Yes, this call is going out to all who come by here who may be any of the following:
I received an e-mail from a reader who flatters me by thinking that I know a bit more about bourbon than the average guy. I probably drink more of that spirit than the average guy, but I am far from an expert.
Anyway, here is the story.
The reader came upon several five-gallon, glass bottles (carboys) of what appears to be bourbon that is more than 100 years old. (Here are photos of one of the carboys and a close-up of the seal.) By virtue of the bottle shown on the left (see below for text of label) and a note that was dictated by the former owner of the carboys, who is deceased, it is “Old Pugh” bourbon that was distilled by R.S. Strader & Sons and bottled specifically for the Phoenix Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky. Here is the dictated note describing the contents or the carboys. The best guess, based on the date of a newspaper found behind the carboys in the former owner’s basement, is that they have been in the basement since 1968.
Preliminary sniffing around has revealed that there was indeed a Phoenix Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky that was frequented by travelers in the nineteenth century and which closed in 1975. We also know from a press clipping (really more of an advertisement) that the R.S. Strader located its “warehouse, bottling and shipping departments” [no mention of the stills themselves] to 234 East Main Street in Louisville, Kentucky in approximately August 1911. The press clipping is here.
When the reader saw that one of the carboys seemed to be leaking, he poured the contents into smaller containers and actually tasted the contents and confirmed the contents to be bourbon, and very good bourbon at that.
The reader is interested in learning more about the distillery, the Phoenix Hotel, and, of course, the possible value of his find.
Anyone with any information about any of the foregoing, or suggestions about where to look for such info is invited to do any or all of the following:
1. Send an e-mail directly to the reader, who has given me permission to publish his e-mail address, billg4192-at-mail-dot-com>
2. Send me an e-mail – use Mr. Sidebar
3. Leave a comment here
I figure that with all the
reprobates smart folks and heavy drinkers connoisseurs of fine spirits who frequent this place, someone will have some information.
Note: The text on the label reads:
This Whiskey was never owned by anyone but the Distillers and
PHOENIX HOTEL COMPANY