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Elijah Craig and Evan Williams

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Elijah Craig and Evan Williams

Postby IainB » Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:57 am

A question for the bourbon experts out there. I believe both these used to be distilled in Heaven Hill, before "the fire" that I've read about. When did the fire happen, and is the distillery completely dead. Is it true that they're now distilled by Jim Beam. And finally, I've been drinking and EW 1994 single barrell and am about to open an EC 12yo I bought earlier this year. Are these both from the odl distillery or from Jim Beam? (OK that's about 4 questions.)
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Re: Elijah Craig and Evan Williams

Postby oldrip57 » Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:52 pm

The Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown (DSP-KY-31) burned November 7, 1996. For a couple of years, HH had to 'borrow' facilities within the very collegial Kentucky bourbon industry, using their own mashbills and distillers to make whiskey at both Jim Beam (e.g., the 1997 Evan Williams Single Barrel) and Brown-Forman (current Rittenhouse Bottled In Bond rye). Since 1999, Heaven Hill has distilled at its own Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, purchased from United Distillers and Vintners (UDV, now part of Diageo). Both the 1994 EWSB and the Elijah Craig 12yo you note would have been distilled at the now-destroyed Bardstown facility, where Heaven Hill still bottles and warehouses (the latter allowing them to retain the DSP-KY-31 designation on those BIBs aged there).
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Re: Elijah Craig and Evan Williams

Postby IainB » Thu Oct 04, 2007 2:12 pm

Thanks a mil. Couldn't have asked for a more comprehensive answer than that. Glad now I got 2 of each. Must open the EC12 soon.
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Re: Elijah Craig and Evan Williams

Postby oldrip57 » Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:57 am

Okay -- can't resist -- now the trick question: which American distillery has never had anyone but a Beam as master distiller?

Obviously, Jim Beam, right? Nope -- current Jim Beam MD Jerry DALTON recently announced his retirement; he was preceded by famed Booker NOE, a Beam grandson.

The correct answer is...Heaven Hill! Joseph L. "Pop" Beam was a founding partner, along with the Shapira brothers, and the initial master distiller. He was succeeded by son Harry Beam, whose successor and cousin, Earl Beam, came directly from the employ of Jim Beam. Earl's son, Parker Beam, is the current co-master distiller with Parker's son, Craig Beam.
I've never tasted Heaven Hill whiskey older than Earl's tenure, which began in 1946, but every sample I've had dating from that time has had a consistent and distinctive 'bubble-gum' nose and sense that closely emulates some older Jim Beam products. As noted previously, Earl came to Heaven Hill directly from Jim Beam.

Thus, HH's temporary use of Jim Beam's distillery seems to have brought the process full-circle -- a Beam, probably using an old Beam yeast and/or grain bill, using the Jim Beam still to make bourbon. Not even Beam Global Brands can claim that trifecta today!
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Re: Elijah Craig and Evan Williams

Postby IainB » Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:38 pm

OK I'm confused now. I'll try reading this again later when I'm more awake.
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