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Best Reason to Brush Your Teeth? Bourbon Flavored Toothpaste

Bourbon Flavored Toothpaste Founder

Recently my husband was touring an exhibit of Kenner Toys and other novelties with a Cincinnati connection at the Cincinnati Public Library and he sent me a picture that just about blew my mind. In the 1950’s a Cincinnati native named Don Poynter decided to top his recent success with the Jayne Mansfield shaped hot water bottle with a product to make brushing your teeth a task you look forward to: whiskey flavored toothpaste. The product contained real alcohol, a respectable 6 proof, and came in bourbon, rye, and scotch flavors. The product gained enough attention that Life Magazine did a feature on it and soon it was a best-selling novelty item nationwide. Before long imitators began making their own versions and for a few years in the 1950’s and 60’s you could find mail order ads for whiskey toothpaste at the back of your favorite magazines.

Bourbon Flavored Toothpaste CollageThe competition caused Poynter to cease production after a few years but apparently there is another entrepreneurial individual out there who thinks the world is ready for the return of whiskey toothpaste. In doing a quick google search for writing this article, I found that on Caskers you can now purchase whiskey toothpaste and mouthwash. Unfortunately they are both currently out of stock so I was not able to try the product out for myself but if anyone out there has used it please comment and let me know how it was. I’m dying to know if this is strictly a novelty item for the bourbon lover who has everything, or if this could be my new favorite personal hygiene product. Of course there is a downside. I suppose in the mid 20th century your boss might not mind if you show up to work with bourbon on your breath but I imagine that it wouldn’t work so well in today’s office culture.

Thanks to CompleteSet for letting me use their photo of the exhibit. You can read more about the Kenner Toy exhibit in their article (written by the wonderful Mr. Tonic) here.

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Joe Louis Bourbon Revisited

Joe Louis Whiskey Circa 1952

This week I was reminded why I love bourbon so much. It has this ability to bring people together to share stories and life experiences like no other alcohol. Case in point, I posted an old whiskey ad featuring Joe Louis bourbon back in May of 2013. A little over a year later, Chuck L. found the post while doing an Internet search and left me the following comment on the post:

Pops, I found your article during an Internet search. I was talking to a person this morning about my grandfather who was manager at Bonds Mill / Old Joe / DSP-KY-35 during the 50s. This person told me that Joe Louis Whiskey was bottled there. (I can’t remember if he said distilled.) I will be finding out more and will let you know what I find if you are still interested. Continue Reading →

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Sour or Sweet: The Father of Modern Bourbon

Old Crow Vintage Ad Image

The last time you found yourself at Ye Olde Liquor Store, your eyes might have wandered to the bottom shelf where labels are stuffed with text emphasizing the quality and heritage of the bourbon, proudly boasting, “SOUR MASH WHISKEY.” You might have wondered what that even meant as you settled up for your bottle of Evan Williams, and why very few other bourbon brands boast this quality of their whiskey so proudly.

The early nineteenth century was a cluster of a great variety of bourbon quality, from excellent products to worse-than-rotgut to everything in-between. Distillers, including commercial and farmer-distillers, usually utilized two processes to create mash for producing whiskey: sour mash and sweet mash. These processes are exactly the same in regards to the amount of grain in the mash, the mash bill, fermentation, and yeast, but with one essential difference: the sour mash process includes a portion of spent mash from the previous distillation, just like sourdough bread contains a portion of dough from a previous batch of bread. It was the distiller’s preference for whether they chose to distill sweet mash or sour mash that day, and distillers didn’t specify which mash produced the whiskey they sold. Continue Reading →

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Bottled In Bond: A Brief History

Gooderham & Worts Distillery Engraving Illustration

Note: This post is courtesy of Melissa Alexander a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati and a bourbon history enthusiast. Please let us know what you think of Melissa’s debut post as we’d love to have her as a regular contributor to Bourbon & Banter.

During your last visit to Ye Olde Liquor Store, you might have noticed a couple of bottom-shelf bottles sporting a fancy, old-script tag: “Bottled-in-Bond.”  The bottle might claim that the whiskey is exceptional, full of heritage, made according to an old, forgotten tradition.  Companies such as Heaven Hill, Barton, and Jim Beam have revitalized the century-old tradition of bottling in bond, but what brought this century-old practice back into the forefront?

Fly back in time to the late 19th century, when the whiskey market was more unregulated than you could even imagine.  A rivalry for the record books emerged between straight whiskey distillers and whiskey rectifiers.  Rectifiers, much like Non-Distiller Producers today, purchased distillate from other sources; they then aged it (for dubious periods of time), potentially tinkered with the finished product by adding flavoring or coloring, and bottled it at varying proofs under names such as “Fine Old Bourbon”.  While a number of rectifiers produced honest-to-goodness whiskey, producers of knockoff bourbon flooded the market with their cheap, easy-to-produce whiskey and made it extremely difficult for straight whiskey producers to gain a foothold, and even forced many into bankruptcy. Continue Reading →

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