It's always nice to get to know the folks around you a bit. Friday night's group included the regular grouping of interesting and wonderful folks. Immediately "up" line from us was Kevin, who offered to make us coffee in the morning and collected pizza orders for delivery later on. Also "up" line was Andrew who brought his doggy, Layla. The dog was a delight who sat on our blankies to get her tired old feet off the concrete. Right next to us was Rachael (whom we all called DC). Rachael had flown in from Washington DC that afternoon, using her fiancees flight miles to trip out and get a couple bottles of Snowflake for their wedding. The wedding will be on Mount Evans later this year and her fellow who LOVES Stranahan's whiskey. (Rachael however kinda hates whiskey). She flew out immediately after collecting her bottles and dropping them off to be engraved in the morning. Next to DC was a group of friends that had flown in from both Portland and Kansas City (figure out that connection and you're doing better than I am). There were 5 of them and all were friendly and nice.
So we spent the evening drinking, eating the pizza that Kevin ordered, and catching occasional cat naps between the blaring of the train horn as it rumbled by about a quarter mile away. It ran at least every hour, but it felt like much more. :D. There were folks playing guitars, people talking and visiting, folks with outdoor camp fires, one tent had a whole bar in it. It's a nice chilly party full of folks with the shared interest in getting a once in a life time bottle of a very special whiskey.
In the morning, around 6 AM, they start handing out tickets.
Stranahan's is making more of a party atmosphere out of the release and they're doing a really good job of it. Once (and within an hour before) the tickets are handed out folks start packing up. This makes the line MUCH shorter as some folks will take up 20 or 30 feet of sidewalk with their tents and such. And no one cares a whole lot where they are in line once they have their tickets. We moved from the alley that's about a 1/2 mile from the entrance door to about 100 yards away long before the doors opened at 8 AM. Folks are still talking and visiting in the line, there's occasionally a warming stove scattered here and there and that's a good thing because once you've packed up your feet start really freezing while you wait the hour or two to get in the door.
Then the doors open! They check ID's as you enter (21 and over only in the line). Then the line snakes throughout the distillery so that we can all warm up a bit. There's a band playing, folks dancing, an online bar set up and the mood is pretty jovial. This year they handed out a signed release poster
The Snowflake goes through a 5 year aging process: 2 years in new oak casks with a #3 char, then moves on to various other caskings. This years release went through several rum casks, a port cask, oh hell take a look:
You can choose to have Rob Detrich (Whiskey Rob) sign the bottle by standing in the line for that. It also moves pretty fast, we opted to not do that on release day. Crys might get it done on Monday when we go back to town for some other stuff. We've done it in the past, to tell the truth the whiskey tastes the same with our without the extra signature. That and we figured the release posted was good enough in that vein.
Then it was on to TASTING! You don't get to try the Snowflake before buying. It's a risk and always a good one.
That's our little, excessive purchase, story for the year. This year it's a reward for my Florida trip putting up powerlines after hurricane Irma and for Crys doing everything at home while I was gone.
Thanks Whiskey Rob, for another wonderful offering, we'll treasure and enjoy it. Remembering all the while that even if it's a once in a lifetime release? Life was meant to be lives, lessons are made to be learned, joys are meant to be celebrated and whiskey is meant to be drunk!