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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

We interrupt this nine day weekend to bring you very exciting news. Ralph and I are now members of the super secret extra special exclusive Hillsboro Whiskey Society.

Technically I suppose it’s not a secret anymore, is it? But it is pretty cool. You can tack the word “Society” at the end of anything and it will sound very exclusive and highfalutin.

The CL Blog Society. There, now you are in an exclusive club, too.

As part of my Society you are entitled to cocktails whenever you want.

You can drink them with your pinky sticking out and say things like Oh Jeeves, fetch me my fainting couch.

The Hillsboro Whiskey Society is a club that is run by the folks who own Leiper’s Fork distillery. I never heard of it before, probably because it didn’t exist until now, but also because it is by invitation only.

Apparently we have spent enough money there to be invited.

A couple of weeks ago I got a letter in the mail. 99.2% of my mail never even makes it into my apartment. I throw it out right there in the mail room. But when I saw the return address I was intrigued. A letter? From Leiper’s Fork? For me?

It was one of those letters that you could believe was handwritten, and it let me know about the Society. It invited me – not to join, but to apply to join.

Curiouser and curiouser!

I showed Ralph, who wanted me to apply immediately. I hesitated, because this sounded expensive. And what if I got approved and then saw the dues and had a heart attack? Did I want that disappointment? Wasn’t it enough to bask in my invitation?

Then Ralph got an invitation, too. And his curiosity outweighed my doubt, so we both applied.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks we got periodic emails with questions about our whiskey experiences and interests. Did we have any special memories? Score any great bottles? We answered them all diligently.

Then a few days ago I got another letter. It came in a black envelope with a wax seal. I opened it very carefully. Inside it was lined with gold foil. I slid out a card, not entirely unlike a wedding invitation, and there it was. My approval!

I’m not sure if I was more excited or more nervous, because I still didn’t know what the dues were and I had visions of two… five… ten thousand dollars. That invitation did not look inexpensive.

And what if I got all the way to the end of the process and decided it was too much money? How stupid would I look then? I’d never be invited to another Society!

Ralph is not daunted by these things. He plows ahead with all the curiosity of a cat on his seventh life until he reaches a conclusion.

It’s a good thing our neuroses are diverse enough.

So with a little encouragement from him, we both entered the super secret website with our super secret codes to get the super secret details about our potential super secret membership.

I won’t leave you in suspense. The dues were substantially less than even my lowest guess. In fact, they are rather perfect. Just enough so you know you’re in a Society that not every moron in town is going to join, but not so high that you have to choose between rent and whiskey.

We joined immediately.

Well, we joined after pretending to think about it for a minute and ticking off the pros and cons.

As part of our membership we are gifted four bottles of whiskey per year. Whiskey only barreled and bottled for members. We also get first right of refusal to purchase any limited edition bottles. Remember that rye we just scored? The one that sold out a half hour before it was even supposed to go on sale? I get to buy those without standing in line or hoping not to be left out.

And they have one in-person event as well as multiple virtual events throughout the year. Our first event is in two weeks. They are hosting a welcome dinner at the distillery where we’ll get to eat, drink, collect our first exclusive super secret bottle and meet the other people who got little black invitations with gold foil.

I can’t wait.

I told Ralph that I want to meet their marketing manager. This whole thing is genius, really. Had I gotten a letter explaining a whiskey club that I could join for some monthly fee and these benefits, it probably would have ended up in the garbage pail in the mailroom along with the solicitation from Blinds-to-Go and someone who thinks it’s a good idea to send advertisements for new house siding to apartment renters.

I’m sure it would have seemed intriguing, but… meh, do I really want to spend money, and can’t I just show up early for the next rye release? 

But to be invited! With an invitation! The entire thing was brilliant from end to end. Like a perfectly unfolding mystery, with little details revealed along the way, a question here, a bonus dropped there. If the rest is anything like the teaser, then we should be in for a good time.

It seemed rather fitting that this invitation and its acceptance showed up in the middle of my week of thanks. I’m thankful for little surprises and for bonus fun and I’m really looking forward to going to the dinner, getting my secret bottle, and meeting people who share my enthusiasm.

The only problem is… what the heck am I going to wear???

Photo: my super secret not-inexpensive-looking Society invitation.