Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tried It? I Made It!

Someone asked me today if I'd ever had the George Washington Distillery Limited Edition Vatted American Whiskey?

"Had it?" I said. "I made it!"

When the whole project to restore George Washington's Mount Vernon distillery began, each DISCUS member donated a full barrel of their whiskey. It was delivered with much fanfare and then left to age a little longer at Mount Vernon.

The original bottling they did from that whiskey was special bottles of each brand, which were auctioned or otherwise sold at ridiculous prices to benefit the restoration project.

After that they still had a lot of it left and some of it was getting pretty old, so they came up with this idea to mix it all together. I was on hand for that event in the summer of 2005. The plan was to empty all of the barrels into a big plastic tub, mix them together, then put them back into the barrels for another six months.

As you can imagine, getting whiskey out of a barrel is pretty easy but getting it back in is not. The only way in is through the bung hole, which is about 2.5 inches in diameter.

Joe Dangler, from A. Smith Bowman Distillery, brought a small lab pump, which was too slow. This part of the plan had not been thought through. Because we all had planes to catch we started to improvise. My innovation was cutting some plastic water bottles into scoops and funnels. We were all dipping and dumping as fast as we could (including a female DISCUS lawyer wearing a Chanel suit...what a sport!) and we were in the tub up to our elbows.

I'm sure there is part of me in every bottle.

I managed to clean up a little bit at the airport but I'm sure we all smelled like...well, you can just about imagine.

I was also there when it was bottled a few months later and that's a good story too, but for another time.

(In the picture, that's Joe Dangler on the left and Dave Pickerell on the right. Ron Call is in the background. I don't recall the woman talking to Ron.)

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