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View Full Version : Weller Antique vs. ORVW 10/107



NickAtMartinis
10-17-2007, 16:14
I've commented on these two bourbons quite recently. My battle with purchasing ORVW 10/107 over Weller Antique is economical at its core. However, flavor is most certainly a major factor.

Up in my neck of the woods - Eastern, CT - Weller Antique can be hob-gobbled at $21.99 per 750ml while ORVW 10/107 kneads the dough at $27.99. For the non-mathwhiz faction (that's me), that is a difference of $6. Now, why would I purchase ORVW 10/107 over Weller Antique when it's the same bourbon at the same proof? Sure, ORVW is three years older and Julian is extra particular about what he chooses to go into a Van Winkle label, but is it really that much more flavorful to demand an additional $6 at checkout? So, with my bourbon bell blaring and a tingling on my toungue for bourbon only, I just HAD to find out.

Monday night, while watching some apparent fictional show staring some Giant named Eli, I decided to do a side-by-side tasting of the two - don't worry, I won't bore you with tasting notes, that's much beyond me. While I did like the flavor of ORVW 10/107 over Weller Antique, it was certainly not $6 worth of flavor better. The overall taste was slightly better and that's it - no more, no less. Well, there was this one other very small, every-so-slight nominal difference between the two hardly worth mentioning but what the heck, here goes: Upon swallowing the scant amount of ORVW, the finish leaped into a bedazzling ball of Arizona flame, lighting my insides afire while swelling my esophagus to the point of puncture and leaking, what felt like, battery acid directly onto my heart! Five minutes and a loaf of Wonder Bread later, I was back to normal. [Don't worry, while laying on my couch, semi-conscious, with a pound of white bread dangling from the corners of my mouth like a mad-dog, I had 9-1-1 stamped into my cordless in case the end appeared near. Fortunately, no such precautions were necessary.]

In short, yes, ORVW 10/107 is a more enjoyable flavor but certainly not more enjoyable, overall. It's definitely not worth the additional $6 and a roman candle version of myself on the 4th of July!

Weller Antique is the best bang for the buck in my end of town - actually, the word "bang" is meant figuratively in this case unless, of course, I was describing ORVW - and definitely worth every penny due to its flavor, proof and finish (oh, so smooth).

Just my .20 cents (I've taken care to include inflation).


The other Mark Brown


P.S. By the way, is the guy who chooses the barrels for Weller Antique some sort of shmuck? Let's give credit where credit is due, as good as Julian is at picking his barrels, the person who does the same for Weller, ain't too bad either.

P.S. Squared: How can bourbon at Seven years be smoother than virtually the same bourbon three years older? Just a thought.

mozilla
10-17-2007, 16:29
The $6 goes for the right to choose the best barrels of the stuff. IIRC, some of the VanWinkle line comes from Bernheim. Others will probably be able to tell you which.
I noticed the same kind of difference between bottles of Weller 107 Frankfort and Gold Viened bottles of Louisville 107 Weller. The newer version seemed to be a fraction of the older product.

craigthom
10-17-2007, 18:02
I have some questions about wheated bourbon in general. Except for Maker's Mark,

Aren't they all made with the S-W Old Fitz mash bill?

Except for the oldest (PVW 23) and youngest, wasn't it all distilled by UD at Bernheim?

Is BT distilling it now? Is any of theirs in bottles yet?

ILLfarmboy
10-17-2007, 18:51
I like them both. Antique often reminds me of pecan pie and a little bit of youngish whiskey taste where ORVW 107 has a darker more mature flavor without being overly woody, sort of like mahogany if mahogany tasted real damn good. I can't really explain it any other way.

mozilla
10-17-2007, 18:58
I have some questions about wheated bourbon in general. Except for Maker's Mark,

Aren't they all made with the S-W Old Fitz mash bill?

Except for the oldest (PVW 23) and youngest, wasn't it all distilled by UD at Bernheim?

Is BT distilling it now? Is any of theirs in bottles yet?

If you believe one version of the story....yes, they are from the same mash bill. But much like siblings not always being identical, no two bourbons made from the same mash bill at different distilleries will ever turn out the same. Even if they tried to make them taste the same, it would not happen. As far as I can tell, none of the distilleries tries to make them taste the same.

