In death, you no longer have to part with your favorite bourbon or wine.
Retired attorney and state government worker William Elam came up with an idea that would allow bourbon or wine fans to age with the aroma of their drink of choice after being cremated.
“Forever Aging” urns are three-liter miniature bourbon barrels. After allowing alcohol to sit inside the barrel long enough to leave its aroma behind, a person’s ashes can be stored inside the barrel, which is made of white oak and is charred inside.
Elam, who will turn 77 in February, said the idea came to him after thinking about what he wanted to do with his remains post-mortem. He’s chosen cremation. He was also inspired by products made out of bourbon barrels for sale at last year’s Franklin County High School band bazaar.
“Bourbon is such a big thing and I go to arts and craft shows and I see all these different things made out of bourbon (barrels),” Elam said about when he initially started formulating the idea.
He wanted to find a way to take wood from bourbon barrels and turn it into a square box or urn. After researching online, Elam found a manufacturer that made a small barrel for consumers to age bottled bourbon for a bit longer at home. He requested a barrel, minus the spigot, because he wanted to make a prototype urn.
After registering the trademark for the Forever Aging logo, Elam partnered with Andrea Bogard LeBlanc, a friend in Sarasota, Florida, who distributes urns to funeral homes. Elam said that any funeral home can contact LeBlanc’s company, Bogati Urn Co., to order a Forever Aging urn for a customer. If a person wants to order one privately, Elam said that Clark Legacy Center can place an order to Bogati and have the urn shipped to the customer’s address.
The reaction to the barrel urns has been fairly positive and orders from around the country have been placed. Elam said some customers buy the urns as gifts for spirits and wine fans. He’s recently been in talks with a contact in Japan, where cremation and bourbon are both popular, about interest in the project. LeBlanc also displayed an urn at a trade show in Chicago with much demand, Elam said.
These urns are for people who may have worked in the industry or owned a distillery or winery, as well as those who thoroughly enjoy quality bourbon, wine or other spirits, Elam said.
“The market has not been fully explored, but more possibilities appear to be opening up,” Elam said.