Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Henley's Royal balsam

The Henley bottles have always been one of my favorites. There are likely more early Henley's medicines and bitters than any other western brand with the Royal Balsam being one of the earliest. This product was introduced in the late 1860s and was distributed mainly in Oregon and Northern California.I know that Portland has kicked out the majority of them. Prior to the "Big Dig" of 1998 in San Francisco, there were less than 10 examples in western collections, and although 6 more were dug in the City, these are still considered rare and desirable western medicines. For as long as this brand was sold ( almost 10 years), there are comparatively few in collections. I have seen them with a giant flying saucer type top, and this small applied top in varying shades of aqua. The shape is a bit unusual being a tall and thin form which is difficult to stand up with any degree of stability.
The list of Henley products is long with the many versions of the IXL Bitters, the OK Bitters, Eye Opener, two variants of the Celery Beef and Iron, Dandilion Tonic, Indian Queen Hair Restorative, Royal Palm Gin, Dew of the Alps, Oregon Kidney Tea, Regulator, and The Royal Balsam. Collecting one of each is a tough challenge and I only know of one collector who has all of the intact known


specimens, and the Dew of the Alps is still a "White Whale". I am sure more of the Henley products will come to light some day like the Tamarack...maybe THIS Spring! DM.


  1. dale what color would the dew of the alps be? karl.

  2. Based on the photos which show the Dew of the Alps in Henley's display at the California State Fair, this bottle appears to be either amber or green and similar to a Renz"s. They are out there somewhere. DM