The Antiquary 21
50 ml reliquary
The nose of the Antiquary 21 is delicate and understated, almost as if a lemon bar with powdered sugar had had the lemon, the sugar, and the bar removed. What would be left? The form of dessert pastry? Some underlying synaptic firing evoking a 30-page gush of reminiscenses à la À la Recherche du Temps Perdu? It’s fossilized beeswax buried in the Valley of the Kings, stumbled across in a Cairo bazaar by a drunken, stumbling 19th-century whaler and master scrimshaw artist, who when sober carved it into a miniature Easter Island moai, which was then lacquered with lacquer, polished with furniture polish, and eventually collected by the American Folk Art Museum, where it sat in the 19th-century-scrimshaw-art wing until it was “liberated” by my minature friend Hubert, who was able to crawl in a viaduct at night, and then abscond with the moai without tripping any alarms, en route to taking it to his miniature balsa wood sloop fitted with waxed string rigging—but not dental floss—and parchment paper sails, carrying—besides the stolen moai—a shipment of exotic flowers destined for a parfumerie in Paris, leaving behind only the night sky washed of the 4th of July fireworks with the quiet pop pip pop of the bright, bright stars, far from the city lights, illuminating my imagination. (That was my best Proust, although maybe it went Joyce at the end.)
On the mouth, it’s Alice chasing the White Rabbit through the lime tree woods before ducking down the rabbit hole, a sublime experience. It’s a big kick in the mouth after such a gentle tweaking of the nose—smooth as a Barbirusa tusk naturally sanded by the peristalic motions of the oceans. It’s savory, like foccacia, and it hangs around the tongue like a toupée glued to a politician’s chrome dome to mock the whimsical depradations of the wayward winds. We get white grapes, skinned to emulate the texture of goat eyeballs. (And when I say “we,” I mean “John.” Dude’s got some problems.) Papaya pekoe tea. Bananas carmelized when they slid off the copper frying pan into the slippery elmwood fire, crispy and crunchy. More lime juice, this time strained through limestone by Hubert, who is quite the multi-talented fragment of my imagination. Cheesecloth moving to brine, like vegetarian oysters on the half-shellacking.
The finish stays at the tip of the tongue—a surprising development due to stealth flavor technology developed by the military to flash-bang Swedes into submission. Stephen found that water attenuated the nose, mouth, and finish, rendering them “watery.” (Good call, Stephen. Bravo, mio caro, bravo.)
The Antiquary 21 is—wait, what? He didn’t carve any? Well then.
–On the scale of memorable historical events that I wish I had initiated–
The Antiquary 21 is the 21 bomb salute, set off by the Danish resistance group Holger Danske in the Ørstedparken in 1944 during the Nazi occupation to commemorate the birth of Princess Benedikte–I think that sums it up!
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