I was fortunate enough to come across a bottle of I.W. Harper Gold Medal Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey a little while back. I was helping a friend deal with his grandfather’s liquor stash, and way in the back was this bottle of I.W. Harper. I didn’t know a ton about the brand, but whenever I see old bourbon in the back of the liquor cabinet, I get intrigued if nothing else. It seems like all these old bourbons have an interesting history, so it is always fun to try and figure them out.
I.W. Harper was the flagship bourbon of the Bernheim Distillery Co. Funnily enough, I.W. Bernheim thought that his name wouldn’t make a good name for a bourbon, so he switch the name on the bourbon to Harper. Over the years, the distillery changed hands a few times and fell into disuse. Today, as best as I can tell, the brand is owned by Diageo and not sold in the US. Word on the street is that it is still quite popular in Japan.
Of course we just had to give the I.W. Harper Gold Medal Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey a try. It had a fascinating aroma and a nice flavor heavy in butterscotch and caramel. The bourbon was quite smooth for its age at bottling.
I have no idea what the price of this bourbon is, but I heard stories of people finding dusties here and there for anywhere from $12 to $20. If I saw a bottle in the price range, I would pick it up. The bourbon itself isn’t too bad and the story is even better.