Thirsty (No Pappy Van Winkle in 2013)

Elmer-T.-LeeThis year I came up short.

After two very good years -- beginner's luck, I guess -- I didn't score any Pappy Van Winkle in 2013.

Maybe my bottle was in one of the 65 cases stolen in October.

October's always been a weird month. I used to work for a company that analyzed the stock market and the market always seemed to go into crazy fits and starts during the month of October -- maybe it had something to do with the dark side of the moon. And speaking of the Dark Side of the Moon, the greatest album ever -- by Pink Floyd -- celebrated its 40th anniversary in March of 2013.

But let's get back to the brown stuff.

I did try a few bourbons that were new to me and in a much more affordable price range than Pappy. Elmer T. Lee's Single Barrel was one of the best. I think I paid $29.95 for a 750ml bottle. I bought it on July 16, the day Lee died after 93 years. I thought it was a good way to pay tribute to the first master distiller. Out of all the new bourbons I sampled in 2103, I enjoyed Elmer T. the most.

I was on a tight budget so most of the bourbons I purchased were in the $25 to $35 range. Elmer T. Lee SB, Four Roses Small Batch, and Evan Williams Single Barrel 2003 and 2000 provided the greatest taste for the dollar. All the bourbons tasted respectable for a bargain price. Each is hearty enough to sip neat and inexpensive enough to enjoy regularly.

If you want to save $5 or $10 more a bottle, there's always Buffalo Trace -- the best value in the bourbon universe. For a few dollars less, try W.L. Weller Special Reserve and Evan Williams Black.

So 2013 is in the books.

Truthfully, it hasn’t always been an easy one, but the joy of sipping a strong and tasty glass of bourbon after a hard day is one of my simple pleasures.

It’s a ritual of slowing down, lubricating the mind and emotions, and tasting life again.

One of my favorite things to do -- if the day has sucked me dry -- is pour a glass of the good stuff, turn on some music -- Miles Davis' Kind of Blue works best or maybe some Wilco or PFs Dark Side -- and  enjoy the good warm feeling that rises up inside as I sip a glass of fine bourbon.

Have a Pappy New Year, or (if you can't find Pappy -- who can?) -- celebrate with whatever bourbon makes you laugh, leave 2013 behind, and move on to the adventures of 2014.

May you all find a bottle of the best bourbon in the world this year!

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Chris Brantley

Stumbled across bourbon via Walker Percy. Like to read, write and drink bourbon. Also, I enjoy living on the coast, grilling steaks, eating seafood and listening to good music. Great song on Spotify, fine bourbon in the glass, and something interesting to think about = BLISS.

3 thoughts to “Thirsty (No Pappy Van Winkle in 2013)”

  1. I started my quest for pappy 2 years ago after being retired for a year to have something to do. Was able to come up with 2 12’s and a 15 my first year just a little above cost. Early on the next year I became friends with a local store owner who was able to get me 10 and a 20. Needless to say my quest was almost over or so I thought. The elusive 23. later on in the year my friend called up said he had the 23 so I rushed down to pick it up. I have tried the 10, 15 and the 20 when the patriots won the super bowl with my grandson. each time I share it with my friend at the store because he has never tasted it before, he is very grateful. I am also very grateful because unlike the big chain stores he is much more resonable with his prices than they are. So far the 20 is far superior to any I’ve had. will be going up north to my son’s wedding with the 23 will let you know about it then since that will be one of his wedding gifts.

    1. Great Story Bob and what a great gift for your son. Always good to hear about the good guys (store owners who aren’t gouging bourbon lovers). Is it okay if I share your story on the blog? I can use no name, your whole name or just your first name. Your call. Enjoy the Chase!

  2. St. Augustine is one of my favorite plaecs in Florida. And ohhhh is it beautiful at Christmas.I spent an entire day at the Fort, just thinking about all the history there. And the oldest house still standing in this country was VERY interesting Yep one of my favorite plaecs down there. Can’t WAIT to see your pictures!

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