Moral Dilemma: Ungifting Stranahans Colorado Whiskey

My boss is out of town this week, and I’m using his absence as an opportunity to get myself organized.  Step one was getting my to-do list up to snuff, and step two was cleaning out three years worth of crap from my office.

I was down in the basement, stashing the stuff that was too good to throw out, when an unmistakable silhouette caught my eye – a bottle of Stranahans Colorado Whiskey.  It was tucked deeply within the shadows of an unused safe, along with an unopened box of Johnny Walker Red.

You see, my boss isn’t much of a drinker, but people still give him booze from time to time.  I don’t know who supplied the Johnny Walker, but I’m well aware who supplied the Stranahans – I did, before I realized he doesn’t like the hard stuff.

He was very polite about accepting the bottle, but he left it at work, where he knows full well that it will eventually be pilfered by a staff member.  This happens with all the booze where I work – It’s a known thing, like leaving seeds out for birds.  In essence, he totally abandoned my gift, which has sat in the basement for the last 19 months with the plastic still intact around its neck.

Now Stranahans is one of my favorite whiskeys, and it’s no longer available in New Jersey, so it’s not like I can stop on the way home and pick up a bottle of the stuff.  It’s a rare commodity, and I’m the only person in my company who knows or even cares.

So it begs the question – should I take it back?  Should I ungift this pristine bottle of rare whiskey that no one will miss?  Or should I let it sit there, aging gracefully until one of my 24 year-old female coworkers decides to snag it because she wants to mix it with Diet Coke?

When I put it like that, it’s almost like I HAVE to take it, in order to make sure it’s not wasted on someone who’s just looking for a free buzz.  But then again, a gift is a gift, no matter what the recipient decides to do with it.

So what would you do – take it, or leave it?  Let us know below…

Tags: , , ,

Categories: Lifestyle, Whiskey


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

Join the Madness

Like beer? Like whiskey? Like goofing off? Follow Us!

48 Comments on “Moral Dilemma: Ungifting Stranahans Colorado Whiskey”

  1. blakesell
    July 17, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    I agree that it is your duty to take the whiskey back. But you should casually mention it to the boss and offer to replace it with something the boss would prefer. That seems to make it about even in my mind.

    • July 17, 2012 at 9:28 am #

      Problem is twofold: mentioning it is the same as calling him out on discarding my gift, which I’d like to avoid. Plus, there is no booze that he’d like – he drinks girly fruity drinks when he’s socializing – he wants nothing to do with finely crafted alcohol.

      • July 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

        You make a strong case for taking it back silently. Male memory operates in dog years so 19 months is like 10 years. Point is, he’s forgotten about it.

        • July 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

          Oh, no doubt about that – he probably only remembered it long enough to realize he didn’t want to see the bottle in his office.

  2. BeerBanker
    July 17, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    Blakesell is more noble than I. But yes, ungifting and replacement would seem to be the better ploy…

    • July 17, 2012 at 9:29 am #

      Maybe I should drain the bottle and replace the contents with JD.

      • Rick
        July 17, 2012 at 9:55 am #

        JD is not a bad idea, but what about resealing the plastic on the neck of the bottle?
        Perhaps the bottle disappears & you do a Sgt. Shultz…I know nothing!

        • July 17, 2012 at 10:01 am #

          I doubt anyone would notice the plastic missing, so I’m not worried about that. But I do like the Sgt. Shultz idea, especially if I ham it up with a loud German accent. I’m sure that wouldn’t raise any suspicion. 🙂

  3. Fred Colby
    July 17, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    take the bottle after 19 months it has been forgotten send it to me I will send you some rare tasty beer from Laughing Dog in return


    • July 17, 2012 at 10:35 am #

      Wow – you’re not making this any easier Fred!

  4. July 17, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    If he doesn’t like it and the tacit understanding is that anything alcoholic that is stowed down there is up for grabs, then take it. When he comes back tell him that you took it and will treat him to lunch or dinner (including ‘girly fruity drinks’) instead. In other words, do it and then man up!

    • July 17, 2012 at 10:36 am #

      Yeah, if I take it, I’ll definitely have to man up and tell him. The only issue is creating an awkward moment for him (and me).

