I waited for the right moment to pop the question. I noticed she was smiling looking at the TV, so I knew this was the right time. “Honey, you know I love you right?” It’s been 11 years since we got married, so she knew this always followed with bad news, or something I was uncomfortable asking. Her face slowly, and I mean slowly, turned from the TV. “What do you want Kerry”, she asked. I replied, “Can I meet up with some bourbon guys from Twitter this upcoming Saturday night to drink some bourbon?” Loose translation, “I’d like to meet some guys I’ve never met from the internet in some hotel in Buckead and do it on a Saturday night when we usually hang out as a couple and also somehow get home without a DUI”. She laughed at me. But, as is usually the case, she was cool with it, she just wanted me to get home safe, and take a few buddies so I wouldn’t get robbed or raped. Requirement one – check.
Two weeks ago I went over to a buddy’s house down the street from me and he and I and another friend who lives next door to him ended up drinking some bourbon in his basement. I had mentioned that a few guys were talking about coming to Atlanta for a bourbon meet up and asked if they would be interested. They both said yes. I texted both throughout the week to see if they wanted to accompany me on this bourbon meet up. Both ended up saying yes. Both also had the same question, “where EXACTLY are we going?” I had no idea. Didn’t matter though, I had bodyguards. Requirement two – check.
I sent direct messages on Twitter to the people who were coming to the impromptu party, Sam@(bourbonchaser), Brock (@dbrockmanw), and Lloyd (@bourbontruth). I asked where we were meeting. No one knew. It was mentioned we would meet at a hotel in Buckhead where everyone was staying, but we weren’t sure where. I asked Lloyd (@bourbontruth) why he was coming to Atlanta and he said to re-reverse a sex change. He never followed back up after I responded to it (yes he was kidding). I picked up my buddies at 7:30 and told them, “This will either be an epic evening, or one of the weirdest we have ever had”. We all agreed that we weren’t ready to die, so we hoped for the former. My friend told me he would take a bullet for me, but only in his hands or arms, not in his chest. I thought that was fair.
We arrived at the hotel at 8:00pm and grabbed all the goodies we had in my trunk. I had brought some Saz 18, some Midnight Winter’s Dram, and some Troy and Sons Blonde Whiskey. My friends has brought a Smooth Ambler 7 year bourbon and a store select Eagle Rare. We carried the stuff in and met up with Sam in the lobby. He mentioned he hadn’t heard from others yet and said we could head up to his room while we wait. His son was up there. We took the elevator up and walked to his room. I knew Sam, he was one of my first Twitter friends, so I really wasn’t worried. One of my buddies that I brought gave me a look that said , “If it’s like Deliverance up there I’m breaking these bottles on heads and running away”. No problem, just try to break the Saz 18 last.
Once in the room, Sam introduced us to his son, and showed us what he had brought. A Booker’s 25th, a rare Heaven Hill select stock, a Four Roses Private Barrel (can’t remember the recipe), and an Old Orphan Lost Prophet. We called the front desk and asked if they had meeting rooms and they said no. I called back and told them we had a big business meeting and needed to close a deal and were hoping for a place where we could drink and talk. The man suggested the breakfast area attached to the lobby. We went down there and met up with Brock. We began to set up bottles and the front desk told us we couldn’t drink in there. We also couldn’t drink in the meeting rooms. At that point Lloyd walked in as well. We finally ended up back in Sam’s room and set up shop. Lloyd had brought 8 sample bottles of which we knew were going to be ridiculously good. And Brock, the unassuming kid who looks like he is still in college, had brought an amazing collection of rare stuff. A sample of every Four Roses recipe, a 25 year Willett rye, Willett XCF, ’14 George T. Stagg, 2014 Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch, and some really rare Scotch, including a 25 year Talisker. He also had samples of William Larue Weller, Handy, and a bunch of other stuff. We set up the bar and it looked a little something like this:
No one really knew where to begin. All this amazing booze was sitting in front of us and we weren’t really sure how or where to start. A nervous tension filled the air as waited for our next move. Thankfully Lloyd stepped up and said let’s try Sample # 1., so we did. He told us about each sample, the story behind it, etc. Say what you will about @bourbontruth, he knows his stuff. He is also a lot friendlier than he comes across on Twitter, even if you don’t want to believe it. Sorry Lloyd, had to say it, but feel free to publicly call me a liar on it. Sample #1 was a Whistle Pig Boss Hog. Sample #2 I think was a Four Roses from 1993. Sample #3 was a 15 year William Heavenhill Cask Strength. Then we all tried some Saz 18. Then everyone kind of diverged into different stuff from there. We tried an 11 year Willett bourbon which was amazing. I had the 25 year Willett rye, and another 24 year Willet Rye (a Bonili Japan). I had Booker’s 25th, GTS, Lost Prophet, William Larue Weller, and some of these rare Scotch that Brock brought. I began to lose track of what I was trying. I know all of it was good, so good. And I know that I was feeling great until around 10:30. That’s when the feeling hit me that I am really, REALLY drunk. I remember telling everyone that I wanted to take home some of Lloyd’s sample # 7, the 11 year Willett bourbon. Apparently that didn’t sit well with Sam’s son, who went over and poured another glass from it while I was lying on the floor. In all fairness, I didn’t need to take that sample bottle, it was there to be consumed, not taken home, so I’m actually glad he did.
We ended up calling safe ride who met us in the lobby sometime after 11. My friend John asked the driver if he was into Goth. I couldn’t stop laughing and started coughing. My esophagus burned, there was a lot of rocket fuel in my belly at that point. Poor safe ride driver had to deal with us for 30 minutes. We had him stop at a Waffle House near my house. We ate a huge meal. I had eggs over medium, a waffle, toast, grits, and hash browns. I’m not sure what my other 2 friends had, I don’t think I looked up until the plates were empty. A bunch of high school kids came, my friend John started a chant, “High School….High School…High School” My other friend Chuck said he was fine to drive at that point and got us home. I got into bed around 1, put one foot on the floor to stop the spins, and drifted to sleep.
It was an incredibly fun evening. Sam, Lloyd, and Brock are friendly, knowledgeable, and very generous. They offered up amazing stuff to me and my friends and were happy to share. I wish I had brought better stuff, but as I’m fairly new to the hunting game, I didn’t have that much to bring. I tasted some amazing stuff, my favorite probably being the 11 year Willett Bourbon, sample #7 from Lloyd. I had one Scotch that was great, and another that I couldn’t drink because it was soo….Scotchy. Such an amazing time with some great people. And I didn’t get raped or robbed. Win/win.