Wild Irish Rose

Have an old/rare bottle you'd like some more info on?

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Wild Irish Rose

Unread postby bigdan » Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:48 am

Last evening while out for dinner our server took our drink order. We noticed on the bar a bottle of Wild Irish Rose that we did not recognize, The owner told us the bottle had been there since he bought the place in 1954. It was call WIld Irish Rose American Whiskey. It had a tax stamp on the bottle and we had heard in the past that Michigan stopped using tax stamps in the 70's. My question is, is this a bourbon? Does anyone know the history? Should we grab the bottle?
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Re: Wild Irish Rose

Unread postby gillmang » Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:17 am

This would sound like an American blended whiskey. This is a product made from grain neutral spirits and/or corn whiskey and/or unaged bourbon mash (green) whiskey blended with straight whiskey (basically bourbon or straight rye), and sometimes flavourings. Imperial, or Seagram 7 Crown, are examples of American whiskey in the market today. (Quality varies quite a bit in this area, I find 7 Crown very good, a quasi-straight rye in fact). The bottles used to state, and still do, the relative amounts of grain neutral spirits (the usual base) and straight whiskey, so if the bottle states this, it is definitely an American Whiskey, i.e., a blend of the type mentioned. If it is in fact a bourbon or straight rye, the label will state this. Next time you are there, check the label and buy a drink perhaps, this should confirm what it is. The name has a vague familiarity, though, and I think it is a blended American Whiskey. The use of a name connected to Ireland and its imagery may have been a way to market to the Irish-American community. There were other domestic liquor products which used a similar approach in that era and into the 1980's.

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Re: Wild Irish Rose

Unread postby bigdan » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:02 pm

Thanks for the reply Gary, but your not going to believe how embarrassed I am. It was not "Wild Irish Rose" it was Four Roses. Why I called it Wild Irish Rose escapes me.
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Re: Wild Irish Rose

Unread postby gillmang » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:25 pm

Oh okay, then it is Four Roses American Whiskey. Four Roses was a blend at the time, now it is returned to straight bourbon status. So I don't think tasting it would be too interesting really. I believe at the time it was made with green whiskey (bourbon mash distillate unaged) and bourbon.

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Re: Wild Irish Rose

Unread postby PaulO » Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:03 pm

There is a product called Wild Irish Rose. It is a fortified "wine". It is one or several steps below MD 20/20 in quality.
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Re: Wild Irish Rose

Unread postby BuffaloBill » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:53 am

Yup, I had a customer who came in every week (red eyed) who lived on WIR. Ain't no whiskey!!! BB
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Re: Wild Irish Rose

Unread postby gillmang » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:40 am

Okay thanks for this. What is MD 20/20?

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Re: Wild Irish Rose

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:06 pm

Gary,
Mad Dog 20/20 or MD 20/20 was what we used to call Mogan David fortified wine.

The Four Roses from 1954 could have been a bourbon. I forget the exact year that it became a blend under Seagram but I believe it was the mid 50's. That would make this a possible bourbon. If you get a chance, look at the bottle closer the next time you are in the bar and see if it says "straight bourbon" or "blended whiskey".
Mike Veach
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Re: Wild Irish Rose

Unread postby gillmang » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:09 pm

Thanks Mike. If that Four Roses is a bourbon, it would be interesting to sample it side-by-side with a current Four Roses bourbon to see if there are resemblances.

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Re: Wild Irish Rose

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:15 pm

I am not sure as to what the exact timeline is, but Seagrams purchased the Frankfort Distillery Co. after the war and it took them about a decade to turn the best selling product in the Frankfort portfolio into a blended product. I suspect that the flavor profile would be completely different than today. Frankfort did not have that wide range of yeasts to choose from when making their whiskey. It would be interesting to see if it was one of the flavor profiles that remains in the Four Roses line up.
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Re: Wild Irish Rose

Unread postby gillmang » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:55 pm

Apparently the yeast used for the Seagram Benchmark is ancestor to one of the yeasts used for Four Roses today but I can't see that much connection there. However, the other characteristics of Benchmark may have overshadowed the effect of that yeast. A nice, soft, brandy-like bourbon the original Benchmark was, sorely missed.

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