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  1. #1
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    Herbst Old Fitz Mashbill question

    Just curious as to whether anyone knows (or can make a reasonable guess) what the mashbill was for the S. C. Herbst incarnation of Old Fitzgerald.
    In particular I am curious as to whether John Fitzgerald or S. C. Herbst had made it as a wheated bourbon, or if that was Pappy's doing when he took over the brand. (My guess has always been that Weller was a wheat bourbon distillery and that PVW made his Old Fitz accourding to the recipe he learned from Weller, and that most likely the earlier Fitzes were rye rather than wheat.)

    Michael Shoshani


  2. #2
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    Re: Herbst Old Fitz Mashbill question

    It just so happens that my sister, Sally Van Winkle Campbell, has just written a book on the history of "Pappy" and the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. In the book, she describes the Fiztgerald brand name as coming from a man named John E. Fitzgerald who worked on the premisis of the Old Judge Dsistillery in Frankfort, where Old Fitz was first made. He was the keeper of the keys to the bonded warehouses. He had a favorite group of barrels in each warehouse which contained the best whiskey. Mr. S. Charles Herbst of Milwaukee who owned the distillery, named this "good" whiskey, John E. Fitzgerald. It was produced on a special sour mash formula for exclusive trade, steamship lines, railroads and private clubs. I'm guessing that it was or

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Herbst Old Fitz Mashbill question

    Julian,

    I'm very much looking forward to hearing more about your sister's book. Is there a publication date?

    - chuck


  4. #4
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    Re: Herbst Old Fitz Mashbill question

    Chuck, the book is just out now. She did an incredible job with pictures and digging up history on our family distillery.
    Check out my web site to see about ordering information;
    www.oldripvanwinklle.com
    Julian


  5. #5
    **DONOTDELETE**
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    Re: Herbst Old Fitz Mashbill question

    Julian,
    John sent me the review copy, and it is gorgeous. A good-looking book, well-written, and a slice of life from Limestone Lane. Especially that picture of you in short pants!
    Great book, she should be proud, and you should too.

    Lew Bryson
    Hirsch Reserve 16 YO: Real Pennsylvania Bourbon

  6. #6
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    Re: Herbst Old Fitz Mashbill question

    The following was sent to me via email from Michael Veach, who is unfortunately prevented from logging in to our board by a firewall.

    And I quote:

    "I spent five years as archivist at United Distillers and still work with the Oscar Getz Museum of whiskey History on weekends.
    While at United Distillers, one of the collections in their archives
    was the Julian Van Winkle files from befroe prohibition till about 1937.
    The bulk dates were 1920-1934. One of the items in the collection was a
    contrcat from about 1908 (I am a bit fuzzy to the exact date but it was
    about 1908) in which W. L. Weller and Sons contracts with A. Ph. Stitzel
    distillery to make them some bourbon. The mash bill for this bourbon was
    for a rye recipe bourbon. I always argued that this meant the firm of
    W.L. Weller was not the origin of the wheat recipe as United Distillers
    wanted to claim but came from some other place. My personal belief was
    that it came from A. Ph. Stitzel but it possible that it came from Old
    Fitzgerald. I have never had any pre-prohibition Old Fitzgerald or
    Stitzel bourbon so I can not say for sure which one it was, if indeed it
    was not something Van Winkle, Farnsley and Stitzel created after they
    merged.
    Mike Veach "

    Regards,

    Jim Butler
    StraightBourbon.com

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Herbst Old Fitz Mashbill question

    I have nothing to add to what Mike wrote. I'm just chiming in because I know Mike pretty well and can vouch for him. He is a serious and rigorous historian. He won't say anything unless he has ironclad, contemporary sources to back it up.

    - chuck


  8. #8
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    Re: Herbst Old Fitz Mashbill question

    Can anybody address whethere the Old Fitz mashbill has changed through the years after the Van Winkle family got out of the business?

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Herbst Old Fitz Mashbill question

    I don't know if the mash bill has stayed exactly the same, but the mash bill has continued to have wheat instead of rye as the flavor grain. When Stitzel-Weller was closed in 1992, production moved to the then new Bernheim distillery, then owned by United Distillers. Heaven Hill bought that distillery when they bought the Old Fitzgerald brand and it continues to be made there using wheat.

  10. #10
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    Re: Herbst Old Fitz Mashbill question

    I just found a 1/10 pint of Old Fitz dated 1950 and am so tempted to just open this darn thing and taste it. Kinda cute, though, so I may just look at it for a while and contemplate what life was like with the presence of a Pappy around.

 

 

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