bourbonv wrote:It tells the story of baking bread to come up with the wheat recipe even though oral history tapes at the University of Louisville and other sources all say that Bill Samuels, Sr. received the recipe from Pappy Van Winkle at Stitzel-Weller
Although Bill implies that the choice was the direct result of that (maybe not so fictitious) set of experiments, I find it entirely possible that the last attempt failed as miserably as all the others, resulting in Mrs. Samuels' rarely quoted statement *
, "Bill, you get these smelly old bread loaves outta here and then call Pappy and tell him you'll take him up on his offer, ya'heah?"
Another distinct possibility, of course, is that, when confronted by the success of Maker's Mark, the elder Van Winkle (not unlike my own supersalesman father) may have been quick to reply, "Why I taught that kid everything he knows! Yup! Gave 'im the recipe, the yeast, the whole nine yards". There is ample testimony to Pappy's ability to get about four and half feet out of every yard of fact (a proud trait, by the way, common to distillers, hunters, and fishermen everywhere - including Loretto KY).
bourbonv wrote:The book retells all of the old legends that do not have a basis in the known facts such as Elijah Craig inventing bourbon ...
Of course we've all heard the legend of Elijah Craig -- and how he didn't really invent bourbon. And Evan Williams -- and how he wasn't the first bourbon distiller. And, except for some of the very newest members, we all share that "in-the-know" feeling we get from knowing these marketing stories are not real. But I think maybe you're the only one who could tell us where they really came from. Both legends (I think) pre-date Heaven Hill's adoption of these names and subsequent promotion. And in fact, it seems as if EVERY distiller quotes the same legends, even though doing so automatically provides credibility for their competitor. They're sure not doing that with Bill's bread loaves! The Williams and Craig legends may date back further than printed versions, of course, but does the Filson Society or the Getz Museum have early examples of these stories in print? I think it would neat to know how these stories were originally crafted. Why Evan Williams, for example? Elijah Craig is a little more obvious (at least the minister-makes-whiskey angle was certainly convenient at the time), but was there a particular organization in the early 1900's that adopted him?
This piece of discussion really deserves its own topic, since it really isn't about Maker's Mark. If you'd like to expand on it, could you open a new one topic or stick it into an appropriate existing one, maybe in the Lore area? Thanks!
* that would be "last attempt" as defined by Mrs. Samuels.
One possible reason why it's not often quoted is that I just made it up, but hopefully y'all get the point.