There’s bits of honeycomb held on the tips of a boar-bristle brush used to conduct an imaginary quartet. My gestures are quite pronounced because the viola player is behind the tempo. Again. But maybe she’s right to slow things down, I think to myself, as the notes of cherry, pine cone, and tannery-aged green banana float across the gray, cold afternoon of my consciousness. What follows is a mean oatmeal. Not average, mind you, but angry and assertive. I now move my arms to slow the violins. Their high notes are pushing up into the bourbon registers. When the tempo is settled, I find my head showered by wet herbs ground up in the impossibly large hands of Andre the Giant.
The mouth recalls nothing if not vanilla fondant coating a mortar round. The cellist pushes this—briskly, brusquely, and even burlesquely—through until we reach layers of mahogany lacquer. Can cellists be trusted, I wonder for the second time this week. For I found before me blondies baked with a layer of cherry blossoms on top and pixie wings misted with musty chemicals. And all of it with the thick viscosity of a simple syrup reduced on a campfire skillet.
The finish offers a bracing mule kick initially. Or, rather, the elbow of the cellist in my kidney. I wince. But before I can say, “don’t tase me bro!” the spice settles down and the quartet, I realize, does not need my help. It has settled into its own rhythm. I want to comment on the spice that’s spicy but not too spicy and I think I’ve got it. We have before us the genial, good-hearted humor of Steve Martin in the Smothers Brothers era. Oh, sure, there’s stupid puns and slapstick, but also a uniqueness that is as hard to pin down as America itself.
The Single Cask Nation FEW 2 Year Old 2012 Rye (New Char Cask # 579) 2012 is Steve Martin–John Travolta can’t fit into his any longer; and Tom Wolfe is a good writer, but as a person, he seems worthy of being pummeled with a turnip. Steve Martin, though, has great range as an actor, plays a mean banjo, and even writes novels. As David Letterman was prone to say, the man’s a national treasure.
–Our thanks to Single Cask Nation for the sample!