A nose of candied popcorn dropped in rosewater-scented talcum powder. Dropped? More like: tossed with insouciance. Or perhaps more like: flung with a measure of disdain tantamount to malice. Just who is responsible? “You there!” I cry out. “Yes, you, with the exquisitely bejeweled poignard and…powdery popcorn fingers!” He turns on the heels of his ghillie brogues and slowly looks me up and down, then up and a down again, with an affectation straddling boredom and pity, while still conveying both. Gardenia in his crushed-velvet lapel, he smiles as his eyes find the spot on my ribs where I’m most vulnerable while his hand finds the mother-of-pearl handle of his dagger. By the time I experience the mouth, I see the silk scarves, which were once employed as restraints on the wrists of a manikin (the knots don’t need to be very tight, trust me). He’s got them stuffed up his sleeves so that he can pull them out with a magician’s flourish. He’s using them to pick up smoked lardons, the peat-free smoke variety, and placing them in his jacket. Now he’s picking up the charred wood set out on silver serving dishes. These and the candied whitefish chunks next to the mantle he wraps with care and places the little packages back into secret pockets on his jacket. The finish returns the sweetness: crushed tulip-juice nectar for a hummingbird bird bar in So Cal. Cornichons wrapped in prosciutto then tied down with fruit leather. Phyllo dough formed into little steam ships.
The Craigellachie 12 Year 2000 from The Exclusive Malts is “Where does the general keep his armies? Up his sleevies.”–This simply crackles with concision and wit, and it pleases young and old alike. It’s also unique and in a category by itself. After all, how many shirt jokes can there be? *
–Our thanks to Sam Filmus and ImpEx for the sample!
* – The Malt Impostor intern researched and found that there’s really only one contender. However, since the 1973 Trafalgar Accord, this fine specimen has been categorized as a pants joke:
Long ago, when sailing ships ruled the waves, a captain and his crew were in danger of being boarded by a pirate ship. As the crew became frantic, the captain bellowed to his First Mate,’ Bring me my red shirt!’ The First Mate quickly retrieved the captain’s red shirt, which the captain put on and led the crew to battle the pirate boarding party. Although some casualties occurred among the crew, the pirates were repelled. Later that day, the lookout screamed that there were two pirate vessels sending boarding parties. The crew cowered in fear, but the captain, calm as ever bellowed,’ Bring me my red shirt!’ And once again the battle was on. However, the Captain and his crew repelled both boarding parties, though this time more casualties occurred. Weary from the battles, the men sat around on deck that night recounting the day’s occurrences when an ensign looked to the Captain and asked,’ Sir, why did you call for your red shirt before the battle?’ The Captain, giving the ensign a look that only a captain can give, exhorted,’ If I am wounded in battle, the red shirt does not show the wound and thus, you men will continue to fight unafraid.’ The men sat in silence marveling at the courage of such a man. As dawn came the next morning, the lookout screamed that there were pirate ships, 10 of them, all with boarding parties on their way. The men became silent and looked to the Captain, their leader, for his usual command. The Captain, calm as ever, bellowed,’ Bring me my brown pants!’