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  1. #1
    Advanced Taster
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    Nov 1999
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    Eugene, Oregon, USA
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    Unfamiliar bourbons

    Oregon (where I live) not exactly being known as Bourbon Country, I've taken to looking outside my area for new things to try. I recently encountered a place that offered a number of bourbons I'd never seen before, namely:

    Bourbontown Club 12 YO
    Kentucky Pride 10 YO
    Kentucky Vintage
    Pure Kentucky XO
    Rowan's Creek 12 YO
    Stillbrook 4 YO

    Anybody have information or opinions on any of these? Can't seem to find any distillery info on any of them, nor much in the way of tasting notes or opinions of quality. Any opinions or facts in either regard would be much appreciated (as would any leads on where to order Four Roses over the 'Net; No, I'm not holding my breath).

    Ryan Stotz


  2. #2
    **DONOTDELETE**
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    Re: Unfamiliar bourbons

    Hi Ryan!

    Kentucky Vintage, Pure Kentucky XO, and Rowan's Creek (along with Noah's Mill, which you didn't mention) are all marketed by the same outfit. According to Julian Van Winkle (in a message in this discussion forum), they're bottled by Evan Kulsvein, possibly at the old Willett distillery just up the hill from Heaven Hill. It's likely that some of these were the remnants of the old Willett stock, but most folks think Heaven Hill makes the whiskey now being sold under those labels. I've tried all of them, and I really don't see much similarity, except maybe Kentucky Vintage. All are a bit overpriced (but not really any more than other "small batch" brands). Rowan's Creek is one of my all-time favorite bourbons, and Pure Kentucky XO is another. I'd really like to know a lot more about these labels and the people who market them, but there is almost no information available.

    -John Lipman-
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  3. #3
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    Re: Unfamiliar bourbons

    I suspected as much re: the Kentucky Vintage, Pure Kentucky XO and Rowan's Creek. Just had my first taste of Willett whiskey last week with the Johnny Drum 15 YO and I'm sold, to say the least. I've now had one vote for and one vote against the Rowan's Creek, but I know that eventually I'll break down and try all of the above. The order I'm about to place is already over the $200.00 mark, so these can wait for now. Is the Willett stock really so low that they're using Heaven Hill stock now? My Johnny Drum still says it was distilled in Bardstown...hmmm, perhaps I ought to stock up?

    Ryan Stotz


  4. #4
    The Boss
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    Location
    Northern CA
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    Re: Unfamiliar bourbons

    These same folks (Kentucky Bourbon Distillers ... ex-Willet) also bottle John Fitch and Noah's Mill. Apparently most of what they bottle is Heaven Hill stock (and a few others), though distilling is alledged to be in the works there now; Julian would probably know.


    Regards,

    Jim Butler
    StraightBourbon.com

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Chicago
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    Re: Unfamiliar bourbons

    Evan has been threatening/promising to turn that distillery on for about 10 years. He is, I think, Norwegian, some Scandinavian origin. The spelling is Kulsveen, I believe. His wife is a Willet. Nice people. Kentucky Distillers doesn't show up on the annual KDA list of who has bourbon aging, so presumably he's buying what he needs and bottling it immediately. That tells me the Willet stock is long gone. Evan's business traditionally was mostly export, but I guess he is getting more and more domestic distribution, although some of these products he is just bottling for others, who are actually doing the marketing. Johnny Drum and Pure Kentucky he has had for awhile. He could be buying whiskey from Heaven Hill or Barton, both of which are in Bardstown.

    - chuck


  6. #6
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Unfamiliar bourbons

    I believe if you had Johnny Drum you had the real stuff. I don't believe that's been continued past the point where the old stock ran out. If you can get more, you should. I'd sure buy a bottle from you!

    -John Lipman-
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  7. #7
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    Re: Unfamiliar bourbons

    This is a relief. After reading reports of Willett whiskey being dried up, I was afraid I had actually not acquired Willett stock, but I can rest easy now. The 15 YO I ordered was beyond-words good, firmly in my upper echelon of bourbons with the Hirsch 16 YO, Old Rip 15 YO, Elmer T. Lee, et.al.; if the 12 YO I just ordered is half as good I'll consider it $11.00 well spent. The place I order from (Randall's in Something Heights, Illinois) doesn't seem to be too low, so you might want to buy a bottle from them. Even though I could get more, I don't think I could live with the symbolic implications of parting with my own stash to sell to anyone. Loony, I know, but this is no ordinary bourbon.

    Ryan Stotz


  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Unfamiliar bourbons

    For anyone who is interested, Randall's has an online store called Internet Wines & Spirits. They are located in a suburb of St. Louis on the Illinois side of the river.

    - chuck


  9. #9
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Unfamiliar bourbons

    I hate you. You know that, don't you? You and Chuck Cowdery both.
    Now I'm going to have to find yet another place on yet another wall to put up yet another shelf to hold the four new bottles of bourbon I've just ordered to add to the collection. Thanks a LOT, fellas!

    Seriously, I really do thank you for turning me on to Randall's (and Chuck for giving the URL). They sure do have a great selection (even though several brands are not really available). I ordered both ages of Johnnie Drum, a bottle of Joseph Finch and a bottle of Kentucky Pride.

    The $11.00 price on the Johnnie Drum 12-year-old leaves me with two thoughts:

    (1) At that price, this probably is NOT original Willett whiskey, and
    (2) The fact that you've already tasted this and loved it so much confirms my opinion that Evan Kulsveen must be doing SOMETHING very right. Like I said before, two of his whiskeys are among my all-time favorites. I can't WAIT for my order to arrive!!

    -John Lipman-
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  10. #10
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: Unfamiliar bourbons

    Eh, I've been hated by better.

    I'm really trying to hold back from ordering more from Randall's/Internet Wines & Spirits, but each day I feel my resolve breaking down further. $39.00 Booker's just doesn't come around everyday - at least not in Oregon. The Johnny Drum and the entire Bourbon Heritage Collection don't ever come around in Oregon; our state-monopoly liquor board doesn't carry them. In short, they've been a life saver and aside from them being out of some very tantalizing items (that I shouldn't be buying right now anyway), I've got nothing but good things to say about them.

    I too am curious about the Johnny Drum 12 YO, but the 15 YO was only $17.50, so maybe it's possible Willett stuff is still in there...but I'm not holding out hope. The 15 YO was good enough to merit taking a chance (and already ordering another bottle of the 15 YO). Thing is, as long as it's half as good as the 15 YO, I couldn't care less whose whiskey it is.

    Ryan Stotz


 

 

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