SW, Bernhiem, Glenmore, HH, Diagio, UD, David Sherman, BT and probably a few others have had a hand in producing, bottling and ageing wheated bourbons.

craigthom
10-17-2007, 19:23
Yeah, but from 1992 to 1999 there was only one company making both Old Fitzgerald and Weller, and they were doing it at Bernheim.

So all the wheated bourbons barreled at this time, except Maker's Mark, were made by UD: Weller Centennial, 12 yo, and William Larue (the current); all the van Winkles except the 23 year old; and Old Fitz 1849 and VSOF. One distiller and one distillery.

There are clearly going to be differences in how the whiskey aged and who picked it, but the whiskey going into the barrels was as close as UD could get it, right?

mozilla
10-17-2007, 19:37
Yeah, but from 1992 to 1999 there was only one company making both Old Fitzgerald and Weller, and they were doing it at Bernheim.

So all the wheated bourbons barreled at this time, except Maker's Mark, were made by UD: Weller Centennial, 12 yo, and William Larue (the current); all the van Winkles except the 23 year old; and Old Fitz 1849 and VSOF. One distiller and one distillery.

There are clearly going to be differences in how the whiskey aged and who picked it, but the whiskey going into the barrels was as close as UD could get it, right?

Not necessarily. Bernhiem had some trouble getting things to work the way they needed at the start. I have it on good authority that the bourbon distillate was pretty bad at the begining. At that time I believe that bourbon was made by some other distilleries for them.

And to the point "as close as UD could get it"....UD was not in the business of copying SW. Many things were different between the two. So, like I said earlier....no two bourbons will ever taste the same from one distillery to another.

craigthom
10-17-2007, 19:57
That's not what I'm talking about. By "as close as UD could get", I don't mean to anyone else's bourbon; I mean to their own produced from one day to the next, from one year to the next, for their own whiskey, in their own distillery.

My questions have nothing to do with what the bourbons were like in the past or what they will be like in the future. I'm talking about right now.

Unless I'm missing something, all those current impressions I listed were distilled and barreled by UD. One distiller, one distillery. Nobody else was involved.

mozilla
10-17-2007, 20:07
I might be missing your point, I'm not sure? But as far as UD went...they had trouble getting their bourbon to taste right. So, no, it changed from day to day in the begining. That's why IIRC they went elsewhere to have it made until the corrections at Bernheim could be fixed. After that, I know they changed the entry proof at least once. After some assistence from Julian they changed some of the specs again.
One distillery....not sure, I think more than one.
One distiller....???
Do they marry more than one distillate to make various bottlings....I would guess that they do.

Did that help? Or did I miss again?

drrich1965
10-17-2007, 20:17
I just bought a bottle of OW Antique this week, and I like it a great deal. I am branching out from SMW to bourbon, so my ablity to describe tastes is poor with American whiskies. However, this is very drinkable, with a fair amount of depth. Old books, leather, something sweet and citrusy....Darn nice for $18...

NickAtMartinis
10-17-2007, 20:26
I just bought a bottle of OW Antique this week, and I like it a great deal. I am branching out from SMW to bourbon, so my ablity to describe tastes is poor with American whiskies. However, this is very drinkable, with a fair amount of depth. Old books, leather, something sweet and citrusy....Darn nice for $18...


I couldn't agree more. Not only is Weller Antique great at that price, it's a damned solid bourbon through and through. Someone could take the same bourbon and sell it in a fancier bottle for $40 and actually get away with it.

At this very moment, I'm sipping some ORVW 10/107 and it's still kicking my esophagus from my left ventrical to my liver. I still like it, but will probably not purchase again for a long while since Weller Antique is almost just as tasty with the same proof and much smoother.

Also, I thinks it's a crime to see bourbon bottled at any proof lower than 90. And, to me that's bare bones. I much prefer 100 proof and above.

Dang, I need some Stagg.

TNbourbon
10-17-2007, 21:14
Ancient Age (now Buffalo Trace) distilled some wheated bourbon for United Distillers during the mid-/late-'90s. They bought some of it back and currently use it in the Weller brands, along with Bernheim distillate, and the ever scanter remains of Old Fitzgerald (Stitzel-Weller) barrels.

craigthom
10-18-2007, 08:19
Excellent! I'm just trying to map all this '90s production in my head. So we've got continuity in Frankfort for now and into the future.

cowdery
10-18-2007, 11:39
Some other facts to consider:

Maker's Mark is and always has been 100% whiskey made at the Maker's Mark distillery and the whiskey made there is only sold as Maker's Mark. They don't sell any bulk whiskey.

