Cherry was a logical choice, but perhaps predictably, not one the local market is ready for - as evidenced by the only brief dalliance with Cherry Coke, and the more lengthy history effort of Dr Pepper. Jim Beam paved the way with its 'Black Cherry' edition, with the subtle cherry flavour providing a refreshing close to an afternoon over Coca-Cola and ice.
It was on a trip to restock my supply of this flavour that I discovered its budget neighbour, Kentucky Gold, had made a similar decision to Jim. Next to the home-brand spirit's stock budget variety in its two sizes was something new - a slightly differently labelled bottle branded 'Cherry Infused.' Always eager to try something new from the bottle shop, I immediately bought a bottle. The cherry flavour was stronger than Jim Beam's giving a more unique taste, and inviting one to create all kinds of new cocktails, or, as before, to simply enjoy it with Coca-Cola and ice (or Pepsi Next, for a tamer taste.) It works equally as well as a shot, with the cherry flavour working to dim the slow-burn of pure Bourbon if taking a shot. Kentucky Gold Cherry Infused quickly became my house spirit.
I was disappointed when a trend formed of stores being 'out of stock' every time I visited. After a while, it strongly suggested the product had been deleted. A dramatic sense of loss overcame me.
Last year I'd submitted an application at work for annual leave for February. At the time, I believe Simon had suggested he might come for a visit at that time, and since I didn't see him last time he was in Australia, I thought I should make some time to catch up. His trip didn't happen, so I wasn't disappointed when my manager asked me if I would mind cancelling the leave when a need for training arose just before I was due to start the leave. He also recommended I take the leave as soon as an opportunity came available, which happened last week.
The previously-held sense of loss filled me as I drained the last of the last bottle I had of cherry Kentucky Gold. I proposed action - I had three weeks off work, and no plan to spend them. So why not take dramatic action? I visited the website for the bottle shop chain, and searched for the product. I generated a map of all the stores listing the product as in stock and input the data into Penelope, my GPS. And we set off to buy all of the remaining stock within an admittedly brave radius, given my driving skills.
The weather was fine as I set off to load my passenger seat with more bottles at each store. I was worried, at first, when stores listed as having stock reported that they, in fact, didn't, and list it as available due to their ability to order from other stores upon request. I demanded the clerk update my map with a true reflection of where bottles were. And I revised my plan, finding the product, caked in dust in most cases, at several far flung locations, and returned to a bitter-sweet kind of success. I'd ended up with an admirable supply of 15 bottles, but also the knowledge that these 15 bottles would likely represent the last time I'd taste Cherry Infused Kentucky Gold Bourbon whiskey. I'll savour every drop.