1960s Stitzel-Weller Bourbon Decanters

Most bourbon enthusiasts know that the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, which operated in Louisville from 1935 to 1992, produced some of the finest American whiskey ever made, particularly prior to 1972. That was the year the Norton Simon corporation bought out Julian P. Van Winkle, Jr. and began mixing low end stock from other distilleries with well made and matured Stitzel-Weller whiskey. Van Winkle, Jr. continued to buy S-W stock and bottle it in special decanters until his death in 1981.

With ridiculously high demand for "dusty" Stitzel-Weller bourbon, I never thought we would find a bottle to bring home. Then we walked into an antique shop and found this for $39...
8-year-old, 90 proof "Old Rip Van Winkle" bourbon. Bottled for the City of Sanford, NC to commemorate its centennial celebration in 1974.
90 proof Cabin Still bourbon bottled in 1969. "Kentucky Hillbilly" decanter.
We poured the fifty year old spirit into a wine decanter through a coffee filter to remove broken cork. We double filtered it into a second decanter and then poured it into Glencairns for sipping. 

We compared the antique whiskey with a dram of 90 proof W.L. Weller Special Reserve, a similarly aged wheated bourbon produced at Buffalo Trace. The S-W whiskey is so much darker than the modern product. It's much more aromatic and carries a much thicker body. The Weller S.R. was like apple juice next to its viscous, flavorful ancestor. 

For a bourbon geek like me, this weekend was the apex of a lot of time hunting for interesting whiskey. Cheers!