My alacrity for whiskey consumption is akin to the waste of anticipation as often I find that the first dram isn’t quite enough and that it takes subsequent visits to the bottle (or bottles, not that my capacity for spirit is such that I can consume whole bottles at a time) before I am assuaged. That is perhaps not totally unusual… the “lust for liquor” is a fine line between need and want. At which point does one “have a problem” or is that such a misleading term fraught with preconceived notions exacerbated by your arm-chair teetotalers who’ve never had the luxury to imbibe or felt that mask of difficulty slip away that it’s not worth addressing if you’ve not reached the level of draining fifths on the train to work…
This is not, however, an ode to the notion of in vino veritas as if some finer truth of man is revealed by inebriation.
What this is, or what I intend it to be, is an ode to the source of my liquor lust induced ennui. Or, to put it into really simple terms: when the hell can I get my hands on a bottle of Sazerac 18?
It is that time of year, dear reader, when the folks at Buffalo Trace taunt and tease the fans of fine American whiskeys with two sets of releases: the far over-rated, but still excellent, collection of wheated Bourbon and Family Reserve Rye that flies under the auspices of the Pappy Van Winkle brand; and the far, far more interesting Antique Collection.
If you’ve encountered me, leaning across the bar, spilling my spirits mid-foaming tirade, no doubt I was incited to this riotous state by merely overhearing someone praising a Van Winkle product (that or I was upset about the estate tax…). I do enjoy the Van Winkle brand, though Preston (the current heir to the name) has admitted that the 2013 bottling of the 23-year old strain will probably be the last of the old Stitzel-Weller stock. Even then, the math seems a bit off as the Stitzel-Weller distillery proper closed in 1972, but not totally impossible as the age statement must legally refer to the youngest barrel used in the blend. Van Winkle is good, but as Mr Cowdery puts it, mostly over-hyped and favored heavily in magazines who’s names are too gauche to mention other than to refer to them as either “Safeway porn” or “stuff to purchase and/or masturbate to”.
What interests me far more than paying too much for an unpopular style of bourbon (in general, I am a fan of the kick of rye over the nutty taste of wheat in my bourbon) is straight American Rye and that, friends, is why I have a bit of a whiskey boner with regards to the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Sazerac Rye 18. Granted, I still have some William LaRue (a more affordable expression of wheated bourbon from Buffalo Trace) and a half a bottle of the Thomas Handy Rye from last season, but the Sazerac Rye puts all to shame.
In all fairness, all of the Antique Collection products are excellent: George T Stagg and Eagle Rare 17 being the others in that short list. They too, though, are subject to this cat and mouse game of demand. Today I am on the “wait list” at three different liquor stores, expecting a call at any moment which will have me spill my bowl of Spaghetti-Ohs, shut off the Clear Channel Communications “rock radio” station, hop into my auto-gyro and make all haste to empty my bank account for at least one of those bottles of sweet, sweet nectar.
But when? But where?
As Mr Tom Petty put’s it, “the waiting is the hardest part.”
Anecdotally, autumn and winter are a type of holiday for me… I don’t give a damn about religion/fairy tale inspired holidays (the sky-god is a foolish concept, but all thanks to Gore Vidal for the legacy of that language), possession acquiring (I need not gifts, I can buy shit I don’t need for myself), and all that rot. I do, however, enjoy the startchy waistline expanding comfort foods of post-harvest, the increased time spent indoors for naval gazing/masturbation/crying, and, of course, the release of the best fucking whiskey you will ever taste.
So I sit.
Will all this anticipation aid that first taste of my own bottle of Sazerac 18? Gods, I hope so.
(P.S. I realize it’s not without some irony that I am using a very literal interpretation of a song written more about the allegorical nature of patience in life written by chaps who do not enjoy liquor at all to refer to my impatience with regard to my favorite liquor. I’m okay with that level of cognitive dissonance. Also, it’s not a very deep cut, but it serves my purpose. Fah!)