I was watching a documentary about bourbon “Neat“. I recommend it. As of the time I’m writing this, it’s on Hulu. You can also pay to watch it on Amazon Prime. It’s part, history, part science, part industry analysis. It’s beautifully shot in my second home state of Kentucky. Featured in the documentary is a long time employee of Buffalo Trace, Freddie Johnson. Freddie is a third generation employee of Buffalo Trace. You should pop over to the page linked and read his story. His father and grandfather worked for the distillery. He tells a poignant story in the documentary that I wanted to share with you.
Freddie was gifted a bottle of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle, the most sought after bourbon in the world (and made just two hours from here in Frankfort, KY). That bottle sells on the aftermarket for $2,000, easily. Freddie was with his father and brother and cracked the bottle open. He poured small pours for each of them and put the cork back into the bottle. His father asked him “What on earth are you doing?” Freddie said he was saving it so they could do some more toasts at another time. He told his father how sought after the bottle was and was going to save it for later. His father told him he was well aware of its scarcity. And, he advised him that there would always be more “old bourbon”. “Look at me, look at your brother. The fragile part of this situation is the three of us. You never save bourbon for later. When you’re with family and friends, you drink it.” Freddie reopened the bottle and the three of them enjoyed it and had a wonderful fellowship together. It was the first time they had spent three hours together, talking laughing, discussing things they had done they didn’t know their father knew and vice versa. Within nine months, both Freddie’s father and his brother had made their transition. He didn’t know how many more toasts they would have together. His father was right about seizing the moment.
I’ve toured Buffalo Trace a couple of times. I hope the next time I’m there, I get to meet Freddie.