David Sherman (now called Luxco) is not a distiller and never has been. They get their wheated bourbon for Rebel Yell from Heaven Hill. Although Glenmore was a distiller, I don't believe they ever made any wheated bourbon, which would have had to have been made at the Medley plant in Owensboro if they did. Glenmore and Stitzel-Weller only became part of the same "family" after U.D. bought Glenmore. Diageo, formed by the merger of U.D. (which was actually Guinness) and Grand Metropolitan, operated Bernheim briefly in that corporate form before selling it, and Old Fitzgerald, to Heaven Hill.

I'm pretty sure that when UD had Bernheim, it also had some production done at Buffalo Trace and Brown-Forman. After Heaven Hill took over, they continued to have some production done at Brown-Forman, as they do to this day. I know B-F has been distilling all of Heaven Hill's ryes. Maybe their wheated bourbon too. Some of it? All of it? There I'm not sure, but at least some of it.

Heaven Hill did make adjustments at Bernheim. One big one was adding a lot more copper to the thumper. All of the major changes were made in the first year.

Bernheim, like Maker's, is actually two distilleries under the same roof, in that they have two column stills and two doublers. Bernheim's doublers are thumpers, Maker's are not.

Maker's column stills have some characteristics that resemble the still at Stitzel-Weller. The stills at Bernheim do not have those characteristics.

When UD had Bernheim, until 1999, the Master Distiller was Ed Foote, who had been the last Master Distiller at Stitzel-Weller.

At Bernheim, Heaven Hill uses a dry yeast specially made for them based on the yeast strain they've always used. Bernheim doesn't have the facilities to make jug yeast. Are they using a different yeast for Fitz? I don't think so. Are they using the same yeast Stitzel-Weller used? Most likely not. Is someone using the Stitzel-Weller yeast? Keep reading.

None of the wheaters are single barrel, except for the buy-a-barrel Wellers. Therefore, a given bottle of Weller or Fitzgerald may contain whiskey from more than one of the implicated distilleries.

Maker's Mark had some problems with their yeast a year or so ago. Who did they get yeast from? Heaven Hill. Where did Heaven Hill get its yeast originally? Craig Beam's grandfather, Earl, brought it with him from his previous employer, Jim Beam.

Booker told me Jim Beam made that yeast himself on his back porch upon the repeal of Prohibition. Booker was just a little kid at the time, but he remembered that his grandmother bawled her husband out for stinking up the house with it.

Maker's, after a shut-down, likes to have backset in its first new batch. Where do they get the backset (i.e., spent mash) that they use? Heaven Hill.

The story that Maker's founder Bill Samuels Sr. was given the Old Fitzgerald recipe by Stitzel-Weller owner Pappy Van Winkle was first told to me by a former Old Fitzgerald employee 20 years ago. I have heard it from other people since.

Bill Samuels Jr. has told me that his father got input from many of his friends in the industry, even one of the Motlow brothers at Jack Daniel's. "Dad was a collaborator by nature," said Bill. He specifically got some yeast from Pappy, and some tips about how to cook a mash with wheat in it.

The story about Bill Sr. "discovering" the properties of wheat by "baking bread" is fanciful, which everybody who knows anything will admit. Bill Sr. and Pappy were friends. Bill Sr. admired Pappy's whiskey and wanted to make something similar. But similar, not identical.

Most people in the industry felt Stitzel-Weller's bourbon was superb, if not the best on the market. Chris Morris said to me two days ago that Stitzel-Weller's bourbon may have been the best bourbon ever made. One of his proudest accomplishments was creating Very Special Old Fitzgerald for the original Bourbon Heritage Collection.

