The house was quiet except for the faint melody of Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” echoing in the distance. The rest of the family was snug in their beds. It was late in the evening, in fact it was very early in the morning. In the living room, the Christmas tree diffused a soft soothing glow to the dark room as the fire place flickered, offering a warm comfort. The holiday season had come and gone. Christmas was over a week old and the New Year had begun. I sat alone, reflective in my chair. On the side table sat my favorite glass filled with three fingers of Blanton’s, chilled by a solitary ice cube. I glanced around the room and smiled with pride and satisfaction. Nodding to myself with a sense of gratitude. “I am blessed,” I whispered.
I pushed back, deep into my recliner and enjoyed a healthy sip of bourbon. Blanton’s familiar buttery, caramel custard bouquet delightfully accented with notes of spice and tartness caressed my palate. I appreciated it’s warm embrace on such a winter’s evening. As I admired my glass full of cheer, I noticed something , something beautiful yet unexpected. The shimmer of the lights on the Christmas tree provided a captivating backdrop through the filter of the bourbon. Like amber stars shining brightly amid a mahogany galaxy, the lights gleamed and sparkled in a pattern. A constellation perhaps? What did it represent? I took another sip. It wasn’t long before the 46.5% ABV settled into the recesses of my brain. All residual stress ebbed away. Yet oddly enough, my memory became super charged with activity. Nostalgia stirred. I lifted my glass to the light once again and then it became clear.
Each light, each star, suddenly provided their wish. Their twinkle soon recalled moments and happenings from the past year. Some that were recent and fresh and others that I had long since neglected. Vivid memories clipped through my thoughts. Trips both grand and spontaneous, friendships, hardships, quiet times spent alone, date nights, birthdays, anniversary dinner, laughing with my wife, playing with my daughter, seeing God’s plan for my life laid out over the calendar of the past year…this Christmas and now the New Year! I was filled with such a dichotomy of emotion that I am pretty sure I chuckled and cried at the same time.This epiphany, however minor in event, was still quite powerful and very cathartic emotionally. It was surreal but I knew this wasn’t a dream and I knew that this wasn’t some figment born from intoxication. I was affectively conscious, just captive in a state of past experience and, by the way, it was my first drink of the evening. I have been here with these feelings before, as I am sure we all have, yet not so knowingly aware. I liken the moment to watching a motion picture of my my life played out before me as a member of the audience. And as movies go, this had everything; comedy, action and drama. It made me laugh, it made me cry. However, watching it from the perspective of a fan, I probably would have selected someone like Bradley Cooper to play my role. I am sure my wife would have enjoyed that as well:)
Bourbon truly remembers what our memory often forgets. I am thankful for such an insightful experience specifically during this time of year. I welcome the ability to reminisce on those special moments as sort of healthy mental review, an annual report card if you will. I think we all can find value in that. If you view your life as a fine bourbon, like I do, then such reflection may provide the defining aspects to your greatest product yet. You may already have all the best ingredients, the distillation process down to a science, the right char level, the perfect barrel and prime environment. However, to make the bourbon as rewarding as possible, you have to master the aging process. If you don’t then your product could end up tasting bland and never be flavored to your perfection. Your bourbon may end up lacking the buttery, caramel custard and spice notes you desire. Aging bourbon requires trial and error, review and improvement on past attempts. It requires a willingness to change and grow, if needed.
So as The Bourboneer I say to you, don’t be afraid to use a fine bourbon, such as Blanton’s, to assist you in making your life’s finest bourbon. Take time to reflect on last year’s age statement as a means of producing a more flavorful product this year and if not this year then strive for next year! Just ensure you’re making the effort to improve each year.
I wish all of you a very Happy New Year! Enjoy your bourbon!
Bourbon enjoyed while writing this article: Blanton’s KSBW (again), 46-1/2% ABV or 93 proof (NAS) Blanton Distilling Company, Frankfurt, Ky.