The secret to good bourbon? Breeding and artificial selection. [From LIFE; March 14, 1938]
A weblog detailing cocktails, spirits, liqueurs, barware, bars, and bitters. Maintained by Michael Dietsch, a writer and hobbyist mixer in Brooklyn.
(“The Mandarin.” Iron Man villain, or sign of the times? This was 1938, after all.)
A detail from Mr. Crockett’s letter:
To learn more about Mister A. S. Crockett, here’s a great piece on Diffordsguide.
Life; February 21, 1938.
Love all the detail about the botanicals in the gin. A quick Google search isn’t turning up anything on Jimmy Corosu. The Peoria distillery closed in 1981; it now makes ethanol for ADM. Peoria, incidentally, was apparently once a powerhouse in whiskeymaking, with access to abundant crops of corn and barley. (This, incidentally, is why I keep up this ad project. I never know when a bit of research into a brand will uncover nuggets of cool booze history.)
The whiskey that made Kentucky whiskies famous. Wait, that sounds familiar.
Life; February 7, 1938.
Early Times has a history dating back to 1860, when the first whiskey under this name was produced. Brown-Forman acquired it in 1923 and still owns the today. During Prohibition, BF marketed Early Times as a medicinal whiskey.
Today, the product is known as a “Kentucky whisky” (why they drop the e that’s traditional when describing American whiskeys is a question I can’t answer). It’s made the way bourbon is made, except that Early Times, today, is aged in used oak barrels. Straight bourbon, by law, must be aged in new oak barrels. New barrels impart more woody flavors into a distillate than do used barrels, and thus Early Times doesn’t taste as bourbony as bourbon should.
Early Times continued as a straight bourbon until the 1980s, and as of two years ago, a bourbon version is again marketed by Brown-Forman. The two products are now sold side-by-side; the bourbon is called Early Times 354.
Lifestyles of the 1%.
Prince Alexis Obolensky was a real guy, and a colorful figure at that. His family fled the Bolsheviks and traveled through Europe and, apparently, the United States. Incidentally, the prince would have been about to turn 18 when this ad ran, so he came upon his sophisticated after-dinner beverages as a youngster. He died fairly recently, in 2006.
[Life; October 18, 1937]