Normally we thank the kind, if benighted, souls that provide our nips, drams, bottles, and analytical samples. However, this time we must thank God. (Pauses to get up from an extended Tebow crouch, replete with index fingers pointed to the heavens.)
With that out of the way, I’ve got to level with you. We are a little afraid to start in on this. It’s older than we are, for one, and it comes in a brilliant wooden case with dovetail joints. It’s… well, it’s hard to just crack it open and drink it so we stroke the bottle a bit, check out the tiny, rare-earth magnetic latch on the box, and read the attached literature for a while. (How in the hell did we end up with the bottle? I think we’ve found a suppressed sixth Thomistic proof of God’s existence.) But as we note the ABV, we are stunned. How in the hell did this thing weigh in at 47.2% ABV after spending 58 years in a cask? Then it hits us. If the angels’ share is, conservatively, 0.7% per year, and we multiply that by 58 years, then, carry the 2 (counts on fingers and toes), then it turns out that this was distilled at a whopping 97.8% ABV. This. Should. Not. Be. Possible. Stephen makes some crack about Satan guarding this whisky, else how would the angels fail to get their share?–but by this point none of us are laughing. Free whisky of impossible age and exceptional provenance, but with the kind of alcohol content you’d need the Cern accelerator to produce. What we have here the work of malevolent forces. It is not God whom we should thank. No, not at all. For one drop of this on our lips and we might as well drip a wax seal on our souls and express mail them to Hell itself. As we wordlessly take this thought in, Bill hums the chorus from “Who let the dogs out?” but I impress upon him that we’re not ready for middle-brow jokes about Cerberus.
So having resolved not to drink this elixir of soul-stealing death we pause again to take in the box. What is it if not a tiny coffin for our loutish souls? And as we ponder the 58-year old whisky inside–wondering if that not some derivative of the number of the beast, what it would mean for this to be the last whisky to pass our lips–we know without speaking what we must do. That’s right, not for ourselves, but for our readers. We will crack open this 50 ml bottle of doom and review it with all of our integrity and earnestness! Assuming we have any.
Wood. Yes, we’re starting there; and why not? There’s some wood, okay? Think fatback kindling in a vat of sherry, or the prow of a trireme cutting through the wine-dark sea at the behest of an agrieved general, or jerk ham grilled on a cedar plank in the salty sands of Zanzibar. (And let me tell you, as the vegetarian in the bunch, I can detect ham. And there is ham here.) Nosing this dram I wish I was a Roomba® so that I could automatedly snuff up every last molecule emanating from this dram. Perhaps I can retrofit the gas masks in my panic room to handle 7/16″ threaded opening of the airline miniature. But what need have I for a panic room anymore, when I am soon to be abused by trident-wielding Pan-shanked, hate-devils! At any rate, there is a faint fruit note, like fruit seen from underwater, or a trompe l’œil prompting ravens to peck noisily at tile. Cezanne’s apples, Hieronymous Bosch‘s pears, and the Lady of the Lake fezzed à la Carmen Miranda. A Braeburn apple artillery shell with incredible complexity before coated in latex. Plums. Really old plums. Leading us to wonder whether you can age a plum without making a prune. Yeah, really old like that. Which leads us to ask what is the sound of one prune clapping? And if it was in a forest alone with no one to hear it would it even–
–damn it! Concentrate! There can’t be much more time now! The finish here is longer than the Lagavulin 25 recently drunk at the Albanach in Edinburgh. Oh, memories of this earthly life! Willst I be able to carry thee past Hell’s gates as a diversion, or will my remembrances rather turn into cudgels and beat me into a remora of remorse? The longevity of the finish makes us note, with bitterness and rue, how long our eternal torment will be. And the complexity bends our prose into paradox and illogic, so unlike our normal clarity and concision. Think of what it might be like if a sweet lassi energy drink were reduced into a pudding-like salve in a sous-vide oven and then applied to the holes in my breaking heart. My mouth is made happy–yes, it can at least enjoy that pleasure before my body becomes a vehicle for capricious wickedry–and we finally come to the conclusion: that it’s worth it. Eternal damnation be damned! All hail Satan and his no-money-down, 58-year-old whisky (with separate shipping and handling fee).
The Glenfarclas 1953 is the Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph watch, which is to say, it is both expensive and worth it. Think about it. At 58 years old it already has an AARP card, likes to get the early-bird dinner, it avoids places “with crowds,” and it has all the socks and sweaters it thinks it needs. And in a few years it’ll get Social Security payments well in excess of its price. This is a value-investor’s whisky if there ever was one!
–Our thanks to our mysterious benefactors for this extraordinary dram!