On the open, the nose is really funky: essence of Vienna Sausage tang, machine oil, slug trails, and masticated banana peel pinched from the maw of a yawning rhinoceros. Give it a second, and the Vienna Sausage note shifts more toward a rubber basketball bounced on your head by a bully. Give it a minute or two, and it goes floral: the bully is trying to force you to “eat them flowers.” Actually, it’s almost funereal: it’s Baudelaire’s lesser known Fleurs du morts. Then cherry blossom notes start to peek out and draw you in, not unlike a Scandinavian art film that starts out dull and awful and eventually pulls you in. It’s Bergmanesque, but without the beret–and maybe a little of the genius.
The mouth is just flat delicious. Not flat in terms of flavor, flat as in “flat-out” delicious. Imagine a boysenberry tart covered in treacle crafted in Julia Child’s test kitchen. Now imagine caramelized caramel that’s been caramelized back onto itself to create a caramel within a caramel within a caramel–and then placing a pristine, unwrapped caramel inside of a guy’s mind. And that guy is Sir Toby Moore of Carmel (California). It’s Inception, but on a scale you could have never imagined–nor ever salivated enough to handle.
There’s nice spice on the finish, or rolling hillocks of spice as Bill would say, even though that’s really a word that should be reserved for use by hobbits. Imagine a hookah through which someone has smoked cardamom tobacco. Now imagine living in that hookah like you’re the Turkish outcast cousin in I Dream of Jeannie. Now imagine a warming sense of satisfaction, and you’re right on it.
The Chieftain’s Tobermory 18 Year 1995 is SPAM–Don’t get me wrong, there’s something a little weird about it at first, but once you have it out of the can and frying in a cast iron skillet, you’ll be quite happy. And it’s worlds better than Vienna Sausages. And light years better than Potted Meat.
–Our thanks to Sam Filmus and ImpEx for the sample!