Review: Bottell

Rating: ★★★★★
Leather Lore
www.leatherlore.com

Let’s face it – by and large, most of our pirate gear and garb is just for show. True, some of us look to acquire higher quality, functional clothing that will stand up to the elements and spaniards alike, while others opt for strictly “fashionable” items that serve no purpose except to look awsome and piratey. And this is what makes a Leather Lore Bottell stand apart – it’s virtually a practical necessity.

Bottells are basically leather canteens. They’re available in either pitch or wax lining (pitch allows for more colors, while wax restricts you to black or brown. Wax, however, is safer for use with hard liquors, i.e. RUM!) and in 16 or 32 oz capaicities. The cork is turned wood held in place with a leather cord – not one item of modern material is present. They’re solid and rigid, and though the manufacturer does warn that it’s possible to crush and ruin them, they seem very sturdy and well-built.

The incredible usefulness of this item is twofold, varying depending on the nature of your pirate event. I bought my Bottell with relatively civilized events in mind – pirate parties and conventions that occur near hotels, restraunts and indoor plumbing. The problem with civilization, though, is not everyone smiles on a pirate carrying an actual bottle of rum around (I mean, what do they expect?) As such, strapping a Bottell over your shoulder makes a rather subtle way to sneak rum whereever you go, be it movie theaters, police stations or weddings. In this respect, a Bottell is easily worth its weight in gold. Mine being the medium, 16 oz variety, it holds more than enough rum to keep me charged throughout the day, while weighing next to nothing – I can quite literally forget I’m carrying it. And since it looks right at home on a proper rough&tumble pirate outfit, no one’s likely to ever say boo about it.

The second – and arguably more important use for a Bottell would be at less civilized, more rustic events. My Bottell cut its teeth at Pirates in Paradise in Key West. My days were largely spent outdoors in the sun, and water was a necessity. But carrying a plastic water bottle around is such an ugly distraction from my otherwise fantastic pirate garb, and this is where the Bottell truly paid for itself. 16 oz of water can keep you hydrated for a good while. And the wax lining left virtually no aftertaste – what little it did leave wasn’t remotely unpleasant. I’ve partaken of water from other leather vessels in the past, and some leave an overwhelming scent of leather with each gulp. With the Bottell, I could still tell I was drinking from leather rather than plasic, but the leather was so subdued it was easily forgotten.

I love my Leather Lore Bottell. From this point forward, it will likely be the first item I pack for most any pirate event I ever attend. Mine is wax lined, and brown in color. The brown took on a lovely roughed up tone thanks to a little sun bleaching, giving it a glorious uniqueness. Being small framed, I’m very happy with the 16 oz size, although folks more of Blackbeard’s stature might find the 32 oz to their liking. Whichever size, I highly recommend forking out the extra five bucks for a shoulder strap, as it makes the Bottell much more comfortable – I fully expect the basic thong that would otherwise come with it might cut into the shoulder – especially when the Bottell is full of your favorite rum.