Rittenhouse 5 Year Straight Rye
Continental Dist, Philadelphia
4/5 Quart, 1968, 43% ABV
In the same year that prohibition was repealed, 1933, the Continental Distillery was opened in Philadelphia, PA. to meet the now legal demand of the north east’s famed spirit. Debuting their new label Rittenhouse, named after Rittenhouse Square not to far away, it was put to market as a 2 year 100 proof whiskey.
The brand, then commonly referred to as Rittenhouse Square due to its original bottle shape, went through a myriad of changes until 1942 when Uncle Sam decided to convert the plant to rubber manufacturing to help with the war effort. These different iterations included a 2.5 year 100 proof, a 4 year 100 proof and a 5 year 100 proof expression in 1941.
Upon the conclusion of WW II Continental Distillery, and its parent company Publicker Industries, went through a slew of additional changes and iterations. While Rittenhouse was marketed as an exclusive product of Continental it would have been made at either Kinsey or Linfield site and simply described as a “Product of Pennsylvania”. However, after the late 50’s, bottling at Linfield shut down and Continental reclaimed its famed product both in production and bottling.
By the 1970’s Continental had closed and Publicker was completely out of the distilled spirits business by 1979. The Rittenhouse brand is now owned by Heaven Hill but was also produced by Barton and Medley prior to landing at its permanent home. Our bottle above is an Italian export bottling at the often seen 86 proof but aged 5 years and produced and bottled at Continental distillery.
J.W. Dant 7 Year Straight Bourbon
Gethsemane Dist, Louisville
750ml, 1965, 43% ABV
While now currently also owned by Heaven Hill, J.W. Dant’s history goes back to 1836. It wasn’t until 1870 that Joseph Dant and his brother George built an actual commercial distillery at Dant’s Station in Marion County, Kentucky. The brother’s ran and oversaw the distillery till the Volstead Act of 1919 and its closure in 1920. During this time exisiting stocks were stored at Stitzel-Weller and sold as medicinal whiskey.
J.W. Dant’s son Joseph Bernard Dant had opened his own distillery, Gethsemane of Nelson County, in 1912 and while closed during prohibition the infrastructure remained. After repeal in 1933, the Gethsemane distillery was sold, re-opened in 1936 with George Dant hired as the plant manager. The distillery went under a number of ownership changes till it was finally shuttered in 1961. National Distillers and Schenley were among the most well know owners.
The bottle we are offering represents some of the final distillate from the famed Gethsemane distillery The plant closed in 1961 and this being a 7 year bourbon bottled in 1965 puts its production year in 1958. The export label translates to:
“Produced by Dant Distillery Company in the plant of Gethsemane, Kentucky (U.S.A.) And bottled by the plant in Aladdin, Pennsylvania” From a number of years following the its closure much of Gethsemane whiskey was stored and bottled in Pennsylvania.