Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dr, Henley's OK Spiced Wine Bitters

 Seeing Rick Pisano's incredible display at the FOHBC show in Reno offered the opportunity to view the finest grouping of Dr. Henley's product bottles I have ever seen. There were IXLs in every color imaginable, medicines including the rare Dr. Henley's Regulator, Indian Queen Hair Restorative, Royal Balsam, Eye Opener, and other bitters from this prolific "Doctor". There were also TWO examples of the extremely rare "OK Bitters"! This was a very short lived product which was in the 1869-71 time frame. These bottles have always been a bit of a mystery to me, and seem to be found exclusively in Oregon. There was rumor of a few "OKs" being found in Colorado, however I believe these could have been the triangular, amber "OK" bitters from the east. I could be mistaken on this. The number of known examples in collections seems to be 4-6 at the most. It is interesting that of the many products Henley marketed, there are only a few which are considered "common". The rest are rare to extremely rare. I have also heard of an intact "Dew of the Alps" but have not actually seen the bottle. The "OK Bitters seem to run in the same blue aqua coloration and do not seem to have been blown in other colors like the IXL, and even the Eye Opener. I travel the globe viewing and photographing great collections and have this photo of an "OK"
 Wilson's Western Bitters book shows an example with a label which I have never seen in person. Does anyone have any advertising for this bitters? Have any examples ( either intact or broken) been found in any wild colors? Finally, have any examples truly been found in any other state besides Oregon? It seems that Nevada was on the distribution route of virtually every western bitters, but I have never heard of a shard coming from there. It would be great to see a reference book written solely on Dr. Henley's many products! Rick...? 


  1. It may havejust been an "O.K" Bitters back then,but now it is a rare and highly desireable Bitters! Not a great deal of embossing or color, but the embossing that is there is big, bold, and bubbly! This one looks like one rude & crude dude!