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The Trouble With Evan

September 9, 2015

Having recently experienced an improvement in my financial situation, I’ve been considered upgrading my regular drink. Old Crow has been stalwart companion through hard times and I will never forget what it has done for me, but it is kind of a crap whiskey. So I have been looking around for something in the next shelf up. And an impressive contender has emerged: Evan Williams White Label. Remarkably fine-tasting for the price, at a nice Bottled-in-Bond 100 proof, coming in a respectable-looking bottle, it has all the marks of a winner. Except one: the name. Evan. Williams. What the hell kind of boring milquetoast name is that for a whiskey? Put that on a shelf with Jack Daniels and George Dickel and you just know it is going to get the shit kicked out of it. Even old moneybags Pappy Van Winkle will give it a sound thrashing with his cane. No, Evan, it won’t do, Evan.

I know some people will say the name does not matter, the bottle does not matter, only what is in the bottle matters. This is just silly. Whiskey is no mere consumable liquid. It is an elixir. A potion. A spirit. It inhabits the world of magic and in magic names are all-important. There is danger down the whiskey path, as well as joy. As you travel it you want a good name as your companion, your mantra-friend, to mutter quietly to yourself or shout into the darkness, for reassurance. Are you really going to shout Evan… Williams!!!? What shadows will that dispel? What delights will it summon? What power does it have? None. When you are sad and alone and drinking will you find a saving wry charm in turning to your bottle and saying “Well I guess its just me and you… Evan”? No. When you invite someone in for drinks are “Evan Williams” the words that will invoke the bright circle of togetherness you are promising? I don’t think so.

But it is a fine whiskey, a steal at the price, 100 proof, so I might just go with it. It may be possible to find a nomenclatural workaround. A nickname. Or just embrace the lameness so hard it comes around the other side as a blazing magnificence, or at least a funky white-bread charm.

(A note to anyone named Evan or Williams, or William or Evans for that matter, and in particular to anyone named Evan Williams: no offense intended. You are not a whiskey. You are a person. Your name is fine for a person. Not very cool, but fine, and a lot better than some.)

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