I am making this post because there is a lot of interest in the Rare Bourbon Collection from United Distillers. I was there when the concept for this collection was originated and one of my last projects was the research for the labels.
The idea of the Rare Bourbon Collection came from Scotland and the Rare Malt Collection that was being bottled there. The rare malts were malts from distilleries that had been closed and their malts would never be made again. The idea was to bottle these whiskies and sell them at a high price because they were products that would never again be available on the market. My boss at U.D. was well travelled in Britain and he had seen these products at whisky tastings. He found out that there were three barrels of Blue Ribbon Bourbon made at the Schenley distillery at Ekron, Ky. sitting in the Bernheim warehouse. He wanted to bottle this rare bourbon and treat it in the same way as the rare scotches were being marketed. It was a great idea but then the yankees in Connecticut got a hold of the idea. They did not like the idea that there were only three barrels (as far as I know those barrels are still in the warehouse) and wanted a brand with larger volume. They also were not too particular about where the whiskey really came from. They had us research several old Schenley and Stitzel-Weller brands and they would pick the "story" they thought was most interesting to sell to the public. They picked up on the Henry Clay and Finch labels. They did pick some old whiskey that was made for expired brands put it in these bottles. The bourbon for Finch if I remember right came from the Old Quaker distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana while the Clay whiskey was from another expired Schenley label. They were rare bourbons but not the bourbons they claimed to be because the marketing people up north changed the original concept.
The real history of Finch is that it was a Pennsylvania rye and one of the original Schenley brands. They continued to make this brand up into the late 1970's and sometimes made a bourbon to put into that label. Henry Clay on the other hand was one of the brands sold by James E. Pepper. He actually owned two distilleries in the Lexington area - James E. Pepper in Lexington and the Henry Clay distillery in the county. They were known at the time as the "Big Pepper and the Little Pepper" distilleries. The Henry Clay distillery was dismantled during prohibition but the Henry Clay label passed on to Schenley who continued to bottle it until the 1960's for a regional market.