It’s such a commonplace adage that patience is a virtue; we heard it incessantly while young, betimes while less young, and now admonish others with it when they’re tense, jangly, impetuous, and *er* impatient. This dram rewards patience: Let me explain.
Waiting 19 years, the DJ mixmasters Gordon and “MC”Phail showed patience. But there’s more.
The balanced nose sings of Braeburn apples candied in lollipops wielded by the Royal Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. (Not to be confused with Perry the Gay Detective from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, an excellent movie starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Val Kilmer.) It’s like a Charms Blow Pop (very tempting to go all maltgonewild.com on this puppy): How many licks does it take to get to the bottom of a Glencairn glass? (Unfortunately, the previous line was not a paid endorsement.) There are prize-winning zinnias, too, on the nose, lovingly cultivated by a transplanted Hausfrau who still muses about cuckoo clocks, Wagner operas, and wienerschnitzel. (Another maltgonewild.com opportunity gone by. Patience.)
On the mouth, children’s cough medicine, but the cough medicine especially blended by a minimalist molecular chef obsessed by Bing cherries, hickory twigs, and Christina Hendricks. Chewy and luscious like marzipan bites dipped in Kirsch. Or Kir. Or Deborah Kerr, circa 1945. Or currant syrup on cinnamon hoecakes. (“Prose before hoecakes,” as we often say in the Malt Cave.) If one were blessed with 25-year old cocktail-swilling nieces or cousins who eschewed whisky, this would be their portal; their Stargate; their entry-level door into the world of whisky.
The finish brings to mind a non-spiky tumbleweed amblin’ and ramblin’ in the glottal zone of the esophagus, lingering like a country house guest in a P. G. Wodehouse novel. There are wine tannins, lurking and plotting, like an oaken grapey terroir-ist cell. Flavors bump and jostle for attention like stones in a lapidary tumbler. Or laboratory tumblr pictures posted by the aforementioned minimalist molecular chef.
And this dram rewards patience. Continuing to proboscis the dram is like looking ever deeper into the heart of a ruby and seeing satyrs and nymphs cavorting in a Bacchic frenzy. The tastes emerge while the balance asserts its dominance. It’s a whiskywine! It’s a shandy for grownups! It’s the beloved, but illegitimate, love-child of the upstairs whisky and downcellar wine!
The 1993 Ledaig Private Collection 19 year old St. Joseph finish is the Toyota Prius–At first you think, “nice lines, odd little wheels.” Then, you begin to think, “Outstanding engineering, nice extras built in, and really lovely lines.” Finally, your mind just fills with admiration and dazzlement at all of the above and that that little puppy pulls 51 miles per gallon. And the plural is “Prii” : ‘Nuff said.
Our thanks to Chris Reisbeck and Gordon & MacPhail for the sample!