A hidden cache of Irish Whiskey is unearthed.
This case of Jameson was discovered in the 1990’s after being hidden underground at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado since about 1919. The bottles were in their original wooden case wrapped with straw and paper, bearing the name of the US importer. Some of the whiskey had evaporated over the decades but one bottle remained full.
Spencer Penrose, a Philadelphia entrepreneur who made his fortune in mining, bought the hotel in 1916 to entertain wealthy guests. It was renowned for serving fine liquors. Penrose was undeterred by the start of the country’s “Noble Experiment” with Prohibition beginning in 1919. He hid caches of wine and spirits in places including railcars and in a tunnel that led from the hotel to nearby brothels, where this 6-bottle crate was found. Penrose had a great habit, whenever he opened a new bottle of liquor he wrote on the label. He inscribed where, when and with whom he had opened it. To us here at Hammerstone’s Whiskey Disks, it’s wisdom from the ages, affirming our belief that whiskey drinking is far more about the people and the atmosphere than the liquor itself.
The Jameson Distillery team agreed to have a bottle of the Five Star analyzed by Jameson’s Master of Whiskey Science David Quinn. His lab extracted a minute sample via a syringe inserted through the ancient cork and ran a spectrographic analysis. Quinn’s analysis indicated that it was genuine, with its chemical composition confirming its “Jameson DNA.” He also said that it had a strong or “heavy” pot still quality consistent with the whiskey-making style and preferences from the early 20th century. Jameson Master Blender Billy Leighton also contemplated in which types of casks the whiskey was aged and in what proportions it was blended.
Examination of the label and inks by a printing professional, and even pricing of the bottle from a 1915 mail order pricing guide confirmed the find as genuine. The price at the time of manufacture – $19.10 per 6-bottle case (or the equivalent of $400/case or $68/bottle today) further proves that it was a premium 12 or 15-year-old whiskey in its time. This means that the whiskey was distilled in Dublin around 1900. It very well might have been a whiskey that James Joyce and his contemporaries enjoyed – a time capsule of pure delicious goodness.