Stronachie… Stronachie…. Where have I heard of this? Is it the name of a minor character in Verdi’s Un giorno di regno? Pasta turned into the shape of the pancreas? Clerical vestments? Martini & Rossi Asti Stronacci? An insult in Na’vi more politely translated as “ikran cloaca”? It is none of these, but perhaps I can be pardoned for my poor memory as it in fact refers to a lost distillery near Forgandenny. After a 70-year interregnum, production began again in 2002 with the attempt to match the properties of a rare 1904 bottling. If they have even approximated the archetype, the result is remarkable. Drips from a sponge soaked in confectioner’s sugar and Bay Rum aftershave. Rich, charcoaly, even gamey; it recalls nothing if not the steam from a venison, zucchini, and fingerling potato foil packet pulled from a Cub Scout campfire, with a dash of Jane’s Krazy Mixed-up Salt. The Stronachie 12 elicits the same degree of mixed admiration for, and some of the curious tastes of, the handiwork of an imprisoned Poe aficionado, whose mint-toothpick homage to the House of Usher was burned by an aggrieved cellmate in a fit of pique. (The latter, if you must know, held that The Tingler was the finest film adaptation of a Poe story, and after being dressed down on this point before a few members of Nuestra Familia—for clearly The Tingler is not fine, nor is it Poe’s–well, you can only imagine his shame.)
The Stronachie 12 is “Rosie Fingered Dawn”–It somehow blends genuine respect for the authority of tradition with a subversive nod to current tastes.