On first approach this is an odd duck. The initial nose has some unpleasantness—pine chip mulch spoiling on wax-soft asphalt, or looking down into a turtle’s terrarium and forgetting to hold your breath—but it blows off really quickly. Now the fun begins. There are red candies thrown on a tile foyer to foil intruders. Then there’s a cinnamon stick in your cider that turns out to be a candied bat wing. Finally, a rose under a bell jar, inside a hot house, located within a greenhouse, under a God-sized magnifying glass. All of which is to say, this is a curiously-braided, spicy savory combination that forms a tightly-wound candy matrix.
On the mouth, everything clicks into focus like a movie whose central twist has just emerged. Think of the ending montage of The Sixth Sense as Bruce Willis’ truth is made clear to him. What is clear to me is how super drinkable this is. I now see how the baffling wine notes on the nose round things out like a jeweler’s symmetrical cuts into a sapphire. A beautiful sense of well-being is left behind. It’s an edge-of-the-map whisky, to be sure, but I’m already planning a destination wedding there [Bill: John, you’re not even dating anyone right now.] [Stephen: Maybe he just, um, likes to be prepared?]
The finish has all of the smoothness of the mouth but with extra smoothness added in. How do they do that? It’s like the shadow of smoothness sculpted smoother still by angels, or the resonant echo in the piano case like a rumor murmured among the strings after the hammers are stilled. Think of the line traced by your left index finger as you unzip your paramour’s nearly invisible, evening dress zipper through which she will emerge like a 17-year cicada. You go slowly enough to allow each tooth to click one by one. You imagine yourself, at first, as a safe cracker listening carefully to determine the combination, but your impatience bids the clicks to come more quickly. Now you’re a roller coaster whose nose has dipped over the apogee and pulls the cars back down toward the earth in a steadily increasing pace. And now the clicks are no longer perceptible as clicks; they run together so fast now they whine the song of a deep sea fishing rod whose spool rapidly turns out 40 lb test line into the ocean depths. This whisky has all the smoothness found when, in the moment that the zipper opens, your jam comes on the radio. Your paramour turns; you look up; and you share a glance that communicates more than words.
–Our thanks to Chieftain’s and ImpEx for the sample!