Monday, February 3, 2014

The Bourbon Fountain of Youth: Dropped Age Statements


American distilleries must have found a fountain of youth somewhere because their bourbons keep getting younger.  After writing about the disappearing age statements of Old Charter and Very Old Barton last week, I thought I would make a list of all of the American whiskeys that have recently (in the last 10 years or so) lost their age statements, so I compiled a list with the help of some very knowledgeable friends.  Unless otherwise noted, all of these whiskeys went from the age listed to having no age statement (meaning, according to the regulations, that they are at least four years old).  I didn't include expressions that disappeared altogether, such as Weller Centennial.

1792 Ridgemont Reserve 8 yo
Basil Haden 8 yo
Benchmark 8 yo (now 3 years old)
Evan Williams Black 7 yo
Evan Williams 1783 10 yo
Jefferson's Reserve 15 yo
Johnny Drum Green 8 yo
Johnny Drum Black 12 yo
Johnny Drum Private Stock 15 yo
Kentucky Vintage 8 yo
Noah's Mill 15 yo
Old Bardstown 10 yo
Old Charter 8 yo
Old Fitzgerald 1849 8 yo
Old Overholt 4 yo (now 3 years old)
Old Weller Antique 7 yo
Pure Kentucky XO 10 yo
Rowan's Creek 12 yo
Sam Houston 10 yo
Very Old Barton 6 yo
Weller Special Reserve 7 yo

Did I miss any?  Have any other whiskeys been to the fountain of youth?


22 comments:

tanstaafl2 said...

I suppose Black Maple Hill would fit in this category as well. Hasn't been anything age stated (or particularly good) from that NDP brand in a while.

Oliver Klimek said...

Striking to see that five of those have the word "old" in their name...

Unknown said...

missing Ancient Age 10-year (now called "10-star")

Alex said...

I believe the Ancient Ancient Age 10yr and 10-star were two different products, and the 10yr was only available in Kentucky. I believe it's unclear whether either is available anymore or if they are permanently discontinued.

sku said...

Yeah, I gave BT a pass on that since AAA 10 year and 10 star are both being produced, though it does seem that they have phased out ten year in favor of ten star in some markets.

Unknown said...

AA 10 year is still being produced? I haven't seen any in ages.

Patrick said...

Didn't Kentucky Vintage and Pure Kentucky XO (both KBD "small batch collection) both use to have age statements?

Anonymous said...

Old Weller Antique Original 107 used to carry 7yo label, and William Larue Weller used to be W.L. Weller 19.

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in seeing a list including expressions that have disappeared altogether.

sku said...

Anon, that would be a really long list.

sku said...

Here's a comment EllenJ sent me via email:

I wanted to post a reminder that a couple years ago Knob Creek faced a legitimate crisis resulting from a lack of sufficient 9-year-old bourbon. They could have reduced the proof (watered it down to 90 or 95), or dropped the age statement and used 8-year-or-less. But what the did instead
was maintain the integrity of the product and simply advise their distributors that there would be shortage. Too bad that more fine, upstanding, and honest distillers seem not to have considered such a solution, huh?

danz said...

Oliver Klimek said...
"Striking to see that five of those have the word "old" in their name..."

I think it's funny that the Old Weller Antique is not only "old", but actually "Antique", yet now has no age statement.

Lazer said...

Wild Turkey? Can't buy age stated in US as far as I know.

T Comp said...

We wearily accept new nas product much easier than seeing it disappear on the established. Ultimately most of these brands are either smaller distribution or lower shelf enough, unlike Knob Creek, that they know they can survive the grief.

Anonymous said...

Ocean's NAS. Deceive, disarm, despoil.

RN

Anonymous said...

When did 1792 Ridgemont Reserve dropped 8 yo statement? I bought couple bottles at the distillery last year (2013) and it had 8yo age statement on the back of the bottle.

KYBG said...

Well, they did mix in some Bernheim to cover the shortage which they wouldn't be able to do nowadays. You're still right, though. I'll give them props for keeping the AS and not dropping the proof. If it happened today without the abundance of commodity whiskey I don't know if the result would be the same, though.

Mark G. said...

As a straight bourbon with no age statement on the label shouldn't Benchmark be at least 4 yo?

sku said...

Mark, the initially dropped the age statement (meaning it would be at least 4 years old), but now they have added a new age statement indicating it is only 36 months old.

Mark G. said...

Sorry about that sku, i was looking at an older bottle.

Charles Baker said...

I just bought a bottle of Ancient Ancient Age Ten Star and a bottle of Old Forester 86 proof, and their was no age statement on either. Does this represent a change?

sku said...

Charles, as far as I know, those have both been no age statement, so no change there.