We have a very strict policy here at The Malt Impostor, and we have it down to a four word mantra: no name, no theme. Granted, we rarely ever invoke it (this is the first time, in fact), and Bill often writes wild, themeless gonzo-fests for whiskies with perfectly good names. But here we are.
On the nose: Peaty! Black-eyed peas on a campfire skillet. Oaty, clarified peat. Ghee peat–or maybe better, Gheat. The peat you want in a court fight: Daniel Benzali in Murder One, or perhaps Michael Avenatti. Chariot wheel grease, trireme oars, canvas sailcloth on a burning ship. The nose is more powerful than wasabi: it’s better than Claritin for a groundskeeper crew.
On the mouth: It begins with a phenolic boom. Then: ash wiped cheese (say that fast a couple of times to make 8th graders giggle). Hecatomb charcoal. It has a bite and a kick, a scratch and a claw, a roundhouse, judo flip. It’s perhaps as vigorous as it is delicious, and that’s saying something. Elder Flower liqueur poured into a nearly silent peat engine. This is truly Clean Peat technology! It’s so clean, the loss of the Amazon seems less pressing.
On the finish: tiny, perfect cubes black salt on white clay plates. Ribbons from opened gifts. Whale bone corsets used as a dinosaur’s toothpicks. Earthiness. A pufferfish that inflated in my gullet, despite the fact that he had already been cooked and dusted with black sesame seeds. Much more vegetal on the finish, but still clean and crisp. This is a 200 meter sprinter. Less burnt, and more acidic, than expected, which gives it a wonderful sharpness. It’s like standing in front steep facades of exposed earth: The Cliffs of Moar? The finish closes up my tongue like a finished book, with full sighs as the narrative strings are all tied up perfectly.
On the scale of anonymous monikers–
The Compass Box No Name is John (or Jane) Roe–For most of Anglo-American legal history, “Roe” was second to the first chair “Doe” occupied: “Most U.S. jurisdictions continue to use John Doe and his female counterpart, Jane, as placeholder names, and will bring in Roe if two anonymous or unknown parties are involved in the same case.” But thanks to Roe v. Wade, “Roe” is second fiddle no more, and for many, its reference to an anonymous person comes to mind more readily than do fish eggs.
–Our thanks to Compass Box for the sample!