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Thread: I.W. Harper

  1. #21
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    I don't believe S-W ever made rye recipe bourbon, hence no Harper from there.

    When Mike says Bernheim (the Astor/Belmont names are really ancient history) had not operated for "some years" my guess would be less than ten. What was then Schenley sold Ancient Age (i.e., Buffalo Trace) in something like 83. During the 80s it was mostly drawing from stocks, there being an industry-wide glut, but did fill in with some whiskey made under contract by Age and Brown-Forman (i.e., Early Times). I have it on good authority that part of the decision to build the new Bernheim was based on a desire to duplicate the whiskey they were getting from Brown-Forman.

    So, figuring out where a given bottle of Harper or Charter from that period was distilled is damn near impossible and, in fact, a given bottling may well have included whiskey from several sources.

    It may also be worth noting that whiskey matures rather slowly in the brick warehouses at Bernheim, to the point that Heaven Hill won't even use them. They have brandy aging in them, but no whiskey. While Heaven Hill doesn't like this now, it may have been a good thing during the glut era, preventing well-aged whiskey from becoming too woody.

  2. #22
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    I know that S-W is believed not to have made rye-recipe bourbon but Hedmans said the profile of the Harper 12 year old seemed very un-rye-like and suggested that maybe the 12 year old version came from S-W. In view of the multiplicity of possible sources for Harper at that time the brand owners may not have been too concerned about sourcing a special version from stocks of wheat-recipe whiskey; but anyway this is all speculation. Interesting too (per Chuck's book) that the Harper trade mark was well-established before Bernheim built his distillery in Shively. He must have gotten the whiskey from different sources before.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 05-20-2006 at 08:34.

  3. #23
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    Bernheim, like many others, began in the business as a distributor and only later built a distillery.

    I would not discount the possibility that, somewhere along the line, Schenley was combining S-W wheated bourbon with rye-recipe bourbon from other sources to make Harper, though I find it unlikely that Harper was ever entirely a wheated bourbon. It is possible, however, that at some point it was an actual four-grain bourbon.

    When bourbon first began to become popular in Japan, sometime in the early 1980s or perhaps a little earlier, the leading brand there was I. W. Harper. The high price it commanded there, even as it was declining (in popularity and price) here led to "grey market" exporting, in which entrepreneurs would buy it at wholesale or even retail in the U.S. and ship it to Japan for resale. This led to its removal by Schenley from the market in most of the U.S.

    How I. W. Harper came to be the brand that led the way among bourbons in Japan is unknown to me and I would appreciate any insights.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery
    I have it on good authority that part of the decision to build the new Bernheim was based on a desire to duplicate the whiskey they were getting from Brown-Forman.
    Well, that's a bit of synchronicity!

    I was just setting out bottles of 1970s quarts of Early Times and Old Charter, and a circa 1980 Harper BIB 750ml to take to Doug's tonight when I paused to read this thread. I have been trying for some time to get a tasting of low-rye bourbons onto the D-Day schedule to no avail, but I now feel tonight is the night.

    I'm not sure that the dates line up correctly, bu the thought that all of these may be the same whiskey (or rather whisky) from Shively 354 is an interesting thought.

    Roger

  5. #25
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    Link to the thread where Mike Veach tells me that Harper Presidentīs Reserve is a S-W product.

    He also informs us that between 1989 and 1992 Harper was made both by Brown-Forman and Stitzel Weller. The source is one Mike Wright.

    http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbth...?t=4476&page=4
    Delighted to see you if you can find me!

  6. #26
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    Roger sorry, what is the distillery of manufacture marked on your Harper BIB and when was it made?

    Gary

  7. #27
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    Is there both a Harper's President's Reserve AND a Hancock's President's Reserve? I guess there really is. I had always thought that it was a typo, but now it looks like a good case to take money out of a couple of distilleries pockets and into some lawyers pockets in the Ridgewood/Woodford tradition.

    Here is the BT product Hancock's PR, which could easily be/have been SW whiskey. I wonder if that is what Mike Veach meant.

    My understanding had always been that Harper and Charter were at the lowest end of rye content of ryed bourbons, but adding wheat whiskey would make an even lower rye content.

    Could it....no surely not... but could it be..... that SW AND ET whisk(e)y went into the SAME VAT and made...4-grain bourbon?????????? Shazamm!

    Roger

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman
    Roger sorry, what is the distillery of manufacture marked on your Harper BIB and when was it made?
    Gary
    Check out This post. The first "Lousiville" paragraph discusses the Harper.

    Roger

    PS to Gary: Why are you sorry?

  9. #29
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    Thanks Roger. Reason I said "sorry" was you said "Shively 354" and I thought, well, if that is where that BIB was made, I shouldn't ask you again. I didn't understand the reference to Shively 354 but I see now at any rate that the Harper BIB was made at Bernheim and presumably in a period before the '91 rebuild when it was distilling (since distilling wasn't continuous there). Speaking of DSP No. 1, the old Belmont plant, on the gift Randy gave me of a full bottle of Belmont Bourbon (18 years old, distilled apparently in '99 - that's 1899 folks), the distillery number stated is not 1, but rather 412. The label has the well-known bell logo and appears to be from that original Belmont distillery, it states 5th district, but says "Registered Distillery No. 412, Louisville, KY". The drink itself is very interesting: clearly very old (the lead seal looked completely genuine as did the aged mottled cork), clearly a strong liquor but not tasting of bourbon or whiskey as we know it today. The most prominent taste is caramel-like and the drink is quite mild-flavored but perfumed at the same time. It may have changed in the bottle. It is an amazing artifact to have survived so long and I am very grateful to Randy for gifting it to me in the interests of historical research.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 05-20-2006 at 13:18.

  10. #30
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by Rughi

    Here is the BT product Hancock's PR, which could easily be/have been SW whiskey. I wonder if that is what Mike Veach meant.

    Roger
    Mike Veach is a serious and accomplished researcher of these and other historical matters and I do not believe he would have made such a mistake. And if he had, he would have corrected it, quickly.

    Tim
    Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur

 

 

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