There may be a few other ways I can muddy the water on this discussion, but that seems like enough for now.

craigthom
10-18-2007, 12:18
You've convinced me that I have to get out of Kentucky so I can do some dusty bottle hunting. I've never had DSP-KY 16 bourbon, at least not since I've gotten interested in this, and certainly not knowingly. I'm visiting my family in Georgia next month, so I'll have a change. The county my parents lived in was liquor dry until the '70s, but that's plenty of time to have some S-W collecting dust somewhere.

gblick
10-18-2007, 14:42
So far I've only opened and drank from one bottle of ORVW 10/107, and that bottle has an imprint of 02 on the bottom which tells me that it's S-W juice. I've had three bottles of Weller 107, two with S-W (1999 and earlier) and one from around '05.

To me, that one bottle of ORVW 10/107 has been better than any of those Wellers, and I'd have no problem paying $6 more for it (the price difference I've been paying is $10). But I also very much love the Weller 107, all the bottles I've had have been outstanding.

I've been stocking up on both the Weller 107 and the ORVW 10/107. I buy up old S-W bottlings of Weller 107 when I find them, and I also buy the more current bottlings of it when I find it at a very good price. I haven't found too many ORVW 10/107's, but I always buy it when I do, and I think most of the ones I have are older bottles with the S-W juice. I need to check my ORVW 10/107's and see if I have a more current bottle with non S-W juice, and see how it compares to this older bottle I've been loving so much.

Edit: Corrected wording from "pre-1997" to "1999 and earlier".

NickAtMartinis
10-18-2007, 16:38
So far I've only opened and drank from one bottle of ORVW 10/107, and that bottle has an imprint of 02 on the bottom which tells me that it's S-W juice. I've had three bottles of Weller 107, two with S-W (pre-1997) and one from around '05.

To me, that one bottle of ORVW 10/107 has been better than any of those Wellers, and I'd have no problem paying $6 more for it (the price difference I've been paying is $10). But I also very much love the Weller 107, all the bottles I've had have been outstanding.

I've been stocking up on both the Weller 107 and the ORVW 10/107. I buy up old S-W bottlings of Weller 107 when I find them, and I also buy the more current bottlings of it when I find it at a very good price. I haven't found too many ORVW 10/107's, but I always buy it when I do, and I think most of the ones I have are older bottles with the S-W juice. I need to check my ORVW 10/107's and see if I have a more current bottle with non S-W juice, and see how it compares to this older bottle I've been loving so much.


I started out drinking PVW20 so I know how good SW bourbon is (as we all do, I'm sure) but there is an overbearing amount of love for all bottles SW. I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir when I say there are so many other fine bourbons out there so why pine for a near extinct product? Hay, it's nice to get your hands on some old and new SW but why clamour for something that isn't nearly as great as we imagine it to be when there are so many other bourbons out there, easily within our grasps, at a much cheaper cost?

Again, I love SW but I don't think there is one thread on this board that doesn't have some mention of it somewhere. And, of course I had to go and start a thread that touches upon this very subject.;)

ggilbertva
10-18-2007, 19:56
I couldn't agree more. Not only is Weller Antique great at that price, it's a damned solid bourbon through and through. Someone could take the same bourbon and sell it in a fancier bottle for $40 and actually get away with it.

At this very moment, I'm sipping some ORVW 10/107 and it's still kicking my esophagus from my left ventrical to my liver. I still like it, but will probably not purchase again for a long while since Weller Antique is almost just as tasty with the same proof and much smoother.

Also, I thinks it's a crime to see bourbon bottled at any proof lower than 90. And, to me that's bare bones. I much prefer 100 proof and above.

Dang, I need some Stagg.

Interesting that you find the ORVW contains more burn. I love the current ORVW and have a hard time picking between the two of them. I find both to be smooth, delicious pours.

ggilbertva
10-18-2007, 20:05
there are so many other bourbons out there, easily within our grasps, at a much cheaper cost?


Not necessarily. While there are many fine bourbons that are bargains, there are also dusty's out there that are bargains as well. Just because they are old, doesn't mean they cost more. I have two bottles of Old Fitz BIB distilled in 1965, and is 6 years old. I paid $11 for each. Tell me that's not a bargain against any current offering. I enjoy many current bourbons but also enjoy hunting and drinking the older ones.....especially the S-W stuff.

NickAtMartinis
10-18-2007, 20:25
Not necessarily. While there are many fine bourbons that are bargains, there are also dusty's out there that are bargains as well. Just because they are old, doesn't mean they cost more. I have two bottles of Old Fitz BIB distilled in 1965, and is 6 years old. I paid $11 for each. Tell me that's not a bargain against any current offering. I enjoy many current bourbons but also enjoy hunting and drinking the older ones.....especially the S-W stuff.

