It’s amazing how often these ingredients come up in human cuisine. I have a couple of bottles of Asian fish sauces in my cupboard, it was a key element in Roman foods as garum, and what they all have in common is that they are made by taking large quantities of whole small fish and letting them ferment and liquefy into a spicy umami-rich sauce. Now I learn that Worcestershire sauce is also made by letting anchovies decay. I shouldn’t be surprised.
Although the story about how the original mixture that was made and tested is troubling. It tasted terrible, so they put the bottle away in the basement, and then years later, someone came along and decided to taste it again? When I find old leftovers I forgot in the refrigerator a few weeks before, I’m not tempted in the slightest. Maybe the problem is that I didn’t neglect them long enough, and I should let them a bit more tang, festering in the dark for a couple of years.