...where distraction is the main attraction.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dusty Whiskey Report: J.T.S Brown 7 year old Straight Bourbon, bottled in...


Brand: J.T.S. Brown
Current Owner: Heaven Hill Distillers
Type: Straight Bourbon Whisky
Distillery: J.T.S Brown Distillery (possibly now Four Roses Distillery?)
Location: Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
Age: minimum 7 years
ABV: 43% ABV

Enjoyed by great real and fictional gentlemen like Chuck Cowdery and Fast Eddie Felson, J.T.S. Brown bourbon is one of those bottom shelf bottles you've sorta seen but generally disregarded because your better angels tell you to ignore $8 bottles of whiskey.

Fast Eddie, not Chuck Cowdery.
Or is it??????
(pic source)
Chuck writes in his great blog:
J.T.S. Brown was an early distiller and the half-brother of George Garvin Brown, who founded Brown-Forman, the parent company of Jack Daniel's. The J.T.S. Brown Distillery was established by his four sons and later continued by one of his grandsons. The last distillery to bear that name is the one in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, known today as Four Roses. J.T.S. Brown Bourbon is still made, by Heaven Hill Distilleries...
I'll be honest, I'd never tried J.T.S Brown before and only knew about it from The Hustler.  But there it was sitting in the back of my father in-law's liquor cabinet, with no more than 100mL of liquid remaining.

I knew it was on the older side, due to the broken pink tax stamp affixed to the top of the bottle.

That tax stamp meant it was from 1985 or earlier.  It was pre-1982 due to the strip having the notations "TAX PAID" and "DISTILLED SPIRITS".

Measurement-wise it only said 4/5 Quart, so they weren't using metric liquid measurements at the time of bottling, so it was bottled before the '70s.


Finally, and it's difficult to see in the picture, but there's a "69" on the bottom of the bottle:


So, I'm guessing this was bottled in 1969.

(The sources of my dating info are here, here, and here.  If anyone has any corrections to my assumptions/conclusions, please let me know!)

Though no one knows how long the bottle has been opened (probably around 40 years), my father in-law, Steve, has been using three tablespoons of the bourbon in each of his awesome Chocolate Walnut Bourbon pie over the last several years.

What remained in the bottle was a very thick and cloudy orange fluid.  Of course I had to taste it.

Officially:

The color is a thick cloudy orange molasses.  Doesn't look anything like a drink anymore.  The nose leads with tons of milk chocolate, brown sugar simple syrup, orange zest, and vanilla ice cream.  Seems mostly corn and wheat whiskey.  The palate:  YUMMY!  Bourbon candy!  Corn syrup, brown sugar, a hint of rye spices, a little peppery zing.  Corn and rye reign high here.  It finishes on one enormous note of caramel sauce on vanilla ice cream.

WOW!  This the tastiest bourbon I've yet tried.  But is it still bourbon?


It was 43% ABV at the moment of its bottling.  Any hint of alcohol in the nose and palate has been oxidized into silence.  So I wonder if it's still over 40%?

In its current state, it's more like bourbon concentrate.  A bourbon liqueur.  All the edges and angles have been sanded down leaving the all the best parts in an dense syrup.  I'm bringing the last 2 ounces home with me.  Perhaps it could be poured on ice cream, drizzled on apple pie, or maybe just sipped neat, for breakfast.

What a lovely discovery!  Thank you, Steve!

4 comments:

  1. I don't always drink bourbon but when I do I prefer Four Roses. And a dusty Four Roses sounds amazing. I wasn't aware the distillery also went by JTS Brown. The present Four Roses distillery is actually known among the locals as Old Prentice or Old Joe Distillery (both pretty cool old-timey names) but I wouldn't be surprised if there were more names to that place. Now the question is whether JTS Brown is a unique mashbill or one of the ten recipes Four Roses makes today.

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    1. I like the Old Joe Distillery the best of all those names.

      From what I've gathered, Heaven Hill bought the JTS Brand at some point within the last couple of decades. So the contemporary JTS Brown $8 bottle found here and there is some version of one of Heaven Hill's mashes. But the old school version......I don't know. Monsieur Cowdery's blog is the only place I've found any reliable info on JTS Brown.

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    2. By the way, I'd get a present day bottle of Four Roses to compare. Now if I have to guess this might be closest to the Yellow Label.

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    3. I wouldn't mind finding a sub-$20 bourbon, so the Yellow Label is definitely on my list. Thanks!

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