The nose of this dram is about as complex as one could ever imagine a nose to have: trying to sort it out is akin to engaging in a full-blown rhinoplasty on Karl Malden, God rest his soul. But here, forced to say something despite my conspicuous lack of anything approximating a medical license, I’ll dig in and tell you what I find, even if I have no clear sense of where the parts lie with respect to one another: blood orange, guacamole, and honey-ham, sitting atop a maple dresser fitted with slots for storing horse medications; but it’s also spicy, really spicy—imagine the whole picture I just drew now drenched in the most delicious Cajun seafood gumbo you’ve ever had. On the mouth, it’s another cornucopia of flavors: spice again, stinging and half-numbing the tongue before introducing marshmallow, apple tart, raisins, and unmitigated yumminess, It’s like the moment coming down the staircase to see an array of gifts St. Nick has left for you and not knowing where to direct your attention—and thoroughly forgetting that you wanted a Red Ryder BB gun more than anything in the world. It’s a delicious seven-course meal distilled into a tiny pill designed for space travelers. There’s so much going on here that it’s hard to tell if it contradicts itself at any point (though it does not seem to): try to get your head around the Eades Speyside, and it will proudly sing out, “I am large, I contain multitudes.”
On the scale of Walt Whitman poems—
The Eades Speyside Small Batch Double Malt is “Song of Myself”—long and lyrical, it’s probably got a bit more going on in there than it needs (Walt, do you really have to give us an inventory of every person you encounter or imagine in town?), but there’s so much good stuff in there, you want to believe Walt put those other bits in just to give you a break so you wouldn’t end up completely overwhelmed. Either that or he just couldn’t bring himself to edit enough. Regardless, kids will be reading it for a long, long time.
—Thanks to Pat Jones-McCray and the good folks at Virginia Distillery Company for the sample!