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Thread: Hill and Hill

  1. #1
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    Hill and Hill

    During the 1950s through '70s was Hill and Hill a National Distributors product? My guess has been that it came from the Old Grand-Dad distillery.

    I'm trying to get an understanding of the "little brother" bottlings of the flagship bourbons Grand-Dad, Taylor, and Crow.

    -Roger

  2. #2

    Re: Hill and Hill

    Here's a link to a Hill & Hill label (I don't know the 'vintage'):
    http://homepage3.nifty.com/bourbon_c...illAndHill.htm

    and here is a listing of National Distillers brands/trademarks, which includes Hill & Hill at the very top:
    http://www.bottlebooks.com/American%...s_products.htm

  3. #3
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    Re: Hill and Hill

    I thought the name "Autumn Wind" was particularly evocative. We don't see names like that anymore.

    Gary

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Hill and Hill

    I was involved with Beam when they merged with National and I recall that Hill and Hill was still in the portfolio at that time. Beam sold some of the brands, the ones anyone whould buy, and simply discontinued a lot of them. National literally had dozens of regional and distributor brands.

  5. #5
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    Re: Hill and Hill

    I found that Hill and Hill was a Louisville/Shively area distillery in an industrial area near Early Times, within sight of Seagram's, Yellowstone, and the "original" Bernheim plant, according to John and Linda Lipman's site:

    http://www.ellenjaye.com/shively.htm#top
    From here, Mike drives us to an industrial area where we turn down a short gravel access road to a parking area where we can see, all around us, no less than four plants that had once been well-known bourbon distilleries. Directly in front of us stands a group of buildings where people are going in and out to work. Whatever the buildings are being used for today, this was once the site of Hill and Hill, a well-known bourbon distillery that John remembers from as recently as maybe twenty-five years ago. Mike explains that they had both brick and iron-clad warehouses, and examples of both are still standing. The iron-clads are obviously abandoned, but the brick buildings appear to be in use.
    I would guess that Hill and Hill remained at that plant as long as the name was in use, so it wouldn't be a "little brother" in the way that Sunny Brook was at the Old Crow/Grand-Dad distillery in the '60s to '80s.

    -Roger

  6. #6
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    Re: Hill and Hill

    The Hill and Hill distillery is in Shively off Bernheim Lane right behind the old Seagram's distillery and just south of the original Bernheim Distillery. The distillery is being used now to make industrial alcohol by re-distilling alcohol from other distilleries. This includes bottles and barrels of bourbon from just about every distillery.

    Mike Veach

  7. #7
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    Re: Hill and Hill

    I am surprised redistilling still occurs in the sense of low-proof distillate being taken off-site to make rectified alcohol in another plant. This is an old practice going back to the mid-1800's but at the time, many distilleries did not have stills that could get proof over 160 or often less. The old three-chambered beer still was like that and so were many early column stills (not to mention the original pot stills). A rectification column was needed to make high proof spirit and not every plant had one. But today with so few distilleries existing and those being large operations, which does not have a still capable of distilling to 194 proof, i.e., if it was intended to operate it for that purpose? Don't all the distilleries make rectified alcohol anyway, e.g., Heaven Hill for vodka and various spirits requiring same? (Maybe Maker's Mark is an exception). Or can it be all distilleries can make spirit to any proof they want but it does not pay them to take up some of the low-proof (for bourbon) production time and thus they send it out for redistilling? I find this puzzling but no doubt there is an answer and Michael knows it!

    Gary

  8. #8
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    Re: Hill and Hill

    Gary,
    The answer is quite simple - this is not beverage alcohol that they make. The alcohol is used for everything from fuel additives to cosmetics, but not drinking.

    Mike Veach

  9. #9
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    Re: Hill and Hill

    Gary,
    This is interesting and I need to ask around here to get more information. I know that we installed a "light whiskey still" 20 - 25 years ago. Light whiskey was really little more than extremely high proof whiskey (too high to be bourbon - max 160 proof - and too low to be vodka). The idea was to make an aged whiskey with a very slight whiskey taste (which was okay since people wanted to mix it with Coke or some other jiuce). Anyway, we produce Rain Vodka in our still for about 2 weeks out of the year.

    Ken

  10. #10

    Re: Hill and Hill

    ...Light whiskey was really little more than extremely high proof whiskey (too high to be bourbon - max 160 proof - and too low to be vodka). The idea was to make an aged whiskey with a very slight whiskey taste (which was okay since people wanted to mix it with Coke or some other jiuce)...
    Ken
    Now, I find THAT interesting. I've never seen a practical definition of 'light' whiskey before. I have a couple of 200ml bottles of Colonel Lee Light Whiskey (Barton) from the strip-seal era that I use in marinade, an occasional Manhattan, et al. I've seen it in just a handful of places.

 

 

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