This is the story of a jumbo giant bottle of whisky that has survived untouched for four decades. Passed down from his late father, The Nation speaks with son, Adeyinka Williams on the old bottle of whisky and how they have kept it unopened for decades.
It’s a jumbo giant bottle, and heavy, as one can hardly lift it with one hand. For a lover of liquor, the brown liquid content looks attractive and ‘tempting’ as well. The 40-year old bottle and its content is sealed and packed in a brown carton, with an iron metal holding it. A look at the big heavy bottle could be a little irritating due to the rustic iron handle and cork and the peeled paper pack that has carried it for decades, but its content nevertheless remain enticing, if one is to go by the saying that considering the saying that ‘old wine tastes better. Still, one can make out the inscription on the pack: Walker Red Label. SCOTCH WHISKY, ONE IMPERIAL GALLON WITH WIRE CRADLE AND POURER. This therefore is a relic; something befitting for the museum.
According to Adeyinka Williams, the custodian of the relic bottle, the Whisky has been in the family safe since 1977. “There were two of them, which were gifts to my father in 1977, when one of my sisters was getting married. I was a little boy then, but I remember vividly that occasion.
“My late father only opened one to entertain his guests then, and kept this one for remembrance. Now my sister, Esther, who got married on that day, has many grown-up children. My father could have drank it, but he was only used to taking Stout, so the bottle gradually gathered age. He also begged us to keep it intact and show it to people as a relic. It was kept in his Oyingbo family house for years, before it was brought down to Agbelekale in Ekoro Road (Lagos) here, where we live.”
Wading through the temptation to sell
According to Adeyinka, “My late father once told me how somebody bargained 1.5million naira for it in 1985, but refused to sell because he was looking for a bigger and better offer. Even after his death some years ago, some of my friends offered me 2 million naira for it, yet I declined selling it because my father did not ask us to sell it but to preserve it. Many have attempted to steal it from here, but we kept it in a vault, no-one knows except me. To tell you the truth, it has become an antiquity for us.”
Asked if he would release it if the government expresses interest in it, Adeyinka smiled and said “Yes, that is what I want. I want the government to come for it and put it in the museum, such that it would be for record purpose and our family would have its name written in gold.”
Looking at the background of the fairly old man, Adeyinka, one could infer that his parents were averagely rich, and he confirmed it: “My father was a wealthy man who held a chieftaincy title, while my mother was the Iya Alaje of Egbaland in the 80s.My mother was into business like transportation and also had a block industry. She died several years ago due to an accident. She tripped on a banana peel and fell, which led to her breaking her leg and hand. She was then rushed to D.Bailey Hospital where they wanted to amputate her leg and hand but she refused and was flown to America for medical treatment. She came back without being amputated. She died later in 1985.”
Adeyinka revealed that his father died in 2009 at the age of 85. The pictures on the wall are also evidence that the parents were of notable means and affluent. One of the pictures was of the late Chief Williams and the late Oba Alake of Egbaland. There were also some with personalities and the old man’s one and two story buildings in Oyingbo.
Said Adeyinka, many of his siblings are not here in Nigeria, “Out of 12 children, my two sisters and I are the ones here in the country, while the rest are in America and Europe working as pilots, medical doctors, engineers. Amongst them are Asojo Williams and Lekan Williams.”
Adeyinka who is a technician prays to the Lagos state government or the federal government to come and acquire the drink and put it in museum. He said “I don’t need the money and I am not in a hurry to make it in life. How much will I sell it that will give me honour and dignity? .I don’t even drink alcohol, and our family members are not hungry to sell it either; so we’ll rather keep it in a museum, where it will be well-preserved”