      • July 17, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

        Nah, just tell him it was a screw-up on your part and that in the spirit of making good on the promise and saving a perfectly good bottle of whiskey from becoming a mixer, you’re offering an alternative that’ll be good for both of you. He’ll admire your candor.

  5. July 17, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    I see nothing wrong with alerting your boss to its presence, I would just do it with a “By the way, I was cleaning out the storeroom and I ran across a bottle of Strannies, do you mind if I took it?”

    Otherwise, I agree with Rick, pull a Schultz: ‘bottle, what bottle?’

    • July 17, 2012 at 10:37 am #

      Yeah, I think that’s the play. Problem is, he’ll probably say something like “uhh…I was saving that for..umm…us to share here” or something to spare my feelings.

  6. July 17, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    Take it! Don’t even look back. Otherwise, you’re right, some dumb bitch won’t know what she has and she’ll mix it with diet coke.

    • July 17, 2012 at 11:50 am #

      There’s a VERY good chance that’s exactly what will happen. I think the only reason it hasn’t been pilfered yet is that he tucked it away in the shadows so I wouldn’t see it.

  7. ScottG
    July 17, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    Take it. Don’t mention it. Wait until the two-year mark before opening. If he doesn’t bring it up, open and enjoy. If he does bring it up before then, play dumb (I don’t know, I didn’t see it down there the other day), then open and enjoy.
    You could also suggest a co-worker who is no longer a co-worker might have taken it. They mentioned it once. This one only works if there is a plausible candidate.
    I say this because you’ve already established that a) he doesn’t drink it and b) he put it where everyone in the office knows unwanted booze goes to lifted. No one else has taken it in that time, nor has it been broken out by the giftee for a group drink, as you suggest he might, were you to mention it, so I say game on.

    • July 17, 2012 at 11:51 am #

      I’m really good at “playing” dumb, Scott. Years of blatant stupidity have prepared me for this role!

  8. Glen
    July 17, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    By all means do *not* let it go to waste, and if there is any chance at all of it ending up in a glass with anything other than a cube or two of ice or a teaspoon of distilled water it is your DUTY to rescue it. If you are sure he won’t notice or mind, nothing need be said, but it would be gentlemanly to offer to replace it ‘ Say, I noticed that bottle disappeared, and I feel terrible that you missed out on it…would you share a bottle of your favorite with me some afternoon?’ would be my approach

    • July 17, 2012 at 11:54 am #

      So this is really a case of whiskey rescue, then? Like if I gave him a puppy, and he chained it up behind an abandoned barn. What you’re saying is I’m a HERO!!

  9. Dave Strothmann
    July 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    Robert, Nancy, Kathy and I just took the Stranahan’s tour after the 4th. I’d say you have to take it.

    • July 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

      Don and I were total morons when we were out there for GABF, because we didn’t. 😦

  10. July 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    The Stranahan’s tour is amazing. Must see.

    • July 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

      Now you tell me! 😉

  11. Don
    July 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Take it and run. Don’t look back. Do something nice for him, just to aswage your guilty conscience, but never speak of it. If it comes up go total Schultz on his ass.

    • July 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

      Good advice, and even better when you consider that there’s no public record of my moral struggle to determine what I should do. Wait…

  12. MarkC
    July 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    I would take it. What batch is it? I currently sell 87 but remember the batches around 67 being so much better!

    • July 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

      I think it’s around the 50’s or 60’s – I’ll have to double check…

  13. Brad
    July 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Drain the bottle, refill with similarly colored water, replace the bottle…then, when someone actually pilfers it, it’ll be a joke on them!! You can’t let a great bottle of Stranahan’s go to someone who knows nothing about it’s angelic character!!

    • July 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

      I’m not reading a lot of “it’s your moral obligation to do the right thing” type comments here/ You’re amongst a great group of enablers here, Brad!

      • July 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

        It’s because we all know how great Stranahan’s is. Unless you could guarantee that if you left it and whoever did drink it became an instant convert, it is kinda your moral obligation to take it 😉 .

        The only other bottle I would feel compelled to take would Peach Street’s Bourbon. They didn’t earn distiller of the year for nothing (and it doesn’t hurt that it is also made in Colorado).

