Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Bottom Shelf: Kessler Whiskey

Welcome back to The Bottom Shelf with Russ!  Thanks for being patient for a new bottom shelf review, I needed a vacation.

The Bottom Shelf with Russ: Kessler Whiskey

Anyone that ever had whiskey has probably had Kessler Whiskey and didn't even know it.  From under the bar at every tavern to most punchbowls at high school dances, Kessler is everywhere.

The Bottom Shelf with Russ: Kessler Whiskey

A man walks into a tavern and sits down at the bar.  The bartender asks him what he wants to drink. The man looks into his shirt pocket, then says that he will have Kessler on the rocks.  A little bit later, the bartender notices the mans glass is empty so he asks him if he would like another Kessler. The man at the bar looks into his shirt pocket again and says he will have another Kessler. At last call, the bartender asks him if he wants another drink, and again the man looks into his shirt pocket and orders another.  At closing time, the bartender asks to the man why he looks in his shirt pocket every time before ordering.  The man tells him that he has a picture of his wife in his pocket and when she starts to look good, he knows he's had enough.

Julius Kessler's whiskey is an American blended whiskey.  From 1888 to 1921, he went door to door, booze house to booze house,  peddling his "smooth as silk" bottom shelf hootch to anyone and everyone. His picture is always on the bottle, and it may be the best selling whiskey of all time.  However, it is now owed by Jim Beam Brands, which claims it is the number two seller in the world.

The Bottom Shelf with Russ: Kessler Whiskey

I had a very young experience with Kessler.  Let's just say a whiskey sling through a nipple on a baby bottle gave me two days of sound sleep and my mother two days of panic attacks.  I had Kessler from a punchbowl at a wedding reception just before being introduced to a nice young lady who is now my wife of thirty-two years(thanks Kessler). I had three full cases of Kessler whiskey left over from my wedding reception that I stored in my closet for 20 years, only to start giving it away as stocking stuffers to friends.  I also had one in the garage for medicinal purposes only.  I recently renewed my acquaintance with Kessler "smooth as silk" whiskey.  Just looking at that noble bottle and Julius' picture gave me goose bumps and a sense of nostalgia.  I don't care how Kessler tastes, looks, or smells. I like it!  Kessler is not altogether smooth as silk, but it is tasty.  And it can be found anywhere alcohol can be bought.  There it is, right on the bottom shelf were it should be and cheap as hell!  

Taste: 4 - Like I said, not exactly smooth as billed, but it is not unpleasant and its not harsh on the aftertaste.

Cost: 5 - About  a buck and a half more then the vile Fleischmann's brand.  It's a great upgrade. A ten spot can get you a fifth of Kessler and a Burger king Whopper. "Have it your way".  Just can't beat that.

Packaging: 5 - Picture of a proud Julius Kessler on a very distintively shaped GLASS container.  

Effects: 5 - I married her didn't I?

Mixability: 4 - Try a Kessler with cola, lemon juice, and a few maraschino cherries, and enjoy along with a peanut butter and ham sandwich.  Kessler's is an everyday man's whiskey            

Next time we will review our final bottom shelf whiskey: Ten High Kentucky whiskey (a real charmer).

Here's looking up yours from Bottom Shelf Russ!

You can read the other entries from The Bottom Shelf With Russ here: 

THE Northern Lights
Canada (Out)House
Canadian LTD
G&W Five Star


  1. Good review. I might give it a go.

  2. My Dad, in his somewhat later alkie years picked kessler and water as his drink of choice. Yes he bought it at the liquor store when buying it off-sale (a Minnesota term) but he also ordered it by name at the bar (on-sale). The price differential between Kessler and other medium to lower shelf whiskies were not enough to sweat over so he must have actually liked the stuff. I've had it numerous times but always with water like dear my old Dad. Maybe I should experiment and dump some into a glass with coke like my true favorite drink, Jim Beam and coke. Who knows I may switch, like it as much or better and save bucks...

    Alkie or not, my dad was (as in he is no longer a member of living beings still trapped on this blue marble of a planet) no dummy. Very few carpenters alive today are "finish" carpenters that can router out crown moldings on the jobsite or build hand routered cabinets from real wood from scratch. My dad could do those things, even after hammering down Kessler all evening the night before. A totally functioning alkie. He said that using a water mix left a "cleaner" booze and less of a hangover. He oughtta know.

    I wasn't totally "put-off" by Kessler and water but controlling the ratio myself rather than my favorite bartender at the time (affectionately named Moose) may lead to a better experience than memory serves due to his heavy pour. Also, the coke aspect was never tried out of respect and minor fear of my dad (eventually though I had to pin him on his back on the couch when he became too unruly one drunken evening and any fear of him in any situation after that quickly subsided) but since he's no longer around, the respect may really no longer apply.

    None of the above actions of my dad had anything to do with kessler per se, it would have been true with any mix of any type of alcohol and his brain. Therefore, I'm totally open to giving Kessler's another shot (lol no pun intended) and based on past experience, I feel others should as well.