The darkness in my glass reminds me of what I’ve come to call the “blushing of the brogues.” This happened years ago at the regional meeting. I had stepped out of the bathroom in plenty of time to walk on stage to accept the sales award, only to notice a strip of toilet paper longer than my forearm stuck to the bottom of my new cordovan wingtips. And by “notice” I mean that I saw it on the JumboTron at what was to have been my crowning achievement. As embarrassed as I was, my shoes felt even worse. In their humiliation they turned into the same ruddy shade that swirls in my glass.
This whiskey smells threatening. It’s more scarecrow than cornfield, if you know what I mean. But there’s a real sweetness underneath, too. Let’s make it a hippie scarecrow. He’s got a Life is Good t-shirt on and a posture that says, “hey, birds, it’s all good!” In a basket, Ray (the scarecrow insists that we call him Ray) holds cherries and white peaches.
My first sip peels the paint off the top of my mouth. Wow! Scorching! It’s like I’ve just taken a huge bite from a bubbling pizza just pulled from wood-fired pizza stoves. I look up at happy-go-lucky Ray and I see a Balrog. Pure evil. It’s like nothing got between me and the power of this bourbon to destroy. But with a touch of water it opens up splendidly. I get pecan pie cooked inside a cast iron pan. Bamboo sticks roasting cherries on a spit. Grilled whitefish. Caramel fudge. With even more water, it’s almost floral.
The finish thrums and throbs like an EDM dance party for ENT doctors at EDI airport. But the finish is not as big as I thought it would be. Ray is back, smiling genially. There are spice-flavored spice drops. (Note to self: find out how much rye is in the mash bill.) I’m also reminded of novelty hillbilly teeth made out wax poured into corn silk molds. Then there’s the smell of old screen windows after an early spring rain shower.
–On the scale of years in which the United States established both the Post Office and the Mint–
The 1792 Full Proof is 1792–So how about we celebrate: I’ll send y’all some money and you mail me another bottle of this fine whiskey?