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P.O. Box 2301
Estes Park, Co 80517

The 2016 Windows to the West Art Show and Sale convenes more than 50 of the country's top contemporary Western heritage artists in one of the most beautiful mountain settings in America at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.  The three-day sale and exhibition in Estes Park, Colorado, June 3-5, showcases more than 200 new pieces of art, with rich opportunities to meet the artists and discuss their unique depictions of Western landscapes, wildlife and traditional Western American life.  Windows to the West is a charitable benefit event sponsored by the Estes Park Western Heritage Foundation.

Art & Whiskey Gathering -- Blog

In this blog, I will try to lay the groundwork for the Art & Whiskey Gathering that we are holding at the 2016 Windows to the West art show and sale.  We will explore the fascinating traditions, distilling methods, varietal complexities, and culinary pairings that enrich the enjoyment of fine whiskeys.  I hope you will share your experiences and questions so that together we can savor the distiller's art while we browse the magnificent creative works by world-class artists in our 2016 Windows to the West  art sale and exhibition. Description of this blog

A Dram of History

Howell Wright

As I indicated in my first blog, “I would like to explore the fascinating history of whiskey in Colorado.” Well I am pleased to say that two young distillers took me up on my request for input. Joe Elkins and McShan Walker of the Elkins Distilling Company in Estes Park, Co., directed me to two interesting stories about Whisky in Estes Park’s early history.

Lord Dunraven (Barb Boyer Buck / Estes Park Trail-Gazette)

The first was written by The Earl of Dunraven, (1880) (Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, 4th Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl (1841–1926), as he described one peaceful day in the mountains around Estes Park. 

I was sitting on the stoop of the log-shanty one fine hot summer’s evening when to me appeared the strange apparition of an aged gentleman on a diminutive donkey. He was the first stranger I had ever seen in the park. After surveying me in silence for some moments he observed, “Say, is this a pretty good place to drink whisky in?” I replied “Yes,” naturally, for I have never heard of a spot that was not favorable for the consumption of whisky, the State of Main not excepted. “Well, have you any to sell?” he continued. “No,” I answered, “got none.” After gazing at me in melancholy silence for some moments, evidently puzzled at the idea of a man and a house but no whisky, he went slowly and sadly on his way, and I saw him no more. (p. 443)

It is interesting that Lord Dunraven, who was an Irish nobleman, spelled whiskey without the “e.” Today the Scotts and Canadians generally do not use the “e” while the Irish and Americans do.

Lost Treasure

The second story deals with Dunraven’s Lost Irish Whiskey (Buck, 2014). “Apparently, in the winter, he would bury his stash of fine whiskey to recover the following spring. One year, however, he forgot where he buried it. For decades, well into the mid-1900s, newspaper accounts chronicled the search for the lost Irish whiskey, never to any avail.”

Because I know some of you just might be treasure hunters, I will not give more details. Rest assured that after all this time underground there is nothing left to find except possibly the descendants of very happy worms.

Thanks to Joe and McShan for sharing these interesting historical facts dealing with whiskey in Estes Park.  So who else has interesting facts about the history of whiskey in Colorado? Also, stay tuned because the Elkins Distillery have installed their new stills, and Joe and McShan should be working on their first barrel very soon. No pressure guys.

Buck, B.B. (2014). The Trail-Gazette, 11-12-2014, 11:50:08 AM MST.
Dunraven, (1880), Appletons' journal: A magazine of general literature. A Colorado Sketch [Volume 9, Issue 53, Nov 1880; pp. 437-443].