A gardenia laurel placed in a Big Green Egg. A Tour de France stage winner, clad entirely in merino wool “throw back” cycling attire, after peddling 200 km on a 39ºC day. A cedar Adirondack chair that Colonel Sanders once sat in and, rumor has it, sketched out plans for the Double Down. A garish ceremonial peace pipe smoked by Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan.
On the mouth there’s the surprising taste of dill, as when you discover that your turkey sandwich rubbed shoulders with a pickle cut lengthwise. If the nose is light, the mouth is stronger. I want to say it’s feisty but smooth, and perhaps a little boozy up front. It’s like a well-oiled body builder, gleaming with a sheen of rosemary-infused tea tree oil, right after the final pose-down. He’s eager to drink a series white Russians since (1) he failed to place and he (2) doesn’t have to worry about his weight for a while. Overall, the mouth is where the real strength of this dram reside. There’s depth, there’s range, there’s the incredulity of “you sunk my battleship.”
The finish is a weather balloon never mistaken for a UFO. Not once. It is now neglected, anchored to a large drum by a short tether. The guy who inflated it spat a peppermint stick into it before sealing it. I have the memorable sensation of having chewed pine tar gum, a performance-enhancing technique not yet banned in the community loogie-spitting contest. My failure to place has me thinking about white Russians.
The Wemyss “A Matter of Smoke” 15 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky is the White Russian—David Wondrich, the drinks correspondent for Esquire says it best: “When I first encountered it in the 1970s, the White Russian was something real alcoholics drank, or beginners.” Now, ordering the drink is “the mark of the hipster,” he writes in The New York Times. Now go get yourself some Wemyss.
–Our thanks to Karen Stewart and Wemyss for the sample!