Thursday, May 3, 2012
Dusty Thursday: J.W. Dant BIB (circa late 1980s)
JW Dant is a bourbon with a long history. The brand dates back to nineteenth century distiller Joseph Washington Dant. According to the excellent chronology over at bourbon historian Mike Veach's Bourbon Enthusiast site, after prohibition, National Distillers purchased the Dant distillery from the family, then sold it to the Schenley Company in 1952. Schenley eventually closed the distillery in the 1960s but held onto the label until the Schenley Company was purchased by United Distillers in 1987. The Dant label was acquired by Heaven Hill in 1993 and they continue to make JW Dant Bourbon.
The great thing about Bottled in Bond whiskeys is not only that they are 100 proof (though that is also good), but they take a lot of the guess work out of dusty hunting since they are required to provide the Distilled Spirits Plant (DSP) number where the spirit was distilled and bottled.
Today's Dant, a 375 ml bottle without a tax stamp, was distilled at DSP-KY-113, the Buffalo Trace Distillery, and bottled at DSP-KY-16, the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. That tells us that the bourbon was distilled during the Schenley era. At that time, Schenley owned the Buffalo Trace Distillery (then known as the George T. Stagg or Ancient Age Distillery). However, this bourbon was bottled after the United Distillers purchase in 1987, since United Distillers owned Stitzel-Weller at that time. This is consistent with the "89" on the bottom of the bottle which indicates a likely bottling date of 1989.
JW Dant Bottled in Bond, 50% abv.
The nose has a lot of complexity with caramel, peppermint, wood, pepper and bay. The palate is very spicy with lots of peppery notes, even some cayenne, rounded out with just a touch of caramelized sugar sweetness and a bit of acid. The finish keeps the pepper and the acid in a nice balance.
I really like this one. The peppery character is something you don't find in a lot of today's bourbons, and it's complex and well balanced from nose to finish. Good stuff! Keep in mind though, that Dant went through a number of different distilleries and the same label may differ greatly from version to version.