The Oban 21 Year 2013 Limited Edition’s nose is off the charts. By that I mean, it’s so distinctive, so different than anything we expected; really, so unique that it was like drinking whisky with Sophocles, Sigmund Freud, and the Virgin Mary. There’d be lots to talk about, not all of it would make sense, but it would be make for a great story. (Pity that no one would believe you.) The nose is deep, oracular, and speaks an oratory orotundly to the olfactory senses.
[John: “orotund” isn’t really an adverb, is it?]
There’s a doctor’s office furnished in burnt oak, carbolic acid etchings, including the infamous Pornocrates by master etcher Félicien Rops, and no, it’s not Dr. Nick’s office. In the office is a canopic jar which when timorously opened yields not organs, but rather oranges: Celestial clementines, to be exact, set originally in the tomb to generously endow an orchard in the afterlife. Curiously, the doctor also has left several pairs of Bruno Magli shoes scattered about the office. A test? A statement of conspicuous wealth? An odd fetish? I find I don’t care; I’m looking forward to my gastroenterologist looking inside me; I’m a confirmed omphaloskeptic. The afflatus strikes me and I reach for the blesséd sandalwood nosehair tweezers: My nose is ennobled and I recall with pleasure the last time I used them: When I was at the day spa having body work done by twin masseuses, Hans and Franz, and then afterwards went to a student art show, replete with fruit, at an old easel and smock warehouse.
The mouth is tangy, creamy, zesty; it’s like having a zaftig body without feeling in any way self-conscious, nor constrained, nor really even the slightest tug of gravity. It is big, Big, BIG: Large and in charge. I submit to its ministrations as it blows me off the new chart I was constructing to plot the manifold sensations. It’s like being in a sensory deprivation tank on opposite day: I am flooded with the long high note from Maynard Ferguson’s cover of “Gonna Fly Now.” It’s piercing and goes on for an eternity, violating the first law of thermodynamics: Order is not dissipating; it’s congealing, birthing new suns and galaxies.
The finish consumes my mouth from the outside in—more of that acid used for etching?—and goes on and on and on. It’s bottled Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. It’s a smooth segue from the mouth. Indeed, it’s hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. Perhaps it has transformed my gullet and palate into a gullate or pullet. Cluck! Cluck! Cluck! It’d be fascinating to learn what Ken Kesey would have written about this had he had a dram during an Electric Kool-Aid Etching Acid Test—this could power the small LED staked-in lanterns lining the walk to a big-top, and run your watch and phablet, too. There’s honey made by choosy bees gathering nectar only from Prunus spinosa, blackthorn sloe. And no, John, I don’t mean Baruch Spinoza. It defines a new cosmos.
The Oban 21 Year 2013 Limited Edition is the one-two punch of the compass and the compass rose–The compass tells us where to go and the compass rose tells us how to make maps and read the maps to chart our passages from terra firma to terra incognita. They’re canopic jars for the mind and you’ll need them when you return from your glass of the 2013 Oban 21.
–Our thanks to Hunter PR and Diageo for the sample!