Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dusty Thursday: All that's Stitzel-Weller is not Gold - Cabin Still (circa 1986)

If you mention "Stitzel-Weller" in a whiskey blog, people's minds turn to visions of Very Very Old Fitzgerald or the early editions of Pappy Van Winkle, rare and delicious bourbons that fetch large sums. It's important to remember, however, that in its day, Stitzel-Weller was a bourbon brand like any other, with both top and bottom shelf offerings. The Old Fitzgerald and Weller lines were on top, but the bottom shelf included brands like Rebel Yell and Cabin Still.

As part of a massive wheated bourbon tasting, I recently got to sample some Cabin Still from 1986, when Stitzel-Weller was still in operation (the brand is now owned by Heaven Hill).

Cabin Still, (circa 1986), 40% abv

The nose has wine like notes, some floral notes and is almost brandy like in some ways. The palate has licorice and mint, also some light corn syrup. It's very light with some Irish Whiskey like flavors. The finish is very short with that light corn syrup taste.

This is not bad by any mean and is certainly distinctly Stitzel-Weller (so much so that I was able to identify it as such in a blind tasting). It's quite drinkable but not at all remarkable and comparable in quality to many whiskeys available today. On the one hand, I'd say this shows that not everything Stitzel-Weller deserves to be worshiped, on the other, I'd note that if this was the bottom of the SW barrel, they were doing pretty well.


Pappy Van Winkle said...

How could you say it's "light"? That's just a cop out. You are putting our little S-W distillery down and shilling for the big box distilleries. You go to hell! You go to hell and you die!!

BMc said...

Well then! Sku, if you're not dead yet, can you tell me whether this was from a newly opened bottle? I have a couple from the '70s and they opened up a lot after several months. They were not so drinkable at first.

Josh Feldman said...

1986 Was the year I graduated College. We had a Friday night "bourbon night" that generally featured Old Grand Dad, Old Crow, Jack Daniels, or Cabin Still (generally depending on what was cheap and who was buying). My pal Ken loved Cabin Still and called it "Stab 'n Kill". Needless to say we all called it "Stab 'n Kill" too. It was find shooting bourbon - easily as good as any of the others. Truth be told I remember little about any of those bourbons and even less about what transpired any of those evenings.