I stand before the massive teak doors of Beit al-ajaib. My fingers lightly trace “Zanzibar” into the exquisitely carved wood. I’m not ready to knock yet, for I wish to keep alive my dream that Sultan Barghash himself might answer. He would be surprised that I am wearing Jessica Chastain’s space helmet, stolen from the set of The Martian. I sniff deeply of an atmosphere redolent with fragrances of musk and perfume and possibility.
Such is the nose of the redoubtable Brenne 10. What’s that, you say? Yes, they now have a 10 year old. I can only speculate that their original expression, which averages seven years old, confused the Continental market that sought a more metric offering. But then I taste it. The mouth is light but substantial; and if you’ve read as much French philosophy as I have, you wouldn’t even register that as a paradox. Neither would the following strike me as absurd: tannic cherries that are studying to become tantric cherries. Their business cards indicate that they are acolytes in the order of “Oh, yeah.” Then there are hints of banana and bubblegum and cherry whips. It must be the cognac barrels!
The finish is delicate, and, for a moment, I think that it makes the French exit by failing to say goodbye to my taste buds. But I quickly learn, from the locked doors on my master bedroom, that I am mistaken. At this moment, a curvy, woody deliciousness emerges and strides around on my palate in robes more sheer than cheesecloth. I can hear dulcimer strumming and a monkey chorus begins humming “Ave Maria.” It is time for dancing.