Friday, March 23, 2012

Well I'll Be...

One of my favorite movies of all time is Tombstone; the one with Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, & Bill Paxton.

One of the many memorable lines, (and my favorite) went like this; Wyatt says, "Well, I'll be damned", to which Doc Holiday replied "You may indeed - if you get lucky".

I may be both~

While perusing the Reno Evening Gazzete November 12, 1887 edition, I stumbled across an advertisement on page 4 which clears up a mystery that's dogged us since John Thomas came out with his first book on western whiskies, back in the sixties.

John stated, "As far as known, nobody has found one of the Thistledew bottles with a label. This bottle is still only believed to come from the West." All but a couple of the few known Thistledew examples were recovered in Nevada, Utah and Idaho.

The advertisement spells it all out in a nice neat package. W.O.H. Martin / For Sale Wholesale & Retail / Sole Agent for Reno, Washoe County, and Lassen and Modoc Counties, California/.

Well John, you can't get much more "western" than the Silver State! Looks like Tommy Taylor has company now. Thistledew is a Nevada Whiskey.


Just got an email from an acquaintance on Oahu. I stand corrected. At least two globby Thistledews have been dug in and around Honolulu. A little more "digging" turned up the reason;

This ad appeared on May 24,1886;

Followed by this one from the December 17, 1887 edition of the Hawaiian Gazette. Kinda gives a new meaning to crossover, eh?


Neat Stuff!

Here's a fresh example, dirt and all. Check out the drip on this puppy!


  1. How common are Thisledews ? We dug a killer example last weekend with a 360 drip in straight amber.

  2. Personally, I've always liken them. In fact, I've like them well enough to name a family pet after the brand. Now that I stop to think about it, I've named a lot of pets after whiskeys. Cats names include Thistledew, Renz, Rosedale and Nabob. Dogs have been Woodburn, and McKenna. It's a guy thing.

    The Thistledew is a scarce globby. But they haven't gotten the respect that they deserve. Probably because of a lack of concrete provenance. That might change in the future~

  3. The Thistledew has been one of my favorite odd ball western bottles for a long time. Glad to see that the orphaned western whiskey finally found its home. How about a display for the new Nevada Big Boy at the Reno National?

  4. old bumstead has dug a few and even one that had a slugplate that had the embossing sticking out quite a bit from the actual bottle mold,and part of the original embossed circle arond the embossing was showing around the edge of thr reworked new embossing.

  5. A general invitation.

    Send me photos of your examples and I'll post them for you as an addendum tot he article. Feel free to provide as much info about your find as you care to. I'll provide credit if you wish or post anonymously if you'd rather.


  6. I have an ad somewhere that shows Thistledew was a product of Geo. Simmon's located on Battery St in San Francisco.
    Makes sense to me, since the mold is very similar to the Nabob.


  7. Tom;

    Dig that ad out. Please! We'd always surmised that the two were connected based on the design of the slug plate but never had any actual provenance. I've wasted countless hours in digital archives trying to intentionally hook up Thistledew to anyone in S.F. I came up blank. The Reno link was dumb luck.


  8. I'm gonna have to hie my butt down to the CA archives and see what can be dug up on "This'll do" They come this neck of the woods, too.


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