Discussion of distillery history and related topics.

Read more about the article A Pilgrim in Shively [Part I]
The unassuming Louisville suburb of Shively is home to two active and five historic distillery sites.

A Pilgrim in Shively [Part I]

I already knew that Shively, a suburb of Louisville, was something of an archaeologic mecca for whiskey history buffs when I was shown photos of the old Seagram warehouses located there a couple of week ago. I had also not realized how striking and beautiful they were. I decided it was time for a proper visit to see all Shively had to offer.

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Read more about the article Lessons Learned from the One Year Bonding Period
One of many sales records left behind by the Elkhorn Distillery. Sales volumes were generally small, not enough to keep the distillery solvent.

Lessons Learned from the One Year Bonding Period

I have always understood the notion of holding whiskey ‘in bond,’ i.e. putting it into a warehouse for some period of time to age before excise taxes needed to be paid on it, as an implicitly good thing. Recently I came to understand that this boon could and did have some (possibly unintended) consequences, at least when bonding was first introduced.

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Read more about the article The Day Entry Proof Changed
In 2007 Buffalo Trace released this version of George. T. Stagg at an astonishing proof of 144.8. Changes to entry proof back in 1962 are what made the infamous 'Hazmat' release possible.

The Day Entry Proof Changed

An innocuous looking document sent out by the TTB on the 27th of April 1962 would change the way American whiskey had been barreled since before Prohibition. Was the science it was based on any good or was the outcome predetermined?

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Advertisment for 10 BIB whiskies from Julius Kessler, 1908
Ten bottled-in-bond whiskies from Julius Kessler, 1908. None of these were even close to being the first to bear the designation. But it gives you an idea how large the category had grown by then.

In Search of the Earliest Bottled-in-Bond

The identity of the first bottled-in-bond Bourbon has eluded me since I first started researching American whiskey. I've identified two candidates but still remain a bit skeptical I've got my answer.

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JTS & Hewitt Brown ('Old Prentice') Distillery, Sanborn's Survey of Whiskey Warehouses, 1910 (detail)
JTS & Hewitt Brown ('Old Prentice') Distillery, Sanborn's Survey of Whiskey Warehouses, 1910

Two Distilleries, Entwined

A few months ago, a new ‘local’ acquaintance, author David Jennings (@rarebird101, rarebird101.com) asked me a question about whether I thought it was possible that some of the early Ripy Brothers whiskey bottled at DSP-KY-45, also known as Old Joe,…

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