The way the nose of this dram opens, it’s like I’m eating a mushroom omelette stuffed with cedar shake shingles, and I’m not even worried about the effects this highly fibrous breakfast will have on me later. Sniff further, though, and there are notes of a well-blessed vestment made from corn silk hung in the ramp gallery of the Guggenheim. Adorned with raisins and raised by Adorno–to a new level. [Bill: That’s the best he can do with Adorno?] [John: Well, it’s ten times better than any of his Habermas jokes.] Give it time, and the nose diversifies as it opens up, like a mutual fund whose manager turns more cautious with each additional investor he gets. [Bill: Nothing says diversification like following an Adorno joke with a mutual fund one.]
The mouth presents floral and fruity notes, as if you chanced upon a tiny greenhouse full of African Violets in which a child spilled grape juice three years ago (and that no one ever cleaned up). Still, it’s a sherry bomb. No, it’s a daisy cutter of a sherry bomb. It’s powerful and impressive, and by that, I mean it leaves an impression, not unlike a paella with a little too much saffron on it. But you’re eating it in the shade of the Bilbao Guggenheim, so it’s a wholly positive experience, on balance.
The finish is subtle, dipping below the senses for a moment, only to emerge later like a bubble-feeding whale. But there are hunting lodge notes we didn’t get before the finish: lacquered deer antlers, wolverine pheromones, and the burnished wooden handle of a Gurkha knife. We reach for glasses of water to refortify our palettes. The finish keeps getting stronger and stronger, and doesn’t fade away, like Neil Young. Old man, look at my life, I drink a lot more great whisky than you do…
The Arran Premium Sherry Cask 1997, #217 is the Guggenheim Fellowship–Less well known than it should be, the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship has supported the work of such luminaries as B.F. Skinner, Martha Nussbaum, Margaret Atwood, Shelby Foote, Linus Pauling, and e.e. cummings. The art museums may rock, but the fellowship has a helluva history of flat rolling.
–Our thanks to Sam Filmus and ImpEx for the sample!