Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle

Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle

  Everyone knows how hard it is to get their hands on a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, but not many know who the man was on the label. “Pappy” Van Winkle (Julian Van Winkle, Sr.) began his whiskey career in 1893 when he became a salesman at W.L. Weller and Son.  He sold brand names such as Old W.L.Weller, Mammoth Cave, Hollis Rye, Cabin Still, Harlem Club, Silas B. Johnson and Stone Root Gin.  His time there was very educational and he soon became a very influential figure in the company.  In 1908, he and fellow salesman Alex Farnsley bought the Weller wholesale business after William Lerue Weller’s death.  W.L.Weller did not have a distillery of its own, but he was able to secure a contract with the Stitzel Distillery in Louisville.  Once Prohibition...

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...

Old Fitzgerald- the Survivor.

Old Fitzgerald- the Survivor.

Everyone wants Pappy Van Winkle, but Old Fitzgerald came first. The Old Fitzgerald brand (originally Jn.E.Fitzgerald bourbon) was created by S.C. Herbst around 1870. In the 1890’s Herbst purchased the Old Judge Distillery and renamed it the Old Fitzgerald Distillery. The Old Fitzgerald brand survived Prohibition (It was sold as medicinal whiskey) and was purchased soon after by Pappy Van Winkle for $10,000. He introduced to the recipe “a whisper of wheat” which the Van Winkle line is famous for. It was distilled at Stitzel-Weller until the distillery was sold in 1972 to Norton Simon. It would later be bought by United Distillers (now Diageo). United Distillers built the modern Bernheim Distillery in 1992 and production of the wheated line of...