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Thread: Old Blacksmith

  1. #1
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    Old Blacksmith

    Beeing an avid single malt whisky drinker, I have only too recently discovered the wonders of bourbon. My problem now is I'm getting a bit confused over a bottle that was given to me by a friend who bought it in Germany. I haven't been able to find anything about it on the internet, so I hope someone here can fill me in on this one.

    The brand is Old Blacksmith and is claimed to be distilled and shipped by Willow Springs Distilling Company Ltd, San Fransisco.

    Anyone...?

  2. #2
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    Re: Old Blacksmith

    BB,

    I'm glad you stopped by, and I hope you'll stick around.

    Would you mind providing the exact verbiage from the label? I will be surprised if it says "Distilled by.." in reference to the company that bottles it. If words such as "Willow Springs Distillery" appear in isolation, that would be less surprising. Many a non-existent distillery is commemorated on a bourbon label.

    Come to think of it, I've been to Willow Springs Raceway (closer to Rosamond than S.F.) a couple of times, and the springs are pretty much non-existent, too.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  3. #3
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    Re: Old Blacksmith

    Ok then, prepare to be surprised... This is what is says:

    --------------------------------------------------

    Kentucky

    Old Blacksmith

    American Straight Bourbon Whiskey

    This Bourbon Whiskey has been carefully selected for its fine flavor and quality.

    Distilled and shipped by Willow Springs Distilling Ltd, San Fransisco/CAL.

    --------------------------------------------------

    On the side of the label it says:

    --------------------------------------------------

    This Bourbon Whiskey has captured the old tradition of a Blacksmith's business. After itīs done, the Blacksmith and the rider had their special kind of smokey Bourbon with the soft and smooth flavor like ours. That's what we say: Enjoy a Blacksmith and make a good thing even better. The horseshoe means good luck to you.

    --------------------------------------------------

    Beeing from Sweden I'm probably not the best judge of "marketing english", but that to me sounds like it's been translated from another language (german?).

  4. #4
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    Chuck... Bobby... Anyone... HELP!!!

    Very well, I am surprised (and obviously mistaken -- not an infrequent occurrence). It seems that I stepped on what I merely thought was home plate. (A little baseball humor, from the days when the game was sometimes played in any available cow pasture. )

    Now I need to revisit some of the bottlings on my cupboard to review the wording in those cases where a fictitious distillery is cited.

    I suspect you are correct about the source of the stilted English. Of course, the only other language of which I have any knowledge is Latin, and even that familiarity is all but gone. (If a person who speaks two languages is called "bilingual", what is a person who speaks only one language? Answer: A born American)

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  5. #5
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    Re: Chuck... Bobby... Anyone... HELP!!!

    I'm probably the last person you want advice from, but it sounds like this is bourbon distilled outside of Kentucky, given that the label says "American Straight Bourbon" instead of "Kentucky Straight Bourbon". I remember reading about some smaller, experimental whiskey distilleries on the West Coast. Could this have come from one of them?

  6. #6
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    Re: Chuck... Bobby... Anyone... HELP!!!

    Willow Springs was a distillery in Louisville before 1920. See the name in the alphabetical index and some associated brands at www.pre-pro.com (resource for whiskey shot glasses and related information). There was a whiskey called Willow Springs Bourbon and a Queen Rye made by the same company. Interestingly, one of these brands shows an Oakland, CA address, so maybe Californians owned the Louisville company and/or were the agents for sales in CA. I did not check Old Blacksmith in the index at pre-pro.com but that name is not listed under the Willow Springs entry. Could this bottle sourced in Germany be prewar stock? Seems unlikely. Maybe a modern Kentucky distillery acquired the Willow Springs plant and related trade marks many years ago and uses them for exports like this one or special contract items. Hard to say. I doubt it is a local (micro) distiller in California, if it is though it would be exciting to know bourbon is being made by a small plant out West. Perhaps a close-up photo of the bottle (both sides) could give more information which could unlock the puzzle.

    Gary

  7. #7
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    Re: Chuck... Bobby... Anyone... HELP!!!

    This is getting wierder by the minute... I am now trying to locate the german company listed as importer on the label (Ylldal Import), but that company is as illusive as their bourbon. It is not in any current local or national german phone book or company listing.

    Is it possible that this is just a fake label slapped on some russian moonshine...?


    Since noone seems to know what it is, I've adressed the trading comission in Hamburg, Germany, to try to locate the importer. Maybe that way I can finally find out what this is. Because it really is a very nice bourbon...

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: Chuck... Bobby... Anyone... HELP!!!

    If Distilleries do not want you to know who's bourbon is in that bottle. You will not know.

    Several distilleries sell bulk bourbon. Distilleries also run product without a face label. Generic wrap...Litterally, shipped out without a face label for a private label to be affixed to it later.

    There's bourbon out there everywhere. As William stated...only the bourbon produced in Kentucky can put the words Kentucky Straight Bourbon on the label. That will get you one step closer to the maker's of product. DSP# are excellent source of identification. It takes a bit to find out who is who but it's a absolute source about who's bourbon is inside a bottling. It's mandatory (Federal Law) on BIB...Bourbon Whiskey, is a American Spirit. Any other county, it's called whiskey.

    Gary is right about bourbon label from California...On the data base (on the front page, Straightbourbon.com, brands) there is a bourbon listed as Jim Grant, Gaetano CA .

    Bettye Jo

  9. #9
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    Re: Chuck... Bobby... Anyone... HELP!!!

    > I remember reading about some smaller, experimental whiskey distilleries
    > on the West Coast. Could this have come from one of them?

    I looked at the USPTO website, and there are no trademarks registered
    for Old Blacksmith or Willow Springs Distilling... any reputable distillery
    would probably register their trademarks, so I'm guessing it's not
    a microdistiller.

    Tim Dellinger

  10. #10
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    Re: Chuck... Bobby... Anyone... HELP!!!

    Ok, I've taken some pictures of the labels. I hope it helps you guys. The upside to this problem is that I'm learning a lot of new stuff, so even if we never manage to resolve this one I am very thankful for all your help!!!

    Anyway, here they are, for your viewing pleasure...(?)
    Attached Images Attached Images

 

 

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