Julian Van Winkle’s Legacy

Julian Van Winkle’s Legacy

Pappy Van Winkle has been on the brain this past week and I realized that it might be a good idea to be clear about what is actually in those very sought after bottles.   I’ve written about Julian Van Winkle Sr. in recent blog posts.  He was the man behind Stitzel-Weller and the establishment of that distillery.  He made Old Fitzgerald bourbon and his son maintained the Old Rip Van Winkle brand copyright after the distillery closed its doors in the 70’s.  United Distillers, which later became Diageo, became owners of Stitzel-Weller, but Julian Van Winkle Jr. maintained access to old stocks from the warehouses.  He (“Pappy’s” son) began bottling those products under the Old Rip Van Winkle label.  In 1981, Julian Van Winkle III became owner of the family...

History of Rebel Yell in America

History of Rebel Yell in America

Rebel Yell is one of those old throwbacks. A wheated bourbon. And yes, it was made along side Pappy Van Winkle at Stitzel-Weller. The brand has changed hands and recipes, but it is a part of American bourbon history. The brand was established after Prohibition in the 1940’s. The bottle may claim 1849, but that is when W.L. Weller & Sons company was founded. Charles R. Farnsley (a former mayor of Louisville) created the brand for the Stitzel-Weller company, with the idea to distill it in limited batches for exclusive distribution in the south. Lucky for him, his uncle was co-owner of the company, Alex Farnsley. It seems he originally created the whiskey for himself and to give as gifts, but the label went public in the 60’s to commemorate the Civil War...

Solera Aging in Whiskey

Solera Aging in Whiskey

I wonder if we won’t start seeing more solera aged bottlings of whiskey in the future… Dave Pickerell was the first to use the solera aging technique in whiskey production here in the U.S. No one can argue with Hillrock Estate’s success. An incredibly accomplished distiller on a farm in upstate New York that is creating whiskeys from grain to glass using grains that are actually grown on the farm? It’s like a idyllic modern craft whiskey daydream…and it’s winning awards and being bought off liquor store shelves faster than it’s stocked. Now we have Blade and Bow from Diageo. For Blade and Bow bourbon, Diageo has implemented a five barrel solera system at Stitzel-Weller, where the bottom or #5 barrel contains some of the original Bourbon that was...

Orphan Barrel Releases…Craft whiskeys?

Interesting read. Diageo’s “orphan barrel” releases can’t last forever even with the solera method of aging employed in making their Blade and Bow bourbon…wonder who they’ll buy next? The only working distillery they own now is George Dickel in Tennessee… ‘Craft’ Bourbon Is in the Eye of the Distiller “Craft” distilleries have mushroomed in the U.S. to 588 from 51 over the past decade. Feeling the heat from the new competition, global liquor conglomerates are getting in on the act, and not letting definitions get in the way. WWW.WSJ.COM|BY SAABIRA...