Whisky Advocate

New Early Times “150th Anniversary” whisky

April 8th, 2010

There’s a new, limited release Early Times whisky being released. (Note the spelling without the “e” and no mention of it being bourbon.) I think it’s cool that Brown-Forman creates these commemorative bottlings (like the Old Forester Repeal Bourbon). It’s nice to see what whisky might have tasted like during a certain time in our history (especially around Prohibition).

The press release is below.

Early Times Kentucky Whisky to Release Commemorative 150th Anniversary Bottle

Louisville, Ky. (April 9, 2010) – Early Times Kentucky Whisky, first distilled in 1860 in Early Times Station, Kentucky, is a whisky known for its rich heritage and mild taste profile. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the brand, Early Times Kentucky Whisky will release a one-time, limited release expression in a 375ml commemorative bottle.

Although the year 1860 congers up images of “early times” today, at the time, the brand’s original distillers believed the industry was turning too modern, too quickly, and wanted a brand that captured the “good old days.” Thus, the brand name Early Times was selected to remind consumers of the old-fashioned methods of making whisky – mashing grain in small tubs and boiling the beer and whisky in copper stills over open fires.

Closed by Prohibition, the distillery, brand and barrel inventory was acquired by medicinal whiskey permit holder Brown-Forman Distillers in 1923.  Brown-Forman moved the production of Early Times to Louisville, Kentucky in 1935 where it has thrived to this day.  Every drop is distilled under the late 1800’s permit number DSP – 354. 

“This commemorative bottle celebrates the rich history of Early Times’ role as the second oldest continually produced whisky brand in America,” said Joe Murray, brand manager for Early Times. “While Early Times is now made with modern methods, its name still invokes images of the good old days and still provides a welcome reward at the end of a hard day’s work. As one of America’s top selling Kentucky Whiskies for the last 60 years it still lives up to its reputation as ‘The Whisky that made Kentucky Whiskies Famous.’ 

The Early Times 150th anniversary edition will come in a unique 375ml bottle and carry an Early Times retro 1920’s label. The distillery will produce only 3000 cases which will be available in 20 US states at a suggested retail price of $11.99.

“Early Times 150 is crafted to emulate the flavor profile the brand would have possessed in 1923 when it was acquired by Brown-Forman,” said Chris Morris, Brown-Forman Master Distiller. “Most whisky aficionados who have been treated to a prohibition-era medicinal whisky taste a late bottling. These contain whisky that was aged up to three times longer than the distiller planned. In 1923 Brown-Forman began bottling 5-6 year old Early Times as medicine. This bottling, with its light honey color, mellow oak, brown sugar, vanilla aroma and simple sweet corn, vanilla and faint butterscotch taste bring back the best of a by-gone time – an Early Times to remember.”

16 Responses to “New Early Times “150th Anniversary” whisky”

  1. Gary says:

    Never tried Early Times. But you’ve piqued my interest. I will have to give this a try. And the price is right. What are the differences that this can’t be called bourbon? Corn, barrels..aging?

    • Rick Duff says:

      The current Early Times Kentucky whiskey uses a bourbon mash, however some of it is aged in used barrels, so it can’t legally be called bourbon. Early Times is a nice entry whiskey.. especially good to introduce your wife/girlfriend. It almost has the aroma of popcorn.

  2. Rick Duff says:

    What, this isn’t $150? Wow.. cool!

  3. Seth Nadel says:

    Interesting choice for a release. Early Times is an old school brand. I wonder if they are setting the stage for a completely new Early Times bottling.

    • Rick Duff says:

      I do remember their master distiller last year mentioning they would come out with a bourbon version of Early Times soon (ie.. all new oak.. so it can be labelled bourbon.)

  4. Matt J. says:

    congers? Really?

    • sam k says:

      Yeah, Matt, I got that one, too. Conjures, maybe! And please, don’t any of you think that this is bourbon and be influenced only by price. They can make it whatever proof they want, but it’s still got a weaker backbone than any straight bourbon. Please, Brown-Forman, bring ET back to bourbon reality as soon as you can!

  5. Mark Davis says:

    This is completely awesome. it’s accessible, unusual, curious offering.

    I have a vintage 1950s bottle of Old Forester that is shaped like a sexy lady with a silly hat on. They should bring that back for a special edition bottling.

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  7. Vince says:

    I am looking forward to trying the 150th anniversary edition of Early Times. Nice concept and the price is great! Good job Brown Forman!!

  8. Red_Arremer says:

    “Every drop is distilled under the late 1800’s permit number DSP – 354.” Kind of offbeat piece of hype, there.

    I too am looking forward to trying this. Will you be reviewing it, John?

  9. Greg G says:

    While dusty hunting I came a cross a case of 200ml bottles of Early Times KSBW. I purchased one just to try it. After doing so, I quickly returned to snatch up the case and two handles. All bottled ’78 and ’79 and one of my favorite out of production 80 proof bourbons. I’ll pick up a bottle of the 150th (assuming I can find it here in VA) and do a little comparison.

  10. Ethan Smith says:

    A decently priced, VERY retro looking bottle. Hopefully the contents live up to the hype! Of course I’m sure we won’t be seeing any of these here in PA, so I may have to do a bit of traveling to get my hands on one.

  11. diGGy says:

    John or anyone- Do you know which 20 states this is to be sold in? I just got an email today from Early Times telling me it is now in stores. I live in Wisconsin and have called around- no one has it. thx

  12. Doug says:

    Early times still makes kentucky straight bourbon. They export it all to the land of the rising sun. $$$ in profits. You can find e few bottles floating around from time to time. I’m still looking. Doug “The Jake”

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