Open this mini and pour it into your glass. Now smell it. Yes, this is one of those “This smells horrible–you smell it!” scenarios. Come on, don’t be a wuss. Caramel flavored paint thinner, right? Cod liver oil from fish that ate nothing but oranges, no? #amIrightoramIright
But then notice how nicely it off-gasses those off gasses. It’s like a fog lifted to find a soul redeemed. And raisins. That’s right–bran and redemption: two things that go great with raisins. But then there’s also spring peeper roe on Carr’s® Table Water Crackers, or maybe it’s baby pigeon foie gras on albino Melba toast. Either way, it goes well with the decaf coffee grounds also on display there. Nose it a bit longer, and you get what we’ve termed the “honker note”: it’s a quarter-inch thick hazelnut cream glaze on a popcorn ball used to clean a euphonium. Via slingshot. Do not try this at home.
Put it to your lips. Oh, just do it! Paradoxically, it’s simultaneously buttery and watery. At first the mouth is light like the wing beats of song birds, but then you realize it’d be excellent with chocolate brownies. How do those two things go together? It’s Scottish Leader, man! Nothing is impossible with this dram!
The finish brings to mind carrots wrapped in tobacco leaves and left to warm beside a pile of glowing embers. There’s a roasted note that’s quite savory and pleasant as it parts ways with your palate. Is this the profile of a Scottish leader: off-putting at first, but somewhat endearingly enduring as he or she exits? Perhaps true of Alex Salmond, but hardly true of Robert the Bruce, so it’s doubtful that’s what they were going for here. But perhaps the right answer is that, like politics, the judgment should be left to the individual.
The Scottish Leader Blended Scotch Whisky is Nicola Sturgeon–Opinions vary on some of her key moves, but a female First Minister of Scotland whose last name is a species of fish (and is not just a close approximation, like her predecessor’s) is going to get our vote more often than not.