Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Ronnie was behind a lot of Trace's current Experimental Collection. He'd been at the warehouse over 30 years, and he would follow barrels, and areas in the different warehouses (and Trace has a lot of different warehouse types), and keep track of what worked, what was interesting, and what didn't work. I still remember him telling me that he'd learned that the fog off the nearby Kentucky River had an effect on the barrels in open warehouses.
I remember something else Ronnie told me. "You know, in your life, you only get about two chances to learn from a 15 year old bourbon. There's your first one, and you learn from it all along the time, and you put all that into the second one. By the time the second one's done, you're usually about done too." It was a profound statement about whiskey making, and about a man's life. You don't get many chances to do things right, or to learn something worth passing on. You have to take them, and make the most of them.
Ronnie was inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame last month, a well-deserved honor, and the first warehouseman to be inducted; a long-overdue honor. We gave him a Malt Advocate Lifetime Achievement award in 2008, and I'm very glad we did. A mutual friend told me Ronnie was just amazed that people would honor him, or even know who he was. I'll honor him, and I'll never forget him. Go with God, Ronnie Eddins.