|Almost to The Bunker...but the Wasters are Waiting|
What Hoarders am I talking about? These guys. And these. The guys who hear that a whiskey is being dropped, or changed, or may be in short supply...and immediately go out and buy up every bottle on the shelf to put in their "bunker." It's in short supply, they say, better stock up.
Guys...you're part of the problem! It doesn't take a math genius to see that if you're buying up all the stock you see, that someone else is going to find nothing, and report that as a shortage.
Is there even a bourbon shortage? There is a shortage of some bourbons; rather famously, Van Winkle is no longer simply placed on the shelf, but allocated and auctioned and apportioned. Weller is harder to find, but I bought my last bottle (about two months ago) right off the shelf. There have been some bourbons change to No Age Statement (unhappily, the Elijah Craig 12 is one), and those quickly disappear. Buffalo Trace bourbons in general are harder to find (some of that is their relatively small production; Willett suffers from a similar problem). But I have not seen any shortage of excellent bourbons like Baker's, and Woodford, and Evan Williams Single Barrel, and Old Grand-Dad 114, and Old Forester Signature, or any of the bonded bourbons I love.
Hoarders tend to be driven by single-mindedness. They feel they simply must have a supply of the bourbon (or bourbons) they think are the best. I empathize, but the fact is...things change. We don't want them to, but they do, inevitably. You can find lots written on how whiskeys have changed; sometimes for the better, sometimes worse. For every regret, there is a corresponding joy, but nothing is made the way it used to be. Nothing. Hoarders are the Canutes of Consumption, trying to hold back the tide of change by stashing away booze. You know what happens when you stash booze? This. And this. And most of all, this.
Hoarders put away the booze, and all too often...it sits there. Doing nothing. Contributing to a panic over nothing. I'm guilty myself, or I was. I hoarded beers, big beers, specialty beers. I was saving them for a special night, a special friend, a special occasion that just never seemed to come (because when it did, we were having too much fun drinking fresh, delicious beers). Last year I decided I would start drinking them. And what did I find? Now they're nothing but a curiosity, and aside from a perishing few exceptions that aged well, mere shadows of what they were when fresh. I'm in hell, a hell of my own making.
Whiskey, happily, has never met that fate in my home. No matter what, out it comes when thirsty guests arrive. Lesson learned; hell avoided. Hoarders: learn the lesson. There are always good whiskeys available, good beers available. Stop worrying and enjoy them. Relax with your whiskey, enjoy beer as it happens, or...well, as Slayer says, Hell Awaits.
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