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silverfish

"Is Bonded Bourbon Really Too Strong?"

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silverfish

Doing some searching on-line and came

across this 1953 TIME magazine piece

by J. P. Van Winkle:

[edit - can a mod move this to History forum? thanks.]

(source - tinyurl.com/ygsbn9c)

fitztime08171953096m5.jpg

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funknik

Awesome clipping -- thanks!

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sailor22

Great post - thanks

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Lost Pollito

Number 2 is awesome. :grin:

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DeanSheen

I'm getting to the point where 80pf tastes like water, or a light drink.

I think 100 is about perfect these days.

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callmeox

Very cool find. Thanks for sharing.

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unclebunk

Very interesting clipping, particularly #5. Thanks for posting it. Remember when your first sips of 90 proof whiskey seemed like genuine firewater? Next thing you know, even barrel strength seems reasonable. Funny how you get used to the higher octane juice over time.

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hectic1
Very interesting clipping, particularly #5. Thanks for posting it. Remember when your first sips of 90 proof whiskey seemed like genuine firewater? Next thing you know, even barrel strength seems reasonable. Funny how you get used to the higher octane juice over time.

I remember the 90 proofer tasting like firewater...I still get a funny look from my neighbors when they see me drinking bourbon neat. I don't know that I can say that the barrel strength seems reasonable though as about the highest I go is 107 and that being ORVW 10/107 and Pappy 15. Anything higher then that I would most likely still cut.

Great article...thanks for posting!

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sku

Great find. I like that the difference between 9 drinks and 10 is a small difference to the man with "moderate intentions." I'd say our definition of moderation has certainly changed.

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unclebunk
I remember the 90 proofer tasting like firewater...I still get a funny look from my neighbors when they see me drinking bourbon neat. I don't know that I can say that the barrel strength seems reasonable though as about the highest I go is 107 and that being ORVW 10/107 and Pappy 15. Anything higher then that I would most likely still cut.

I get the same looks from people when I drink bourbon neat, especially when I'm swigging directly from the bottle.:lol: Perhaps the word "reasonable" isn't quite right with regard to barrel strength juice, as I tend to cut it a bit too for various reasons, but I no longer have any problem drinking high octane bourbon straight and that sort of surprises me when I look back and consider that Maker's Mark once seemed strong to me.

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OscarV
Awesome clipping -- thanks!

Ditto!

I'm getting to the point where 80pf tastes like water, or a light drink.

Double ditto!

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funknik
I'm getting to the point where 80pf tastes like water, or a light drink.

I think 100 is about perfect these days.

Ditto, BUT . . . I recently tried 4R Yellow Label for the first time and I'll drink that stuff anytime -- very delicious -- I don't even miss those extra proof points.

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cowdery

Pappy did a long series of ads like that, although that particular one I've never seen before. Based on the way he positions it at the end, I wonder if it was made especially for Fortune or some other business publication.

Bill Samuels did a series of similar small ads in the Wall Street Journal for Maker's Mark in the 80s and doesn't mind admitting that he was inspired by this series of Pappy's.

People often ask what was so remarkable about Stitzel-Weller. It wasn't just the whiskey.

Pappy had another popular saying on this particular subject. He used to say that if you wanted to have water with your bourbon you should pour the water into the glass first, then add the bourbon. That way you would be making a poor thing better rather than a fine thing worse.

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Rughi

I'm glad to see Pappy's point that adding water at the last second is quite different than watering down the spirit at bottling.

Every time I see someone mocking those who buy high proof bottlings I think of how much better it is to add the water just prior to drinking. That moment of the swirly chemical reaction is entertaining as well as the mark of flavors and aromas that are having their fleeting moment of blooming right when you are about to drink.

Roger

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shoshani

I like Pappy's line about pointing out the error of "such a friend"'s ways. Makes it sound like he's taking the opportunity to make a friendship rather than drive a potential customer away.

That being said, While this Old Fitzgerald BIB ad was being run, Stitzel-Weller was also producing Cabin Still, which ran anywhere from 90 to 93 proof at any given time. All the distilleries, while having 100 proof BIB flagships, were also making lower-proof second-tier whiskey as well as blends.

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IronHead

I bet the original draft of this ad went something like this:

Is Bonded Bourbon Really Too Strong?

I sometimes meet up with a man who claims he "just can't take Bonded Bourbon at 100 proof."

When I do, I wonder how much he really knows about whiskey.

Some of the things I usually like to point out to such a friend are:

1. PUT DOWN YOUR PURSE AND PICK UP YOUR WHISKEY GLASS, SALLY!

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Gillman

Of course, Pappy was right. He is saying that higher proofs are better value and 100 proof happens to be a balance point ("PBP"), where you get full flavour despite using ice or a mix (i.e., the drink is not too diluted) - so a win-win however you drink liquor.

Same applies to 140 proof, reduce it to 100 for the PBP if you dilute with ice or mix, otherwise get a bargain and then dilute to whatever you like normally or suits that bourbon.

The converse of what Pappy was saying is there is no magic in whiskey sold above 100 proof when drunk neat, not even for whiskey sold above 80 unless you use a lot of ice and mix. It does not inherently taste better over 100 proof when you drink it neat or even 80 proof, it depends how you like it. I would argue high proof (over 90 or so) takes away from whiskey flavour and what it is all about, but that's me. If people like whiskey neat at 100 and over, that's fine, for them, but there is nothing inherently in those drinks that makes them superior drunk that way, is my point.

Gary

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Stones

Great article find, very clever diplomatic marketing.

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ILLfarmboy

Pappy Van Winkle was obviously a man of high integrity.

Can you imagine a distiller in this day and age defending not watering down their whiskey? (Brown-Forman, in particular, are you listening?)

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MrB

Interesting clip. Thanks for posting

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PAspirit1

That is a great man.

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darkluna

Very cool, I like the way it's presented like a Wall Street Journal article...makes some valid points too.

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ThomasH

This is exactly why I love high proof whiskey. You can dilute it to whatever strength your in the mood to drink. My magic number is 100!

Thomas

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ratcheer

Note that he was talking against 90-proof whiskey. These days, many of the formerly 90 proof whiskeys have been further reduced to 80 proof. E.g., Jack Daniels and Ancient Ancient Age, and probably others.

I pretty much refuse to buy 80 proof whiskey, although I do enjoy Old Grand Dad 86. But, mainly because it is still pretty decent while being quite inexpensive.

Tim

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B3Nut

I tend to prefer 90 and over, with 100/101 being a sweet spot. I will say, though, the EWB at 86 is surprisingly flavorful neat, with a richer mouthfeel than JBW or JD. Still, I agree with Pappy...and find it interesting that I read this right after enjoying a small neat pour of SW OldFitz BIB. :)

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