Delaneys Corner sign at Nirranda, Australia

Delaneys' Whiskey Recipe book - The Complete Practical Distiller

Even though no further distilling took place after Tom Delaney's arrest in 1894, the recipe for Delaney's Whiskey was orally passed down in the Delaney family, and was known to have been recited by Pat Delaney (brother of Whiskey Tom) and his son Patrick Michael or PM in the presence of son and grandson Joe Delaney. Alas, the exact measures have passed into oblivion over the years.

As well there were rumours of a written recipe but they seemed destined to remain only rumours.

Until 'The Complete Practical Distiller' surfaced at the Delaney/Dunne Reunion in Nirranda on 30 December 1978, handed in by Roy Cust 1 of Timboon, who had previously received it from his friend Ned Delaney, the youngest son of Whiskey Tom. He said that it was the whiskey book used by the Delaneys.

The cover and the first 14 pages are missing. The book appears to have had a lot of use [some pages are particularly well-thumbed and marked] suggesting that it was consulted often during the production of Delaneys Mountain Dew Whiskey in the 1880's-1890ís.

It was written by an American Dr Marcus Lafayette Byrn M.D. [1826-1903]2, graduate of the University of the City of New York, and published by Henry Carey Baird, Philadelphia in 1854. Baird was the leading publisher of technical manuals in his day.

Thanks to Glenn Raudins, of Raudins Publishing, who has re-published the 'The Complete Practical Distiller', we now know that we have at least the 8th edition of the book, published in 1870 and sold at least until 1875, because the Delaney copy has an appendix titled 'Practical Directions for Distilling. From the French of Th. Flinz, Brewer And Distiller' on page 199. Glenn says that this appendix was first published in the 8th edition of the book. There may have even been a 9th edition - a very popular publication, no doubt due to it's exact technical descriptions.

The introduction to the book reads:

"Comprising the most perfect and exact theoretical and practical description of the art of distillation and rectification; including all of the most recent improvements in distilling apparatus; instructions for preparing spirits from the numerous vegetables, fruits, &c. Directions for the distillation and preparation of all kinds of brandies and other spirits, spirituous and other compounds, etc. etc. All of which is so simplfied that it is adapted not only to the use of extensive distillers, but for every farmer, or others who may wish to engage in the art of distilling. "

The website of Ulf Buxrud a member of the Single Malt Society, Sweden, lists the title in his extensive whiskey library.

1 Roy does not appear in the Delaney family tree. 'ROY A. CUST, NULLAWARRE' is written in the index on page 215. Another hand has added on the last page 'Given to him by Ned Delaney'.

2 Dr Byrn was a busy man; he had earlier written another book, published by the same house in 1852, entitled 'The Complete Practical Brewer; or, plain, accurate, and thorough Instructions in the Art of Brewing Ale, Beer, and Porter'. He also wrote humourous stories under the pseudonym of David Rattlehead, including 'The Life and Adventures of an Arkansas Doctor' first published in 1851, re-issued by University of Arizona press 1989, and at least one book on medical issues 'Detection of Fraud and Protection of Health'. All in all, an exemplary doctor!

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Unless otherwise stated all text & images © Maurice Delaney, 2001-2006