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  1. #1

    \"But Always Fine Bourbon\"

    I'd searched for several months for an affordable copy of Sally Van Winkle Campbell's remembrance of her grandfather, Julian "Pappy" Van Winkle, but could only discover a $60+ used copy on Amazon (and even that's gone now!). But happenstance brought me across a website called "A Taste of Kentucky" the other day, and lo and behold!, there was a brand-new "But Always Fine Bourbon" at what was probably the original issue price -- $29.99 plus shipping. Coffee-table-size, the inside covers are papered with reproductions of Stitzel-Weller bourbon labels, and the book itself has dozens of historic photos. Ms. Campbell's warm descriptions of both Pappy and her father, Julian Jr., are accompanied by a history of one of the most storied -- and missed -- bourbon franchises. I'm sure some of you already have this book, but if not, consider it.
    An exerpt from Pappy, at his 75th birthday bash on the 100th anniversary of the Weller company:
    "I do not believe we deserve so much praise, because, after all, we have simply tried to be honest and make a good product. I was taught to be honest, but I was not told there was to be a premium on honesty, but rather a penalty for dishonesty."

    He surely did deserve it.

    A Taste of Kentucky books

  2. #2
    Guru
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    Mar 2002
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    SI, NY
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    2,083

    Re: \"But Always Fine Bourbon\"

    Amazon used to sell it for about $30. When I ordered mine it said 3 copies remaining... After they ran out, they never seemed to get them in again. It is a wonderful book, with wonderful history in it. Anyone who does not have it I would say consider getting it if you ever have the chance.

  3. #3
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Posts
    654

    Re: \"But Always Fine Bourbon\"

    Tim,
    I agree 100% That book is so beautiful, everything about it. And because I've spent years in the printing industry, I just need to tip my hat here. You could just tell...all the craftsmen involved in putting this book together, just loved what they were doing. Elegantly done.

    Pappy must have been a hellava guy... I love the wheat, and S-W played a major part in the development of the wheat mashbill.

    That distillery and the people that worked there are part of my growing up years. I went by the old Stizel-Weller complex (my parents sill live close) several months ago. Was gonna shoot a photo of the 'always fine Bourbon' sign that still hung at the entrance. Thought ya'll would like to see it... I was told by the guard (that called the lady inside) that Mr. VanWinkle had recently taken it.

    I smiled to myself (go Julian!) and got back in the car. Glad there's still people in the industry that appreciate real history, not just the stuff pumped out by the marketing department.
    Bj



  4. #4
    Enthusiast
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    Jul 2003
    Location
    Victoria Canada, Whistler, Maui
    Posts
    454

    Re: \"But Always Fine Bourbon\"

    I agree, a must-have for any bourbon-lover's library. Great photos too, some very precious insights into a family history. I couldn't put the book down. (kinda sounds like a book review ). If you don't own this book, go out and get one now!


  5. #5
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    189

    Re: \"But Always Fine Bourbon\"

    I have an extensive home bar and about 200 bar books, including "But Always Fine Bourbon."

    My wife always complains that I bring home (buy) more and more bar books. I have about a dozen bourbon-specific books, some fairly old. Now that I know how much some of the good bourbon books can fetch, I have another excuse to buy even more of them.

    Thanks.

  6. #6
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    495

    Re: \"But Always Fine Bourbon\"

    Tim,

    I agree that its a wonderful book. I was lucky enough to get a copy signed by Julian at last years WhiskyFest in NY.

    Bob

  7. #7
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Posts
    540

    Re: \"But Always Fine Bourbon\"

    I have the same problem, except multiplied by the fact that my partner also loves grabbing up books so we end up with quite a few bookcases.

    I called up Sally a few months ago and got 5 copies of the book for the store, kept one for myself. She even was kind enough to sign them for me. A wonderful account of a wonderful family. Really draws you in and makes you proud to drink up ORVW. Touched me personally to see a family struggle and stick together. Besides, it's worth buying the book just to see Julian in those cute short pants as a little boy.

    I'm looking forward to catching the second edition she's coming out with that's gonna include a chapter on Julian and hopefully we'll hear more about how his son is getting involved, as well.

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
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    12,637

    Re: \"But Always Fine Bourbon\"

    I would love it if you would share with us some of your more obscure bourbon titles.

    I recently acquired a copy of Irwin Cobb's Red Likker.

  9. #9
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    189

    Re: \"But Always Fine Bourbon\"

    I would love it if you would share with us some of your more obscure bourbon titles.

    I recently acquired a copy of Irwin Cobb's Red Likker.
    My two most obscure bourbon titled books are:

    "Bluegrass, Belles and Bourbon", 1967, by Harry Harrison Kroll and
    "Kentucky Bourbon -- The Early Years of Whiskeymaking", 1971, by Henry G. Growgey

    I have never seen either of these books since I acquired them.

    The "Kentucky Bourbon..." book is by far the most researched account of bourbon I have found, to date. It references old books, newpaper articles, personal family accounts and other interesting information, that puts forth a strong case for the first "bourbon" that is different from tradition. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of bourbon.

    I also have all the more recent books from Rip Van Winkle, Jim Beam, Makers Mark, Buffalo Trace, The Regans, Jim Murray, Sam Cecil, etc.

    I hope this is what you wanted to know.

    By the way, how is Irwin Cobb's "Red Likker" and what is the publishing date and substance of the book?

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
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    Chicago
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    Red Likker

    Red Likker by Irvin S. Cobb was published in 1929. ABEbooks had quite a few copies listed at reasonable prices when I obtained mine. It's the story of the fictional Bird family of Kentucky, the Bluegrass region specifically, who are early distillers. The principal character is one Attila Bird, who after fighting for the Confederacy returns to Kentucky to establish a distillery. He lives long enough to see everything he has worked for destroyed by Prohibition, during which bleak period the surprising climax of the story unfolds.

    How is it? Not very good, actually. The word hokum comes to mind. Some of it is truly painful. But it paints a picture the way fiction does that even the best history book can't achieve. As the only novel I know of that covers this subject matter, it doesn't have to be good, since it's the best.

 

 

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