If 1895 referred to date of distillation, that meant the bourbon was at least 14 years old at bottling. That bothered me. Why didn't it tout "NN Years Old" on the label? Age statements were just as important back then as they are today. Why not say Distilled 1895 instead of just "1895?"


I puzzled over this as more photos came through. Suddenly, I stopped in disbelief: made in Frankforth, Kentucky. What the hell?



There is no "Frankforth" in Kentucky. According to Google, there isn't one anywhere in the world.  What they meant was Frankfort.


What manufacturer of anything would misspell the name of their own town on their own label?


And you know what else is really strange?


In "Frankforth," they aparently bottled their bourbon at "Alcohol 95%." That's ninety-five percent pure alcohol. Presumably they meant 95 proof, because at 95% alcohol this stuff would barely taste like bourbon. Fuel was more like it.


You're screaming "FAKE!" at this point, right? The thing is, labeling errors don't necessarily equal fake.

The label nailed other critical details. "Distillery No. 11, 7th District" was precisely correct. Called "Old Judge" by locals, that distillery was owned by S.C. Herbst, who founded the Old Fitz label. Old Judge supplied Old Fitz before it closed forever around 1918. What's more, back then, Old Fitzgerald was pot-stilled. Just like this label said.




This was all so strange that I just had to go see the bottles. Time for a road trip!


Continue to page 4: Road Trip!



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