You're right about the dusties but they're darn hard to find. But well worth it when you do track 'em down.

By the way, nice find on the Old Fitz.

gblick
10-18-2007, 21:47
I started out drinking PVW20 so I know how good SW bourbon is (as we all do, I'm sure) but there is an overbearing amount of love for all bottles SW. I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir when I say there are so many other fine bourbons out there so why pine for a near extinct product? Hay, it's nice to get your hands on some old and new SW but why clamour for something that isn't nearly as great as we imagine it to be when there are so many other bourbons out there, easily within our grasps, at a much cheaper cost?Because it's fun looking for those old bottles, and even better when you find them at a good price. So far, all of the S-W bottles I have found have been just as great as I imagined and have not let me down (and I've been finding these at a very fair price!).

I know where there are some older S-W bottlings of Weller 107 that the store owner has jacked up the price on, and I won't buy them because I'd rather pay the lower price for a current bottling of Weller 107 (which I find to be just about as good anyway). So I'm still trying to be reasonable, but it's cool having the S-W because there is only so much left out there and you know it's not going to be around forever.

If you found several old S-W bottles of Weller 107 (1999 and earlier, with Louisville labels) sitting on the shelf right next to a bunch of current bottles of Weller 107, all for the same low price, which ones are you going to buy?

gblick
10-18-2007, 22:20
Well, I was going to look through my bunker for a more current bottle of ORVW 10/107 (as stated earlier, all I've ever drank from was an '02 bottle), but I didn't have to because just this afternoon I happened upon a lone bottle on a store shelf with a date of 06 imprinted on the bottom of the bottle.

I'm drinking some now, and I'm not getting the burn like you have described in the first post. It's mighty fine whiskey. Since it's so rare (at least in my area) compared to the Weller 107, I didn't mind paying a little bit more for it. And so far, in my experience, the ORVW 10/107 has still proven itself to be better than the Weller 107 (to my tastes anyway).

So there you have my non-professional opinion based on my short-lived and limited span of experience. But the Weller 107 is still one of my very favorite bourbons, which I never fail to bunker when I find a stash at a very good price.

polyamnesia
10-27-2007, 17:48
i have yet to try Weller 107...but i will in a moment!

now, i assume this is regularly available, but the few bottles they had here in PA were pretty dusty. they were on sale for $1 off at $16.99. nice looking bottle.

also bought a bottle of Ridgemont Reserve 1792...but after seeing this discussion, think i'll give the W107 the first pour of the evening. hope it satisfies.

ILLfarmboy
10-27-2007, 19:52
but the few bottles they had here in PA were pretty dusty. they were on sale for $1 off at $16.99. nice looking bottle..


Do these dusty bottles have a gold vein running through the glass, sort of like a spider web? If they do the label should say "Louisville" instead of "Frankfort"? If that is the case, someone correct me if I am wrong, you have Stitzell-Weller whiskey. A very good find indeed.

polyamnesia
10-27-2007, 20:02
sadly, no, it's Frankfort, not Louisville...

but it's still impressive.

at this point (and a third pour....last one for tonight!), the nose and finish still confuse me (a good thing, i think). the roil-and-chew of it is the highlight, for sure. but the linger is still not as impressive. i don't think THAT is set in stone, though

that Russell's Reserve 90 i tried for the first time last week was disappointing at first....then it got better. and BETTER! now i love it (it beats anything else i've had so far)!. my palate does weird adjustments. i am still trying to get a feel for that!

still, i don't know what that finish with the Weller is doing yet.
i think it's the seeming 'evaporation' of the sweetness and what remains IS the mystery at this point.

a nice problem to have...

drli
11-23-2007, 16:23
Last month, I did a side by side of these same two bottles. I gave the thumbs up to the ORVW 10/107. It just out classed the Weller 107.

Each on its own without the side by side, is fine.

For the past 3 years, I buy as many ORVW 10/107 as I can my hands on. When they are gone for the year, I buy the Weller 107.

