I have told many people before that I lost all taste for bourbon after drinking a fifth and a pint of Old Crow in about 30 minutes one time, and eventually woke up in jail the next day. But that was when I was 16 years old. I just never could stand the smell, much less the taste of it after that. That was well over 50 years ago.
I have several bottles that have been in the top of a cabinet, leftover from when the popular thing to do was hand out whiskey as gifts at Christmas time, in the construction business. It seems that custom started to wind down in the later part of the 1980’s. It was a widely accepted practice to give bottles to inspectors. In fact if you forgot to bring a bottle around, you could be sure that it wouldn’t be forgotten by that inspector. We would make our lists and check them twice. You didn’t let a $15 bottle of Wild Turkey stand between you and a mad inspector.
Of course back in those days salesmen always brought customers bottles around too. Since I never drank it, I’d just stack the bottles up and save them for a rainy day, I suppose. I started putting a piece of freezer tape on the bottle and marked a date on it. Over the years those bottles started disappearing. I’m not going to point fingers but with a house full of young men around, I’m pretty sure I know where some of it went.
We were moving one time and I walked into the kitchen to a rank smell of whiskey in the air. My wife, bless her heart, had poured out bottle after bottle, right down the kitchen sink. There was a couple of huge plastic trash bag full of whiskey bottles. “Well you don’t drink that stuff, so there isn’t any reason to be moving it”. Dang it, she had a point there, but just not a very good one.
There was a bunch of them that she hadn’t poured out so we moved them to our next stop. And then again, if I remember correctly I ended up giving some of it to my sons after they were married and out of the house. They seemed to like it.
That left me now with four bottles of very aged Crown Royal and one fifth of Evan Williams. I would have considered Evan Williams a cheaper bourbon, not really worthy of giving out. But we had one equipment peddler that wasn’t a big spender, so most likely Ed, gave that bottle to me.
I woke up this morning with a tight chest. Thinking something must have blown in with the latest front I didn’t figure it was anything very serious. After sitting around not really feeling my oats all day, I started thinking back to when I was a kid and I had a little chest condition, Bonnie Gay, that was my mother, would fix me up a hot toddy and pour little whiskey in it. It cured a many a tight chest.
The longer I thought about it the more curious I became. Maybe that would fix me up. I went in a reached up in the very top of a kitchen cabinet and grab out that bottle of Evan Williams. I’m not sure if I failed to put a date on that bottle or over time if the tape just turned lose and fell off. So I’ve got no way of knowing but that 7 year old bottle of bourbon must be 30 or 35 years old. It has a price tag of $8.55 on it. It says 200th year on the label. They started in 1783, so maybe this bottle has been put away for 37 years.
An average price of that bottle now appears to be almost $18.
I can tell you one thing for sure, after that extra large hot toddy, I’m feeling like a little chest congestion isn’t such a big deal after all. It could be the aging of the whiskey, but I’m not resisting the aroma of bourbon at all.