NOTE: Prepare ingredients before starting! Experienced, or quick, cooks can ignore this advice. I'm neither experienced nor quick. If I don't prepare the ingredients before starting the chowder, it's a disaster.
Bring the bottled clam juice and potatoes to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender (about ten minutes). Remove from heat.
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until bacon begins to brown (about 8-10 minutes). Add onions, celery, garlic, and bay leaf. SautÃ until vegetables soften, about six minutes.
Stir in flour and cook two minutes. Do not allow flour to brown.
Gradually whisk in reserved juices from clams. Add potato mixture, calms, half-and-half, hickory smoke salt, and hot pepper sauce. Simmer chowder to blend flavors, stirring frequently.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Chowder can be served after as few as ten minutes of simmering, or it can sit on the stove contentedly for hours.