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Dowling "Collector's Edition"


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I received an inquiry today about a bottle of Dowling Distillery "Collector's Edition," a 21-year-old bourbon the person acquired in 1980 (presumably bottled in that year or thereabouts). Photo is attached. Here is my reply. Anybody have a different theory?

"Your bottle is probably exactly what the label says it is. If it was 21 years old in 1980, that means it was distilled in 1959. This probably makes it a product of the D.L. Moore Distillery, RD#23, in Mercer County. The Dowling family owned that distillery from 1889 until Prohibition and operated it as Dowling Brothers. After Prohibition it apparently changed hands several times between the Schenley company and an individual named Bob Gould. I can't tell from my source (Sam Cecil's book) who owned it in 1959 or 1980, but apparently it operated as the Dowling Distillery until it closed and, again, I'm not sure when that was. It seems likely that this was some of the last whiskey from that distillery. The Dowling family was involved in other distilleries, but not that late. This distillery, however, seems to have owned the Dowling name and used it well into your period. This seems like the best candidate for your whiskey."

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>


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To add to that, the Dowling brand is still active, now owned by Heaven Hill, so perhaps Bettye Jo can find out for us when it was acquired. It's interesting that they were bottling a 21-year-old bourbon in 1980. We usually think of the marketing fascination with older bourbons as a recent phenomenon.

I'm not sure where Mercer county is, but Lawrenceburg (Anderson county?) is where Col. Dowling lived. The Dowling family mansion still stands (sort of) and is now a bed and breakfast I would be more inclined to call it a "bad and brokenfest", but that's another, more personal, story. You can read more about that on our website in a sidebar on the page where we describe a much nicer stay in



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If I had to guess about that whiskey, I'd say it was distilled and botled at the Hoffman Disatillery (my place) in Lawrenceburg, KY. My Dad had a bottle of that 21 year old sitting here in our office. It was the worst whiskey we ever tasted; almost like mildew. Now I know why the Wertheimer family of Cincinnati, who owned Hoffman, tore down their distillery. The distillery used to be next to my bottling house, where I now park my old barrel hauling truck. The Wertheimers used to bottled whiskey for Mr. Gould who lived in Cincinnati. Give it a try Chuck! If it tastes like mildew, I may be right.


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I don't have it. This came from an email inquiry. I did tell the guy that just because it's rare and old doesn't mean it's good.

Gould apparently had his hand in a number of different operations.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

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  • 18 years later...

Reviving a very old thread, I just had someone send me this pic seeking answers. 

Same bottle, similar neck label, same odd proof. 


This one says bottled JTS Brown on it, so I realize that isn't necessarily distilled @ or aged @.

Says since 1855 top right, which is a date for Austin Nichols who owns Boulevard AKA JTS Brown Distillery at this point, but is also a meaningful year for JTS Brown. 

Back says "after 14 years of aging at our own Rickhouse's." so that tells me aged at one spot, so if not DSP-67 (WT) then where?

Back label also says aged at the "highest hills of Kentucky". I'm not sure that means anything but DSP-67 is on a high hill, right? 


The possibility evasive "bottled by" could possibly have to do with an ownership change while aging? Tax stamp says this was bottled no later than '77.


Do you think there is reason enough to think this is Wild Turkey juice? 


Do you think any of this sheds different light on the Collectors Bourbon 21?


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