        • July 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

          I think that’s one reason I gave it to him. I knew he wasn’t a whiskey drinker, but I also know how good Stranahans is – I was hoping to convert him and never got the chance. Perhaps I can use this bottle to preach the gospel elsewhere.

          Like in front of my TV…

  14. Brendan
    July 17, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    If your boss left this in a place where he knew that it would be taken, but he could have secured it (e.g. by taking it home and drinking it at any point during the last 19 months) then it’s not actually stealing, but rather obedience to an implicit command from your supervisor.

    What an employee!

    So, then, what is to become of this excellent whiskey? It should not be contaminated by Diet Coke. That, too, would be immoral.

    If your conscience still bothers you, and you cannot drown the troublesome little bugger in Stranahan’s, then you could either regift this bottle to someone who will appreciate it, or at least share the bottle with someone similarly-inclined.

    I’m here for you, Jim.

    • July 17, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

      “obedience to an implicit command from your supervisor.”

      I’m gonna be employee of the month if I keep this up!

  15. Fred Colby
    July 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Jim it is your moral obligation to do the right thing and TAKE THE DAMN BOTTLE
    lol now send it up here and Don and I will drink some and then add it to my vast collection of Bourbon which includes things like a 52 Ezra Williams and a couple bottles of AH Hirsh 18,21 and 22 year old along with a few other incredible finds I have had over the years

    • July 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      So it’s MY moral obligation to take the bottle and send it to YOU?

      You should start a cult, Fred. You have a flair for these things…

  16. Sean
    July 17, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    Take it back. Make a contribution equal to the cost of the bottle in your bosses name to an organization he supports. (DON”T GET POLITICAL!)

    • July 17, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

      Well, he pays my salary, so I guess I count as something he “supports”. 🙂

      • Sean
        July 19, 2012 at 11:00 am #

        Buy his personal assistant or Secretary some nice flowers. Make sure to use very romantic language, sign his name.

  17. July 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    It is your duty to break it out and teach your co works what whiskey truly like. have been to a few bottling and keep a bottle on the shelf at the Rackhose. was the 22 person to get a bottle on the shelf.

  18. July 19, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Take and print a life-size photo of the bottle, place it back in place of the actual bottle, and tape a gift certificate for the boss’ preferred girlie drinks to the back. The surrogate has usable value to the boss’ tastes and you have just earned yourself a bottle o’ Stranahan’s. It will be a good laugh later and everyone wins…

  19. dumpus
    August 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

    by god, good sir, screw your boss. you owe it to that bottle to save it from such a fate worse than death. you can always explain it away to your boss, but you can never unmix that diet coke and whiskey. save that bottle…save it for those of us who cannot.

  20. July 5, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    What Batch is is. If its one in the 60’s (some of there best i might add up until batch 104) you are obligated to take it. and enjoy it. I would and i just live down the street from the distillery.

  21. September 24, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    A hero would take it, keep quiet and enjoy it while giving him a silent toast for his health.
    You remove something he doesn’t like and avoid the embaressment of him saying your gift was a bad choice. You save some person from drinking the whole bottle mixed with diet coke (and most likely saving them a hangover) and you pay homage to the people who created this liquid of the gods.

    If you can’t bring yourself to drink it, I will send you my address and will give both of you a toast to your health.

    • September 24, 2013 at 9:14 am #

      Well then I’m a hero!

      I also easily brought myself to drink it once my moral dilemma was in the rear view mirror – it was excellent!

  22. February 12, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

    I live not far from Stranahans distillery where one can go turn bottles and get a free bottle in retire. That being said, if your boss doesn’t like whiskey, then I would suggest that you are not “unfitting”, but relieving him of the responsibility of lying to you when you ask about the whiskey. In fact, after a wee nip of Bunnahabhain 16 yr., I’d say your coin’ him a favor!


  1. Whatcha Drinkin’ this Weekend, Pumpkin? | Beer & Whiskey Bros. - September 7, 2012

    […] I think I’ll keep it local and go with some Sweet Action or Diesel from Sixpoint, and maybe pick up some Session Black Lager, which I got as part of a sampler pack and really liked. For the hammer, I’ll keep that bottle of Stranahans Colorado Whiskey that I recently ungifted from my boss. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: