Leaning over the glass, I get the unmistakable smell of my lucky cuff links. I’d wear them to the races back then. I remember the way they smelled of coconut husk slow grilled over pecan wood. Holding my binoculars up, I could smell the cufflinks, along with the bits of soapy aftershave still on my hands, and the mild, kangaroo leather, padded eyecups. My betting receipts fanned out from between the fingers on my left hand. I’m ready for the gate to open.
And the mouth is a stunner: just as I hoped, just as I expected. I’m not entirely sure that I have the proper gustatory touch points to convey how really beautiful this is. I am certain, though, that I get high-altitude lake algae balls held in the hands of Virgilio Martínez, the famed Peruvian chef at Central in Lima. He has candied them with low-altitude cane sugar and served them on a tray with clumps of earth and clay. There’s a bright orange curl of flame tracing the bark that has been ignited, I think, by the intensity of my anticipation of the final turn and the thrilling conclusion.
That finish initially recedes quickly, which surprises me. I check my binoculars again. I see that the horses’ slowed pace around the final turn is an optical illusion. It is as if they have gathered among the hedgerows to make a more concerted attack. Here I find peat and smoke in a balletic balance. Into this dance are charred s’mores on crisped graham crackers and singed parsley set athwart roasted root vegetables and shaved tubers. Thunderous rumbles from horse hoof and hoarse hollers rattle the room and presage a frenetic photo finish.
On the scale of champion horses–
The Port Ellen 37 Year Old 2017 Limited Edition is the 1979 Preakness Winner, Spectacular Bid–Outstanding pedigree, tremendous achievements, and long remembered. Yeah, that sounds like Port Ellen to me.
–Our thanks to Diageo for the sample!