The nose gives me the sense of cherry popsicles so powerful that it recalls the back porch and the hot night on which I last ate one. Cicadas buzzed with an urgency fueled by humidity, the Spanish moss hung low from the branches diffusing the moonlight into a gothic mist, and fireflies flew by as if bobbing in an calm ocean, emitting their sallow lights like signal flares shot not in panic but for sport. A jar of camphor quickly opened and just as quickly closed. Sterno® canisters stuffed with honeycomb whose unionized bees pollinated only cherry orchards and never stung the longshoremen. The nose gives only a hint of the dark, briny presence that haunts this dram like vetiver and red panda musk base notes in a curious Austrian cologne. There is something subtle going on, but subtle and yet restive, and then, as I am about to bring it to my lips–
–“Ooh, yeeeaaaah,” Stephen affirms with a groan so sexual I am embarrassed for his girlfriend (and she’s pretty). Imagine salt and sweet are uneasy friends but then go out for the night. After equal numbers of Cuttyhunk oysters and Long Island ice teas there they are, pogoing like punk fans at a Kimono Draggin’ concert. As pleasant in the mouth as a fiercely articulated “f-ck you” in a traffic jam. The finish is a little cloying; it’s like I’ve gotten dental work done and the cotton balls are still stuffed into my jowls. They are, I later learn when the secret camera is pointed out to me, Marlon Brando’s cotton balls. By which I mean they are the very cotton balls stuffed into his jowls on the day of shooting The Godfather when the catering truck drove away with them, balled up in a napkin with a half-eaten club sandwich. Top-of-the-line menthol cigarettes steeped in peppermint schnapps and PCP, smoked through a hippopotamus-tooth cigarette holder hollowed out by a diamond-tipped drill bit.
The Ardbeg Day 2012 Feis Ile Bottling is Luca Brasi saying, “Don Corleone, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your daughter… ‘s wedding… on the day of your daughter’s wedding. And I hope their first child be a masculine child. I pledge my ever-ending loyalty.”–Stephen’s reaction notwithstanding, this whisky is most assuredly a masculine child.
Our thanks to Joshua Hatton for the sample and for finding Stephen a bottle!