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Are You Sure that Isn’t Fusel Oil?




Mary Ann Bannon Robertson sent me this photo but Donovan Hastie was the originator of the photo– the picture of the fellow riding the horse and wagon and I am sure that it is my Grandfather Osie Hastie. He would have been about 16 then.



One time during prohibition days Lloyd Tetlock was asked to get a bottle of medicine for a sick friend. He compiled with the request and brought the bottle into his shop. One of the lads there bet him a quarter he would not carry the crock up the street without a paper around it. Lloyd took up the bet, broke the seal, and no one could ever understand why he did that.

He had just turned the corner at Emily Street when he ran into old Doc McGregor the Liquour inspector. Tetley kept the label covered, and when the two separated on Victoria Street he asked Doc if he would like to come down to his house and help him mix some paint. Lloyd was about to paint the kitchen he told McGregor, and that is why he had the bottle of “oil” in his hands. McGregor declined and the two parted ways.

There is a sequel to this story and a few days later the two met again. Doc asked him what kind of oil he had in his bottle when they previously met. Quick as a flash Lloyd told Doc that it had been nothing but Boiled Linseed Oil. Doc lowered his eyes and said quietly,

“Are you sure it wasn’t Fusel Oil Lloyd?”



What is Fusel Oil?

Fusel alcohols, also sometimes called fusel oils in Europe, are a mixture of several alcohols (chiefly amyl alcohol) produced as a by-product of alcoholic fermentation. The word fusel is German for “bad liquor”.

Whether fusel alcohol contributes or not to hangover symptoms is a matter of scientific debate. A Japanese study in 2003 concluded, “The fusel oil in whisky had no effect on the ethanol-induced emetic response” in Suncus murinus. Additionally, consumption of fusel oils with ethanol suppressed subjects’ subsequent taste aversion to alcohol, which suggested subjects’ hangover symptoms were lessened, according to the journal.



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Goin’ Shopping at The Tetlock Bros of Carleton Place