In my dream, a friendly genie emerges from a brass lamp carrying a thyrsus (he’s really into Euripides) and pours out a glass of this wine-dark dram. The nose is circus peanuts but I mean this literally: peanuts arranged by two siblings into a circus tableau. Right here is a train of elephants on their haunches, over there a tiger held in place with a chair and whip. Straw covering a threshing floor. Half an eggplant hollowed out to make a ship for roasted chestnuts, slathered with demi-glace. Smoke hangs in the air like a threat of violence.
The mouth is a drying, even zapping, desiccant. The tang of port echoes like a gong. Is there perhaps some bourbon barrel aging in there to account for some vanilla, or the caramel apple brine? Before I can find out, the peat smoke steals over me. Into my palm is pressed smoke-black slivers of charcoal used as wafers at a Satanic communion table. I get cross at myself for crossing myself.
The finish is a case study in refinement, as if the peat particles were isolated with the help of a particle accelerator and a filter made of the metaphorical veils lifted from the eyes of children. Earthy but not dirty, like a citizen farmer. But also high and patrician, like a mid-level Episcopalian functionary. All of this is to say there is no iodine, bandage, or hashish resin here, just delicious whisky.
The Benriach 17 Year Old Solstice is Sun Ra–The man made music “rushing forth like a fiery law.”