I think of this whiskey as Smokey the Bear’s wayward cousin. It’s got the fire and smoke and a keen sense of danger. But this guy is also attracted to the danger. What I’m trying to say is that I think it is one of those drams that would dabble in vice, but do so with so much charm that you make certain allowances. In this case, the alarming haze on the horizon signals no conflagration. Rather it is a fine mist of caramel descending on Carmel, CA. And it’s not smoke that is stinging my eyes, but the snug emotions I feel upon making a long-awaited reunion. Moments from now I’ll be laughing. For though I am wearing my favorite boots, my impish friend has snuck under the table to tie the laces together. And I shall find this funny like the others gathered for the meal.
The mouth is a sweet, sticky, syrupy, cola-like goodness, like the cola syrup that oozes out of the fountain when there’s a pinch in the soda hose. It’s really molasses-like in how chewy and substantial it is. I’m reminded of the dark amber flypaper strips hanging in my grandparent’s home in North Carolina. The unguent beaded up on those long strips in a way that was almost like pearls. Come to think of it, pearls would be the perfect spirit gem for this whiskey. The attraction of pearls is precisely that they are natural, unadorned, and un-ostentatious. We are talking about a classic with very broad appeal.
The finish is quick and Houdini like. Which is to say that it’s so damn drinkable. The readiness of my lips for another sip reminds me of mead. I’m not getting the funky notes I’d expect from the Belgian yeast. And it’s not making me want to enter battle. Rather, I’m ready to draw up terms for a peaceable transfer of the rest of the bottle into my glass.
On the scale of interesting facts about pearls–
The Sons of Liberty Battle Cry Belgian Mash New England Single Malt Whiskey is the fact that all pearl oysters are born male and transform into females around the time of their full maturity–We think that bottling this at 92 proof and with no chill filtration enables a similar transformation.
–Our thanks to Sons of Liberty for the sample!