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  1. #1
    Apprentice
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    What's behind the Stitzel Weller praise?

    I'm relatively new to bourbon - really just taking more than a passing interest in the last year or so - and just picked up my 1st bottle of an SW product today.

    I was a bit stoked at the whole idea of snagging a SW bottle -- but then wondered...why? It's actually a product I haven't heard of (David Nicholson 7 year old BIB) - I just bought it because of the DSP KY 16.

    It made me think of my other vice -- cigars -- and the hype around Cuban cigars. After several years, I have come to recognize that a lot of the praise given to Cuban cigars is warranted, but there are also some not-so-good Cuban cigars - especially from certain years, etc. And, conversely, there are also some very good non-Cuban cigars.

    So...to my question....what makes Stitzel Weller bourbon so good? Is it the master distiller? The equipment? The location? The raw ingredients? Is it just the "hard-to-get" factor because the distillery is no more? Or maybe it's a combination of a lot of these things and there's just a sort of intangible "they did things 'right'" about it.

    Is there any not-so-good Stitzel Weller product (and please don't say David Nicholson!)?

    Just trying to learn a little while enjoying my new hobby!

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by plaidford
    ...So...to my question....what makes Stitzel Weller bourbon so good? Is it the master distiller? The equipment? The location? The raw ingredients? Is it just the "hard-to-get" factor because the distillery is no more? Or maybe it's a combination of a lot of these things and there's just a sort of intangible "they did things 'right'" about it...
    All of those things. Serendipity. Most of the whiskey 'pros' will expound the beneficences of the copper in Stitzel-Weller's still. And, of course, the grain recipe's legacy continues today, for it formed the basis of the subsequent success of Maker's Mark (Bill Samuels Sr. got his mashbill from "Pappy" Van Winkle when starting MM).
    For me, it's a lot simpler than that -- I find S-W bourbon remarkably drinkable and flavorful, despite the general perception that wheated bourbons are 'tamer' than rye-recipe ones.
    I'll admit, if Stitzel-Weller still operated, I'd be less inclined to hurry out and buy up what I can find. But I'd still buy it when I ran out. It's worth always having on hand.
    Personally, I have an affinity for the standard S-W brands: W.L. Weller, and Old Fitzgerald (especially the BIB) and its variants. I find Rebel Yell, Cabin Still and David Nicholson to be lesser labels, though certainly drinkable. The current Van Winkle labels that contain DSP-KY-16 whiskey are stellar.
    Tim

  3. #3
    Enthusiast
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    Oct 1999
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    265

    1843

    If that bottle of David Nicholson "1843" is in a squat bottle, it was distilled at the Berhnheim, Heaven Hill Distillery in Louisville, not Stitzel-Weller, even though there is a DSP-16 somewhere on that label.
    Someone at the Gazebo in Bardstown at this year's KY Bourbon Festival had a bottle & it was awful. I'm just guessing the whiskey was made at HH since the owners of 1983 not get their production from there since SW is no longer.
    Julian

  4. #4
    Bad Girl and Bourbonian Of The Year 2012
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    OH....you just burst his bubble! Don't worry....I've been the "queen" of purchasing mistakes......it all still adds flavor in cooking!

    Dawn

  5. #5
    Connoisseur
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    Apr 2006
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    I have that actual bottle from the Gazebo in my liquor cabinet. Now I can tell people that ask about it "Yep this is the bottle Julian Van Winkle reaches for when he's in Bardstown".

    You're right it was very bad. I was however surprised by the Pappy 4 year old, it wasn't too bad for what it was.
    Mark/Nebraska


    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take... but by the moments that take your breath away. 11/25/2004

  6. #6
    Connoisseur
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    I guess I should add, in all seriousness, that I am really enjoying your Rye that I was able to find down there and the Pappy 20 (which is undeniably SW).
    Mark/Nebraska


    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take... but by the moments that take your breath away. 11/25/2004

  7. #7
    Apprentice
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    Dec 2005
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    Overland Park, KS
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    it was awful

    Argh....yes, it is the squat bottle. I was doing some research last night and found a thread in the Collectibles Forum about this very bottle.

    I've "borrowed" a picture from that thread and re-posted here. The bottle I purchase is just like the one on the right in both pics, with the "This Whiskey is 7 Years Old" wording on it.

    You can see on the back label: "Distilled by Old Fitzgerald Distillery DSP-KY-16" Then, on the next line: "Bottled by David Nicholson Distillery Co DSP-MO-16"

    Again, I'm relatively new to this -- and not questioning you, certainly -- but how do they still use the DSP-KY-16 on their label? My impression, from another recent thread, is that the DSP number stays with the still. The other thread indicates that the Bernheim still is 17.

    Now trying to learn from my mistake. "Argh" again!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    Enthusiast
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    Eastern MA
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    Quote Originally Posted by plaidford
    So...to my question....what makes Stitzel Weller bourbon so good? Is it the master distiller? The equipment? The location? The raw ingredients? Is it just the "hard-to-get" factor because the distillery is no more? Or maybe it's a combination of a lot of these things and there's just a sort of intangible "they did things 'right'" about it.
    Stitzel Weller bourbon, for me, has a glorious richness and full flavor, while retaining a soft velvety quality. It is a beast in a prom gown. Is it more fabled because it is a closed distillery? Perhaps. But the hype is deserved. If you keep your eyes open you will occationally come across a real S/W on the shelf. Don't pass it by, it is marvelous.
    Mike

    "You're the best bourbon drinkers ever!" - Margo (waitress at Bourbon's Bistro in Louisville)

  9. #9
    Virtuoso
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    Apr 2005
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    1,394
    Quote Originally Posted by plaidford
    I've "borrowed" a picture from that thread and re-posted here.
    This is the link to the original posting for background.

    I would _guess_ that Julian's comments may refer to the newer bottle, but not the older, but I don't really have any idea of when Sherman's supply of SW ran out. Looks like a sampling of the two may be in order

    Roger

  10. #10
    Apprentice
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    Overland Park, KS
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    Roger -- thanks for the link -- hope you don't mind that I borrowed your pics. I actually purchased by bottle at Berbiglia in Liberty, MO - so, not far from where you found yours. They had 4 bottles on the shelf -- 3 without the 7 year expression and 1 with it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Nebraska
    I have that actual bottle from the Gazebo in my liquor cabinet.

    Mark -- I wonder if your bottle from the Gazebo has the "This whiskey is 7 years old" quote in red on it?

    Brad

 

 

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