The nose is a fiery rye. Peppermint, and menthol, and tiger balm out looking for a fight. “Hey, Pond’s Cold Cream, come over here! Yeah, you!” There is maple there, but not the sort of that pulls room-darkening shades over my palate and suffuses it with the tang of candy. No, this is maple done more subtly, as if each barrel had its own sugar house to cook down the syrup to the right consistency.
The mouth tingles and jingles like a triumvirate of toothpaste, mouthwash, and rye. Note to self: think of awesome marketing opportunity based on Tom’s of Maine, but instead is called Gable’s of the Hudson River, a line of cosmetics and notions for the gritty, unshaven man. The kind of man who carries axe blade oil in his scratchy-wool shirt pocket. The kind of man who knows how to use it to lubricate a child’s radio controlled car so that it no longer squeaks. The kind of man who uses the car to sneak up on the dog again when the kid is napping. I think I’ve got the first TV commercial!
The rye notes are prominent but tamed by the maple like a middle linebacker with anger issues who takes a really sweet sophomore to the Homecoming dance. Cheroot cigars smoked through a bruise-softened crab apple. A maple picture frame around a jagged, Cubist masterpiece.
The finish is a long delight. This is the part of the night where the guests put too many logs on the fire pit but the host just smiles and shrugs with a “whaddya gonna do?” gesture that everyone silently applauds. Think of the finale of Riverdance, only miniaturized. Lord Flately dancing on the head of a pin with countless numbers of angels. His shirt billows like a ship after coming around. His hair blown back like a dog hanging his head out of the car window on the Autobahn. And the feet! Every tap and kick and click and turn transmitting pleasure.