DSR – KY – 012: 1969 Old Cabin Still Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Whiskey
Company/Distillery: Stitzel-Weller Distillery
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Mash Bill: Believed to be 70% Corn, 20% Wheat, and 10% Malted Barley
Age Statement: 6 Years Old
Proof/ABV: 90 Proof/45% ABV
Color & Viscosity: This 1969 Old Cabin Still from Stitzel-Weller presents a beautiful tawny color in the glass. Tilting the tasting vessel to the side, the viscous line appears medium bodied and leaves a wrinkled like film behind. Large droplets develop halfway down the sides of the glass and are very sluggish to descend.
Bottle Label Information:
“U.S. Internal Revenue”
“U.S. Internal Revenue”
“Bottle Stamp Series 112”
“Old Cabin Still”
“Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey”
Left Side Label
“The old style sour mash bourbon in this whimsical Hill Billy bottle is identical in quality to our world famous brand in its conventional package.”
Right Side Label
“Distilled for and Bottled by Stitzel-Weller Distillery Louisville, Kentucky”
“Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey”
“This Whiskey is 6 Years Old”
“Original Design from the Cabin Still Collector’s Gallery 1969”
The Stitzel-Weller Distillery was founded in 1933 as a result of a merger between well known distributor, W.L. Weller & Sons, and A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery. This merge was facilitated by partners Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle Sr., Alex T. Farnsley, and Arthur Phillip Stitzel. The distillery would officially begin operations on Derby Day, May 4, 1935 – the same day champion racehorse Omaha would win the 1st leg of his American Triple Crown. The distillery would operate in a state-of-the-art facility, which under the watchful eye of master distiller Will McGill (1935-1952), would house over 200 employees, produce approximately 800,000 cases a year, and store about 300,000 aging barrels on-site. McGill would be followed by master distillers Andry J. Corcoran (1952-58), Roy Hawes (1958-71), and Woodrow Wilson. When the downturn in the whiskey market occurred in the late 60’s to early 70’s, Stitzel-Weller Distillery would be sold from the Van Winkle family to Norton-Simon.
Stitzel-Weller would become widely known for its unique wheat mash bills, a move that was quite different than the typical rye mash bills used by fellow distillers. Popular brands made by the distillery included W.L. Weller, Pappy Van Winkle, Old Weller, Rebel Yell, Cabin Still, and Old Fitzgerald.
Old Cabin Still Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Old Cabin Still Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a brand originally crafted by W.L. Weller & Sons under the watchful eye of William LaRue Weller. The brand would take on a wheated bourbon mash bill after being taking over by Stitzel-Weller Distillery in 1935. Old Cabin Still did not have the prestige or reputation of Old Fitzgerald Prime and would become one of the younger offerings available from the distillery. Cabin Still is available today after changing hands from Heaven Hill Distillery to its current owner, Luxco.
How Did Rickhouse Ramblings Get This Bottle?
Early on in his whiskey journey (June 18, 2017 to be specific), when he still yearned for the excitement of the bottle hunt and the taste of taters, Mike would ask a hotel concierge in West Virginia to recommend the best liquor store near the hotel for him to do some bourbon hunting. As fate would have it, the concierge had come across a couple of filled and sealed decanters from an estate auction and decided to pick them up. After some pressing from Mike, and few rounds of uncomfortable negotiations, the concierge would agree to show Mike his collection. Armed with his father by his side, Mike would venture off to the concierge’s apartment and agree to purchase the decanter for his budding collection. If you’re interested in the details of how much was paid for these decanters, keep waiting because Mike remains tight lipped about the pricing at the moment. However, we are glad he made that purchase and was willing to donate them for a review for Rickhouse Ramblings!
Tasting Date/Vessel: March 12, 2022 – Neat in a Glencairn glass
Christian: The nose on this 1969 Old Cabin Still Straight Kentucky Bourbon is unbelievably sweet at first pass. There are very light notes of floral aromatics but they are no contest for the profoundly dark rich brown sugar based smells. A second pass allows a butteriness to join with a touch of confectionery sugar and just a touch of smokiness to make a delightful smoked butterscotch confectionery. One final smell brings forth just a hint of oak influence. The bottom-line, this nose is delectable.
Mike: The nose of this whiskey opens with soft floral notes but immediately succumbs to brown sugar and browning butter, the beginnings of a rich and buttery caramel sauce. A brief sting of ethanol is detected and then I’m overwhelmed by the sweet butterscotch candy aromas. Overall a very simplistic, yet fragrant nose.
Christian: Wow! Given what I just experienced in the nose of this bourbon, the mouth flavor profile is worlds different! This whiskey has a light, soft texture that lacks in viscosity or coating of the mouth. The pour has an obvious sweetness to it that hits my palate first. This is not a sweetness like caramels or vanillas. Instead, it reminds me of a simple white sugar, corn syrup, and water mixture used to make homemade suckers. A second sip of Old Cabin Still introduces a very subtle and traditional bourbon flavor profile of vintage leather and oak barrel char.
Mike: My first sip of this Old Cabin Still presents soft on the palate and coats the entire tongue. Old leather and lightly charred oak are easily identified and dominate the overall profile. There is a simple sweetness revealed upfront, and this bourbon almost drinks in two parts, or layered, if that makes any sense. A watered down white sugar simple syrup flavor is exposed initially then a slightly heavier bodied bourbon flavor develops mid-plate. And that’s it, no other suggestions are observed. A very lackluster mouth profile in this expression.
Christian: Old Cabin Still has a short finish that is soft and smooth. A very light warmth develops on the tongue and just tickles the gums and throat. The finish on this whiskey is quite simple and unassuming. A very dry drinking experience that starts with a touch of sweetness but rapidly turns bitter from the wood tannin. Flavors begin as butterscotch with just a tinge of oak and fresh saw dust. The floral from the nose tries to sneak back in as I finish out this sample.
Mike: This bourbon offers a soft to medium finish with a manageable and noticeable singe that does not develop until the lower throat and then dawdles mid-chest. A light bitterness lingers on the palate with a dusting of sweet cinnamon fading out.
Christian: Old Cabin Still Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey opens with a nose that I find to be very sweet and tantalizing. The aromas made me excited to dive in and take a sip of the pour. Unfortunately, what I found in the glass was nothing like what the nose promised. Instead, Old Cabin Still was rather one dimensional and flat in flavor. Disappointing considering what I hoped to find. The finish was “okay” providing a nice smooth finish but surprisingly bitter and very dry. The finish just doesn’t beg for you to come back for another pour.
Overall, the Old Cabin Still is unbalanced–offering a fantastic nose, faltering flavor profile, and middle of the road finish. One thing that I have not been able to find out much information on, and Mike and I both agreed would be interesting to know is, did Stitzel-Weller identify differences in the barrels and char levels for product differentiation? Did they store some brands in different places in the Rickhouse than others? Or was proof the only true factor? Nonetheless, another cool tasting experience with an old product that we may never come across again.
Rating: 2.50 Rickhouses
Mike: Very inviting nose, even in its simplicity. The mouth and finish are deficient and one dimensional. Overall this is an uncomplicated sipper, severely lacking in flavor. All that being said, I’m curious as to how much, if at all, the porcelain decanter affected the flavor of this bourbon, where is sat for nearly 46 years before I rescued its contents, filtered them, and re-bottled.
Rating: 2.50 Rickhouses