happiness, but you can buy Whiskey!"

  8. #8
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    Re: Bourbon Legends

    This a great start to what I hope will be an ever growing history thread. I believe more and more of the old labels will be retired as marketing leaders deem (and yes I know they are integral to successful operations) and replaced with brands that they think will attract the younger consumer.

 

 

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