Bols is one of the most famous Liqueur and Spirits elaborating companies in the world. This company was founded by Lucas Bols in Amsterdam, The Netherlands during the 15th Century. Most of their Jenever has been bottled in pottery or clay bottles which have some value for bottle collectors. Mine has a value, sentimental value and a history behind, I am sure!
I’ve recently got it from my grandparents’ inheritance, which has basically contained those items that “the others” (basically family) would not appreciate or keep because of their lack of knowledge (from my point of view). Things that more than value have so much history behind since the day when they were acquired either by one of my grandparents or by their parents or their parents even!
So this Bols bottle once contained the precious Jenever, which is the national Dutch spirit by far. I’ve been searching around to find out its origins, because the bottle doesn’t say much the only text found is:
Erven Lucas Bols
Three phrases that describe the name of its founder, the area where it was made and the city of course.
As I examine the bottle I can not feel any aromas of the precious liquid, but just the smell of age instead. I think of something similar and of course Gin is there, however I only have English London Dry Gin in my bar stock and this might not make it fair. I need to get pure dry Jenever next time we visit our relatives in Holland!
Juttertje is one of the other Dutch drink delicacies based on jenever but flavored and aromatized with herbs. I have that one and take a sip. It feels like Holland during winter time, this warm classic goes down through my throat and heats up my whole being. And it is that the feeling you get when you try any jenever-based drink, it heals your coldness and brings your internal machine back to work again. You don’t appreciate it more if you have too much that’s for sure.
This feeling makes me think about the past, those scenes in the movies about Second World War, when Holland was attacked and occupied by the cruel Nazis and ordinary people became heroes because of their compassion for the Jewish to whom they would hide in their homes. A time of scarcity, lack of food and medicine. A proper time for using unconventional products in unthinkable actions. Jenever being one of those products, was literally used as much more than a drink to give you the warmth feeling during those bones-chilling winters in Europe. It was also used as a medicine (after all that was the main purpose of its invention during its origins) I can see a Dutch housewife soaking a towel in jenever to apply it over the burning forehead of a sick victim, at the same time used as an oral anesthesic for those who have been hit by a Nazi-stained bullet.
At present, Jenever is appreciated by many people for its pleasant aroma and outstanding history, not only being used as physical pain reliever but also as a soul warmer in tough times.
My Bols vintage bottle might not have a clear date of elaboration but I know for sure it has at least 40 years of stories to tell.. If she could only speak!