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Thread: Antique Bourbon

  1. #1
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    Antique Bourbon

    > I found a bottle of Bourbon in my family home while cleaning out my father's liquor cabinet. It is in beautiful bottle and the label is Antique Bourbon Distilled by Frankfort Distilling, Louisville, KY.
    > Is there any history to this bottle or should I just enjoy drinking it?? I have sampled it and it is very smooth.
    > Thanks for your help.


    Mike O

  2. #2
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    Re: Antique Bourbon

    If you've already sampled it, you have pretty much taken it out of the resale market. But don't feel bad, because there isn't really any resale market, or much of one. "Antique" is not a well known brand. If it is Frankfort Distilling, but with the Louisville address, then it probably is "medicinal" whiskey bottled and sold during Prohibition. Nothing different about the whiskey, but that was the only way whiskey could legally be sold in those dark, old days. Frankfort Distilling was a Frankfort, Kentucky, company but (and here I'm surmising a little) their products were sold by a Louisville consolidation warehouse, probably American Medicinal Spirits, during prohibition. I don't have an exact track on Frankfort's history, but that's a logical trajectory.

    Enjoy it!

    --Chuck Cowdery

  3. #3
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    Re: Antique Bourbon

    Mike, you've done exactly the right thing by sampling it. As Chuck points out, there isn't really any collector's value for old bourbon, and wouldn't have been even if it were unopened. In fact, depending on just how ornate and beautiful that bottle really is, it may be worth more empty than full! That's because it's tricky to sell full bottles due to legal concerns, but empty ones get pretty good prices on auctions such as eBay. Check it out (do a search on "whiskey bottles")and you'll see what they're selling for.

    Actually, Antique survived a long time after prohibition, although it isn't being made today. I have a bottle that I don't think is all that old. It has a federal tax stamp (at least I think it is; it might be just a seal), but the contents are measured in metric, so it can't be real old. I'd guess around 1980. The label says it's 6 years old and "Distilled in the Slow Old Fashioned Way". It also says it was distilled by Frankfort Distilling Co. at Athertonville, Kentucky (?). Chuck or Mike, I've never heard of that plant; do you know anything about it?

    As for value, Mark Mason picked this one up for me at his favorite out-in-the-woods liquor store for a whole $2.50 (200 ml size). The empty bottle's probably worth five!


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

  4. #4
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    Re: Antique Bourbon

    John:

    <blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>

    Actually, Antique survived a long time after prohibition, although it isn't being made today. I have a bottle that I don't think is all that old. It has a federal tax stamp (at least I think it is; it might be just a seal), but the contents are measured in metric, so it can't be real old. I'd guess around 1980. The label says it's 6 years old and "Distilled in the Slow Old Fashioned Way". It also says it was distilled by Frankfort Distilling Co. at Athertonville, Kentucky (?). Chuck or Mike, I've never heard of that plant; do you know anything about it?

    <hr></blockquote>

    Odd how both these bottles were distilled by Frankfort Distilling Co., yet mine (bottled in 1962) clearly states it was distilled at Four Roses. Not a famous brand, granted, but I'd be curious to know any history since my searches have turned up next to nothing from the usual suspects.

    Stotz




  5. #5
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    Re: Antique Bourbon

    Antique Bourbon is one of the major brands for Frankfort Distillery, Inc. This company was founded in 1902 when several rectifying companies merged. Their portfolio included Old Oscar Pepper, Mattingly and Moore and Antique brands. Their distillery was near the forks of the Elkhorn creek near Frankfort but their main sales office was in Louisville. In 1920 they were one of the six companies to receive a permit to sell medicinal whiskey. In 1922 the Paul Jones Company acquired Frankfort Distillery but changed its name to Frankfort Distillery, Inc. to maintain the permit to sell whiskey during prohibition. This added Paul Jones and Four Roses brands to the portfolio. In 1933 the company bought the old Stitzel Distillery on Main Street in Louisville when Stitzel-Weller was formed in Shively. In 1943 Lawrence Jones died and the company was sold to Joseph E. Seagram & Sons. In the 1960's Seagram dissolved the company. The distillery on Main Street was closed in the 1950's and the Four Roses Distillery in Shively was closed in the 1960's.
    Mike Veach


  6. #6
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    Re: Antique Bourbon

    Well, it looks as though my little bottle is older than I thought. I've attached a scan to this message. Where in the history do you think this fits, Mike? And just where is Athertonville, anyway? Is that the area just south of Lawrenceburg where Four Roses is located?

    Oh, and I was wrong about the price, too. It was $2.90, not two fifty. By the way, if you look at the photo, whoever wrote the price on the label also wrote down a phone number... all four digits! Maybe that says something about the age?

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

  7. #7
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    Re: Antique Bourbon

    John,
    The Athertonville Distillery is south of Bardstown on 31E. The distillery is still there along the road to Hodgensville. It was a distillery owned by Seagrams for many years (Footnote: Ova Haney started at the Athertonville distillery the same year Ed Foote started at the McKenna Distillery in Fairfield, Ky.) and was part of a the Seagrams operation that included distilleries in Louisville, Lawrenceburg, Fairfield and Athertonville. This distillery was closed in the early 1980's. Your bottle is dated to about the same time as the closing of the distillery because it is a metric bottle (200 ml) and the switch to metric began in 1979 and was completed by 1981 or so. The earliest metric bottles had fluid ounces listed beside the metric measurement. The Frankfort Distillery name comes from a DBA (Doing Business As) designation that is used in the industry to keep old brands associated with their original manufacturing company. Frankfort Distillery existed only on paper by the time that bourbon was bottled.
    Mike Veach


  8. #8
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    Re: Antique Bourbon

    Thanks for the info. This bottle is a carafe type with a large glass stopper, the base of which is wrapped in cork to seal it.
    The bottle had already been opened when I found it. It has the US International Revenue Distilled Spirits bottle stamp on it
    and a State of Indiana 1/5 of a gallon spirituous beverage stamp. My father's home was in Indiana as is mine. Thanks again
    for the info. I think I will finish it off and fill it with something good like Maker's Mark or any other suggestions??
    Mike O.

    Mike O

  9. #9
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    Re: Antique Bourbon

    W.L.Weller's Antique of course!

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  10. #10
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    Re: Antique Bourbon

    Mike,
    I agree with Linn, Weller Antique has always been one of my favorite bourbons. If you want to keep the Frankfort distillery line in the bottle the best thing would be Four Roses Single Barrel.
    Mike Veach


 

 

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