The color is really dark, like that shaman’s concoction of rooibos and deer blood I once sold at a Renaissance festival as a love philter. Until I was run off by a few blaggards brandishing roasted turkey legs. I see on the label that it’s the port barrel aging that gives that delightful, liver juice hue, and that helps bring my focus to the nose.
Sandalwood soap-on-a-rope fallen into the pocket of an Egyptian terry cloth bathrobe. Butter heated to the point where it bursts into flames, like potassium in water, or fruit in a Japanese video game. We’ve reached the apogee of ghee! Cinnamon. Apple crisp without the apple and a last-minute substitution of a crust of latticed bacon strips dredged in chickpea flour.
The mouth is like a starter pistol fired inside the bell of a euphonium. Wow! It’s really tannic, with a strong winey flavor, but dry dry dry like a simoom blowing across your patio and desiccating your platter of tagine-cooked eggplant. It’s the liquid used in the world’s strongest cough drop. You suck on two of them in the morning after a really long choir practice at the Vatican, followed by an even longer night where the hours were marked by an equal number of whiskey sours and missed opportunities.
The finish clarifies one feature of the mouth, namely a daub of ethically-sourced polyurethane on the “handle” of a skate tool in the permanent collection at MoMA. Banyan tree distillate used as viola bow resin. If the finish is not balanced, it’s no less winning on that account. It’s rough hewn, idiosyncratic. Like a beauty mark, it’s the sort of thing that gives character to the whole of which it’s a part, setting it off in the right way. Think Hepburn’s neck, Ben Affleck’s cleft chin, or Kim Kardashian’s [pick the cleft]. The wise person might ask, what is the sound of one hand clapping? Well, I’m more curious about the sound of two raccoons in a burlap sack. If you agree, then this is the whiskey for you. Drink it from a copper flask with a birch topper and talk with your friends about building a deck.
The Angel’s Envy Cask Strength 2014 Limited Edition is St. Gregory (540-604)–Reckoned by Calvin to be the last good pope, he was inspired to spread Christianity to England when he was shown young Anglo-Saxon boys in the Roman slave market. Non Angli, sed angeli, he said. “Not Anglos, but angels.”
–Our thanks to Wes Henderson and Angel’s Envy for the sample!