In my dream I’m wearing indigenous sandals whose tread matches exactly that of a set of Pirelli P Zero tires. I step through a dense jungle canopy led by the smell of a Petit Syrah held in a kangaroo skin flagon. I reach to pinch myself but think the better of it when I find a group of Robert Bly-reading men of first-world privilege attempting to create a ritual. One of them keeps a steady beat on a drum.
The mouth is tarry and has the piquancy, though not the intense sweetness, of date honey. I look over to see that I’m leaning against an old French bedpost that beads with sweat in the jungle humidity. It would be much heavier had the center not been drilled out and filled with cork. Sammy Sosa looks over to me and says, “Renaissance has been very, very good to me.” He is then joined by the world-famous “Three Throat Singers,” each of whom represents a different tradition, Tuva, Inuit, and Xhosa. The first world men stand in rapt attention as the music washes over them. Sherry tannins, green pepper omelets, whelped weasel breath, and rosewater custard round things out.
The finish is as invigorating as a baptism. Or, for our agnostic readers, consider me to be a machine. I have been broken down into my smallest parts which are now rubbed with Zep purple between calloused fingers. All of the promises are fulfilled: the depth, the symbolic meaning, the gently brushed velvet coat lapels, and the resonance from a hollow tree trunk rapped by a river rock. I feel now the same way I did at that breakfast cereal café when Ian McShane leaned into a Shure 58 mic to read Jamberry to the assembled audience.
–Our thanks to the Balvenie and Gemma Louise Paterson for the sample!