It started simple enough. My sister and I went out to explore the small town of my youth. We planned to imbibe while out, so we stopped at a couple bars. I was innocently reading the menu and saw my last name.
WHAT? My name is not common at all so that was a surprise. I immediately asked the server what I was looking at. She explained to me that this was a line of Bourbon and I followed her into the bar to see the bottle. Sure enough, there was my family name in honor of my Great Uncle Hazen S. Pingree, former Mayor of Detroit and Governor of Michigan.
I got so excited! I actually was familiar with the distillery from a previous visit and proceeded to make contact. I had to know more! Why Pingree? Why now? What was the significance? So many questions. I heard back from Rifino Valentine, owner and operator of the distillery. We made plans for me to visit.
I was so excited. I got a tour, samples, and went home with a bottle. I also really enjoyed talking to the man responsible for my family name becoming famous in the 21st Century. He was kind and gracious and answered all my questions. I got to see entire line of whisky, sample some, and it was amazing. I really did feel like some sort of famous celebrity!
UPDATE: I finished my bottle while visiting my Dad in Arizona, 01-07-2020. I will leave him the empty to retrieve at a later date, as I do not want to travel with glass. It will make a nice addition to my future bar area in my future home that I will have at some point in the future.
Cheers Hazen! Cheers Valentine’s!