On the nose, there’s redwood bark with termites lounging in the crevices, smoking tiny cigarettes (it’d be weird if they were smoking regular-sized ones), having given up trying to penetrate it. In other words, the nose makes clear that you can’t fuck with this dram. There’s also gunpowder: cannon ramrods wrapped in velvet that’s been soaked in kirsch, a dash of creosote, and the unrepentant sin of an unbeliever. But all of this is mere prelude to the barbecue festival residing underneath them. I’d say it’s Kansas City barbecue, but that would undersell this dram rather dramatically.
The mouth is tightly concentrated, layered, and explosive, with a stupendous amount of potential energy unlocking on the tongue. The closest thing we’ve had to this mouth is the sui generis Last Drop. There’s a green note in there, like a grilled asparagus swimming in a plate of a Kansas City barbecue sauce—tomato-based, but not as sweet as Memphis-style sauce—while wearing a tiny leather vest (because a regular-sized one would look ridiculous). But there’s also a menthol note in there, or maybe its caramelized rosemary. Or caramelized orgasms. It is singular with an emphasis on the “sing.” We have a hard time imagining what a first-time whiskey drinker would think of stumbling upon this beast: it must be like learning to barbecue on an active volcano. This dram is not for the faint of whiskey experience.
The finish is like getting dressed for your second date with the person with whom you first had sex. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t right on point. It’s a cacophony of all of the good stuff of Maillard reactions: I’d say it was a symphony, but the good stuff fires off so forcefully, it doesn’t seem synchronized; plus, all of the instruments are from the same section. But it may be the world’s most versatile string section: you have smoke that can play as peat, winey-ness that can play as caramel, and leather that can play as burnt ends and pulled pork and beef ribs, all in the same mouthful. This is the richest and wildest Garryana yet.
On the scale of singular experiences–
The Westland Garryana 3⏐1 (2018) is being a Memphis boy trying the best burnt ends in the Kansas City area–I’m particularly hard to impress on the barbecue front, but Fiorella’s Jack Stack BBQ blew me away. It’s amazing, and like nothing else.
–Our thanks to Westland for the sample!