Strategically located at the mouth of the Kentucky River, Prestonville KY, named for American Revolutionary War Hero Col. William Preston, found prosperity through the middle and late years of the 19th century. Prior to strategic railroad construction connecting Covington to Lexington, river traffic created wealth, prosperity, and economic activity. Flatboats and keelboats moved goods for fees between strategic points up and down the river, and general stores and warehouses popped up to store the goods as well as sell them to budding communities of intrepid settlers as frontier America grew.
It was during this time in 1839 that A.W. Darling and Brothers were awarded the first dam contract on the Kentucky River. Darling, a successful businessman, also operated a general store and a large flour mill, shipping flatboats of flour to New Orleans by river. Eventually Darling opened a distillery in Prestonville, and made his home there, which operated independently until it was sold to the infamous Whiskey Trust forty years later in 1880. By that time, “Darling” whiskey had earned a name for itself in the area, and Darling himself profited handsomely from the sale of the brand, which the Trust kept intact and sold as “Old Darling” for many years.
The Old Darling Distillery at the turn of last century operated extensive grounds, with a large cattle operation for stillage alongside eight separate ageing warehouses, all made of brick with metal or slate roofs. IRS records indicate financial transactions up until national prohibition in 1920.
Faithful to a label design tax stamped in 1915, we’ve recreated the Old Darling brand as accurately as possible, and bottle a 3.5 year Straight Bourbon Whiskey in the value segment with a $6.99 suggested retail, exclusively in a 375 PET format. Distilled only 45 miles upriver from the original Prestonville site at MGPI in Lawrenceburg Indiana, Old Darling is bottled by hand in Bloomington Indiana. The 99% corn mash bourbon is sweet with freshly cut oak spice and a soft floral and cinnamon finish, perfect for casual occasions. We’ve delighted in finding old records, including two images of the Old Darling baseball team! We hope you enjoy this bourbon and story as much as we enjoyed making it!