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Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:00 pm
by bourbonv
Today I am looking at a whiskey register from J S Taylor Distillery 1880-1882. It is interesting in that they are selling S C Herbst his whiskey that I am sure became Old Fitzgerald and they are sending a lot of whiskey to Bremen, Germany.

Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:19 pm
by gillmang
Bremen was for aging, Mike. This was some kind of tax deferral scheme.


Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:23 pm
by bourbonv
Yes, indeed it was. I know around 1900 Mammoth Cave was being sold at 20 years old after being brought back from, you guessed it, Bremen, Germany, where it was aged in bond for 20 years. The import taxes were less than the Federal taxes after 8 years. Enough so to pay the cost of shipping and storage.

Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:19 am
by bourbonv
I am working at wrapping the 100 or so ledgers and Journals in the collection. In Journal B for the OFC distillery it shows that Taylor paid $450.00 for two stills, a beer pump and a water pump in September 1873. Cheap price for all of that copper!

Unread postPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 12:00 pm
by bourbonv
On Monday I went back to the Hay house on Scotland Farm to look for things we might have missed 2 years ago. I spent all day in the basement in a sigle room and I found some great items for the library. These include several more transcripts of the trademark dispute with Levine from 1917. A bound volume of Bonefort's from about 1910. About 10 or 12 volumes of both Mida's Criteria Financial Index and Bonefort's Financial Index from about 1906 to 1918. I also found a copy of the the letter written to George Stagg from E H Taylor, Jr. in 1890 basically saying quit using my name to sell your whiskey. The real prize is book of regulation dealing with the distilled spirits industry printed by the Internal Revenue Department, dated 1866. It was a very productive day and I will have to go back to finish searching the house.

Unread postPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 6:18 pm
by Mike
Congratulations to you, Mike. It speaks to your quality as an historian that you are intrigued, thorough, and committed to follow up on this. In doing research of this kind there is, in my experience, something wonderful about touching the past in so direct a way. You are connected to those people and give them a second life, and, if their spirits are still about somewhere, they honor your efforts.

I have great respect for you and for your profession. It seeks to understand and to reveal human characters and their achievements. It is and has never been the case that only the Alexander the Greats deserve our homage.

Re: An interesting haul

Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:32 pm
by bourbonv
I remember reading a letter in this collection where Taylor sold a barrel of whiskey to a friend and made recommendeations on storing the barrel (The barrel was the primary package of sale by the distiller in the 1870s). The bourbon was only 2 or 3 years old and Taylor recommended storing the barrel in the attic (obviously for the heat factor in the summer) and to visit the barrel every few days and roll the barrel 360 degrees, pop the bung and leave it off every other time you did this. I asked a few distillers why would he recommend this and none of them had any idea as to why Taylor would recommend doing this. Last night, however I was re-reading Carson's "Social History of Bourbon ( I have to write an introduction for the new edition) and I think I found the answer.

Carson describes how the old whiskey sales man would go to a bar with his product and pour a glass to the prospective customer but not let him drink any of it. He would then have the customer to pour and drink the competitor's products and finally after some time, let the customer drink his product. The idea was that his product had a chance to breath and lose the "pig tracks" while the competitor's products did not, so his product would taste better. Carson then states that many distillers did the same thing by leaving the bung out of the barrel. I think Taylor was recommending this same process to his friend.

Re: An interesting haul

Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:50 pm
by sailor22
That's interesting, letting it breath in the barrel. I have always thought most Bourbons were more enjoyable after some time in the glass. Particularly when a few drops of water were added. Some my older Bourbons from the 60's and 70's have really changed markedly after some air time in the glass.

What is going on? Is it just ethanol evaporating? Is there some compound that effects taste that modifies with contact with air?

Re: An interesting haul

Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:45 pm
by bourbonv
Yeast create more than just the ethanol in bourbon. There are many different alcohols and other "fusel oils" created during fermentation. Letting the bourbon breath is one way to get rid of some of the lighter, less desirable elements produced by the yeast.

Re: An interesting haul

Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:10 am
by petersmith85
Its very interesting session for me.. I have always thought most Bourbons were more enjoyable after some time in the glass.I have great respect for you and for your profession. It seeks to understand and to reveal human characters and their achievements.


Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:47 am
by MacinJosh
bourbonv wrote:I have presorted about 50% of the collection so far. I thought I would point out some of the more interesting items I have found so far. I have been reading letter press books while monitoring the reading room. I have gone through about 41/2 of about 20 such books. I have found letters dealing with Taylor building a warehouse at the OFC distillery in 1874. I have read the letter press book of the assignee to his bankruptcy case of 1877 dealing with the auction of the OFC and the OOP (Old Oscar Pepper) distilleries - auctioned on the same date in early 1878 and giving the terms in which they are to auctioned. In a book that has letters from 1918 - 1922 Taylor focuses on his Hereford Cattle breeding Farm, but mentions the enfluenza epidemic of 1918 killing many of his workers at the Farm and the distillery, including his book keeper. He sends some cases of bourbon to some friends in late 1919 to "serve them in the dry times ahead". In 1921 he writes a letter to his brother in Missouri discussing his belief that the anti-saloon league is controlling Washington and the failure of his efforts in court to continue distilling.

Items that I have sorted but not read in detail include a large amount of letters from Gregory and Stagg dealing Taylor that might explain how Stagg ended up with the OFC distillery. (Anybody in St. Louis want to look in the 1870's city directory to see if they can find out more information about Gregory and Stagg? James Gregory and George T Stagg.) There are many post cards of the pre-prohibition distillery and a there are also some photographs.

The Hay family was involved with the horse racing industry for the most part, but E H Taylor Hay also was involved with the K Taylor distillery that operated for a short time after prohibition. They were also friends with Creel Brown and there are some letters discussing him and his family.

I will continue to report from time to time let you know about this great collection.

Mike Veach

Fascinating info Mike. I love reading through these old posts. Thanks for sharing!