A few days later, Chris (from LAWS) and I drove a few hours to the store that held the bottles. We were led into a back room, and there it was in all its glory: a crate of some very old, very strange, and very suspicious Old Fitzgerald.


Immediately, two things were obvious: the crate was genuine. But it was not made for the bottles inside it. The crate was labeled "144 Individuals" -- intended for a gross of 1/10 pint minis. Not full-size bottles.


Could these be counterfeits from long ago, stuffed in a real but wrong crate?

There were no tax stamps, no medicinal notices, all sorts of bizarre mistakes… and of the seven bottles in the crate, there were three different kinds of glass bottles.



They all did date to the same era, and one helped me narrow down bottling to between 1911 and 1919. But still, this just wasn't making sense.


Worse, these could actually be dangerous. If they were counterfeit, the liquid inside had a high chance of being nasty, toxic swill --

"No," the liquor store owner interrupted, "Have some!" He pulled out a nearly-empty bottle that he and the bottles' owner had apparently been drinking.

Well, the guy didn't look blind or dead, so I poured. I sipped. And I tasted…

Bourbon. Rather funky and flat, but not terrible. It had the muted tones and paint-y notes that often come from very old dusties.


It wasn't anything close to "95% Alcohol." But 95 Proof (47.5% ABV) seemed within reason. As for age, well, it didn't taste that old and it didn't taste that young. The age of a bourbon is very hard to gauge by taste anyway -- where a barrel sits in a rickhouse can have more "aging" impact than actual age -- and honestly, I didn't get a fair taste on a prepared palate.


In any event, this stuff certainly seemed to be real whiskey.


Continue to Conclusion...



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