Chaz7
11-23-2007, 17:00
Here in Colorado Springs, the WA is 32.00 for a 1.5l, while the ORVW 107 is 29.00 a 750. But they are different, I prefer the ORVW even though it's more of a price difference; I just drink it less. But the WA still is one of my everyday pours

shoshani
11-27-2007, 01:10
P.S. By the way, is the guy who chooses the barrels for Weller Antique some sort of shmuck? Let's give credit where credit is due, as good as Julian is at picking his barrels, the person who does the same for Weller, ain't too bad either.

..I...think the word you really meant to use is not "shmuck", but "maven".

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/schmuck

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/maven

OscarV
11-27-2007, 10:49
I have been reading this thread for a while now and I went out today and got both bottles.

No. I8784 on the Old Rip Van Winkle 10 yo 107

No identifying info on the Old Weller Antique 107

Looks like I have work to do now in comparing for myself.
I think I am up to it.

NickAtMartinis
12-02-2007, 20:40
I have been reading this thread for a while now and I went out today and got both bottles.

No. I8784 on the Old Rip Van Winkle 10 yo 107

No identifying info on the Old Weller Antique 107

Looks like I have work to do now in comparing for myself.
I think I am up to it.


Oscar, how did things work out? I'm very interested in knowing.


To fine tune my points. I think the ORVW 10/107 has a better overall flavor than the Antique. However, the burn is emense to me while the Antique is quite smooth.

Overall, the ORVW 10/107 is my favorite VW product. Actually, I just realized this upon tasting the PVW15.

BourbonJoe
12-03-2007, 04:54
Time to weigh in. ORVW 10-107 is a superb drink but Weller Antique is a hell of a lot cheaper and not that inferior. I'll take the Weller for the money (every time).
Joe :usflag:

NickAtMartinis
12-03-2007, 07:01
Time to weigh in. ORVW 10-107 is a superb drink but Weller Antique is a hell of a lot cheaper and not that inferior. I'll take the Weller for the money (every time).
Joe :usflag:


Joe, that's been my bone of contention with ORVW 10/107. In my area, ORVW 10/107 is $26.99 - $29.99 while Antique is anywhere from $18.99 - $22.99. To me, that's an overwhelming difference and I'm not really getting that much more for the spread (just an additional three years).

jinenjo
12-06-2007, 23:28
I haven't done a side-by-side of the two. And after reading this thread for the past few days I went out and picked up my first of a Weller Antique. It's certainly a very decent pour, yet comparing it to my only bottle of ORVW 10/207, dated from early 2000's, I'd have to side with the Old Rip. Given that it's only approx. $6 more it's worth it.

I missed out on a more recent purchase of ORVW so perhaps it's changed a bit.

I tend to prefer the more leathery, wood-influenced style, which clearly shows up more in the Old Rip.

That said, the OWA is quite the nice daily pour.

To me they're different creatures.

squire
12-08-2007, 15:11
I'll take the Weller for value. Darn good stuff and and often overlooked, at least in my area.

Squire

NickAtMartinis
12-17-2007, 20:51
For the heck of it, tonight I decided to do a side-by-side of the Antique and ORVW. Having never done this, I figured I'd officially - at least in my mind - figure out which had the fuller/better flavor. And...

the ORVW won out.

Still, though, I will purchase a lot more Weller Antique than ORVW but that's not a bad thing. Both are very good bourbons. And, as much as I've complained about ORVW 10/107's price, it's still a good value for what lies inside.

The big question will always be, is it worth the extra $8-&10? Yes, once in a while it is.


Regarding the Van Winkle line as whole, to me the 10/107 is the best, not just for value, but the best bourbon in its line, overall.

If I had to rate them soley on flavor, here's how it would go:

ORVW 10/107
PVW 15
PVW 20
PVW 23
Lot B


Now, if I took in consideration price and flavor, my list changes slightly:

ORVW 10/107 $28.99
PVW 15 $44.99
PVW 20 $89.99
Lot B $42.99
PVW 23 $249.99

My feeling is, why purchase the Lot B or PVW 23 at all?! The former is at a strange price point, in my area anyway ($42.99) and the latter is much too expensive.

So, why purchase a Lot B when you can either get a 10/107 (only two years younger) for $14 less or get a 15/107 (three years older) for only $2 more!!!!

And, why purchase a 23 when you get the 20 soooo much cheaper it's not even funny!!!!

Just my $1.50.:grin: