Friday, March 6, 2009


Recently I came across a picture of a grouping of Gold Dust whiskies, in assorted colors, on Jeff Wichmann's American Bottle Auctions web site. In the picture gallery he has this line up of John's and N's that is quite remarkable.
check it out -

The early Gold Dust bottles, John van Bergen(t-154) and N. van Bergen(t-155) are two of the most highly sought after western glob fifths. The Gold Dust Kentucky Bourbon was a very popular brand from the moment it was introduced to the Pacific Slope by Barkhouse Bros. through their agent the John van Bergen Co. of San Francisco. The name is a natural for the early California and Nevada trade, it probably was a significant factor in the brand's popularity. The Gold Dust name however, is in reference to the horse depicted in the trade mark, and of course embossed on the bottle.

Gold Dust was the product of a mating of the famous trotting champion Vermont Morgan #69 and the chestnut daughter of the Arabian stallion Zilcaadi, who had been a gift of the Sultan of Morocco to the U. S. Consul - a Mr. Rhind. In 1855, near Louisville, Ky. the foal was born and was remarked to be "pure gold in color". This beautiful stallion grew to stand "16 hands" and weighed 1275 lbs. at maturity. This famous horse of the 1860's was written about extensively - "Gold Dust was a most beautiful horse, and one the very great sires of the country, he is unequaled in achieving his extreme speed". Numerous matched races were held throughout the early 1860's, but Gold Dust's legacy was already sealed when he beat the much heralded and formerly unbeatable Iron Duke in a best 3 of 5 matched race in 1861.

Gold Dust was the first breeding of Morgan and Arabian horses. This breed, known as Morabs, are very popular today for their beauty and athleticism.

So hand it to Barkhouse Bros. of Louisville, if Kentucky is famous for anything it is race horses and bourbon whiskey. Their trademark application of Nov. 25, 1871, indicates that they have been using the proposed design for 4 months past. Trade mark was officially registered on Jan. 9, 1872.

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