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When Does Collecting Become Hoarding?

February 14, 2011

My boyfriend likes to joke that I hoard things. I don’t…I swear! I just have a lot of “collections” at the moment…I seem to be a collector by nature (my up-bringing may have some influence here, too,) constantly hunting down and sourcing something new for my set. This apparently has grown from simple knickknacks, to art, and now encompasses the vast liquor realm.

Exhibit A

Ack! I think I have a problem?

Being in this business has its perks. I’m exposed to all sorts of interesting products, flavors, pairings, and trends. The hard part arrives at the end of the day, at the register.  It’s especially tough for someone like me, who seemingly enjoys just about everything she tastes, especially liquors of the brown color, as you can see in the above picture.

I know what you’re thinking, but it’s all liquor — It doesn’t go bad! Correct, you do have a point. But at the end of the day, I’m not alway in the mood to mix myself a cocktail. I’ll probably partake in a hard-liquor based bevy about once

Exhibit B

a week or every other week. But yet, I keep buying. I mean, really. How many whisk(e)ys does one girl need? At one point I was up to 15 bottles. I’ve been working on drinking them down a bit, but there are so many flavors out there to tempt your palate! It’s like Lays Potato Chips–you really can’t have just one…

But this also works with all the other spirits out there too, because, you know, if you feel like a gin martini over a gin and tonic, botanical gins mix-up a better than your standard london dry. Or what if you want a mojito one day and a dark n’stormy the next? Well, clearly you need two different rums. Duh. Oh and tequila! And bitters! And after dinner liqueurs! SO MANY CHOICES!!! It goes on, and on…so rather than be caught without, I just buy! Thankfully I’m not as bad with wine or beer–since that doesn’t usually last too long in my house. I tried jumping on the wine & beer collecting bandwagon. I found that A) I didn’t have the patience to collect and B) If your storage conditions are less than stellar, you run the high risk of losing out on some great, and more often than not, expensive stuff.

But, in this business you see your fair share of people like myself and you wonder where the imaginary line in the sand is drawn between collecting and “hoarding.” You read horror stories (I like to call them “horror stories”) of wine collectors who have hundreds upon hundreds of bottles in their cellars, only to find that in their frenzied purchases over the years, they lose track of what they have. It either turns up months (or years…years!) later only to be past its prime and a candidate for cooking or the drain. Do you really need another case of wine? Are you reaaallly going to drink it that soon? No? Hmm…

So, maybe I’m not a hoarder, but still just an avid collector. But it does pose the question: when is enough, enough?

Maybe just one more bottle….Chartreuse, anyone?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2011 7:37 pm

    Liquor “hoarding” back in the day was just establishing a liquor cabinet a sign of taste maybe even affluence but since Prohibition it is frowned upon to enjoy the pleasures of alcohol. As long as it doesn’t become a problem ,as in alcoholism, a wise man man once told me a little of what you like won’t hurt you. Enjoy your libations , display them if you want , if it were a collection of art you would have no problem with it. If so remember this each bottle you haved is a carefully crafted work of art ,cared for from its conception by an artisianal distiller. If you are going to drink try to enjoy the best whether beer, wine or liquor and if that requires having a beer or wine cellar or liquor cabinet so be it.

  2. Kathy Schardin permalink
    February 21, 2011 10:51 am

    Speaking of collections. We, the ‘kids’ and I, got my husband one of those fantabulous wine refrigerators a couple of years ago for a significant birthday. At first we must have been quite the sight feeling all full of ourselves and wine snobbery. Collections need organization after all. Not just red or white – but price too. Being a teacher helped – I had stickers!
    Sports stickers were for the lower class (can drink them Mon-Thurs.), stars were for the middle price(weekends) and holographic ‘super’ stickers were for the priciest of them all (holidays and guests). Nothing like the sweet satisfaction of organized wine.
    This first wave of compulsive organization hit the shore and stickered bottles are gone. On any given day, no matter its name, we can be seen pulling out a bottle and saying to each other, ‘What did we pay for this?’ Normally, neither of us have any idea. If it looks good we open it. The financial husband figures it’s all dollar-cost-averaging anyway . So ‘enjoy’.

    • February 21, 2011 11:04 am

      Now that’s a system! Can you come over and organize my house? Ha.
      In all seriousness though, it’s great that you view wine with the mantra of “if it looks good, drink it!” What I find happens to me (and a fair amount of people out there as well) is that; I either know it’s a “special” bottle…whether it be because of the vintage and needs a bit of cellaring, or it’s just expensive (I would hate to run the risk of dumping it because I/we couldn’t finish the bottle!) So, I often wait for the right moment, only to find the wine (or beer) is passed it’s peak…so I guess I need to start “enjoying” more!
      Thanks for a new way of viewing things..

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