Mr. Wade Comes to Robertson County

This is a follow-up to my post of some years ago on Tennessee’s Robertson County whiskey. In a reminiscence of notable U.S. political figures from the Civil War and early post-war era printed in the St. Landry Democrat of Opelousas, LA in 1887, drolleries were shed on a number of topics interwoven by the writer: deportment, dress, oratory, intellect, and (you knew it) Robertson County whiskey.

No one beats the Victorian southern Americans at this kind of writing, indeed a book could be written on that topic (you knew that was coming, too).

It’s all about Ben Ward’s immediate enrapture with Robertson County whiskey, and Schuyler Colfax retaining a keg sent his way despite being a strict temperance man. Some interesting technical points emerge, such as that the best RC whiskey was given some (post-charcoal vat) aging – this ties into what I wrote earlier – and also it was mashed using spent beer, a topic I extensively wrote about earlier as well, where the residue of distillation is used in place of water to mash and a spontaneous fermentation arises. No yeast is added to ferment the distiller’s beer, that is.

It’s all easy, down-home, wry (not rye, here) and not a little humorous. See the article, here.

A sample:

Mr. Wade had often given ear to panegyrics upon the superiority of this strain of whiskey, but had never tasted the ambrosia. The consequences of this
indulgence may be better imagined than described, especially by those familiar with Mr. Wade’s personal habits. The fiery Ohio senator succumbed to
the insidious but no less agreeable influence of “Robertson county,” but as no headache or disagreeable effects ensued on the “inglorious next morning,” he
pronounced it absolutely the best whiskey he had ever sampled.

For a handsome ad of 1876 for aged Robertson County whiskey, from Woodard & Moore in Springfield, TN, see here.

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