It’s the 25th anniversary reboot of The Dalwhonder Years, starring Dalwhinnie Mandela! On the set, rich aromas of butterscotch and over-baked, oven-baked pot brownies made from scratch waft in from backstage. (Is it the grips or the best boys?) Ghee burning in an iron sauté pan fails to trigger the smoke detector. Fire in the egg-in-a-hole! The catering service employs very small chefs who milk duckbill platypuses and also steal their eggs. The chefs combine those rare ingredients to produce romano and asparagus soufflés for the director and producers. A new-age gaffer waves around in one hand rice paper upon which secret runes have been written in squid ink, while the other clutches a smudge stick comprised of lightly-smoldering cat-o-nine tails. The carrier wave signal, as it were, for this tapestry of scents is the wisps of smoke produced at a saint’s shrine when the nuns at closing adroitly pinch the burning wicks of votive candles.
The mouth yields assertive oranges dipped in melted amber. The cumulus clouds of punkwood smoke do not overpower; rather, like a burlesque dancer, they provoke, but they do not fulfill. The setting sun of the whisky sloshing around lights the clouds to a deep umbery red, lending a festive and celebratory note to the mouthfeel. My mouth is filled with Demosthenes’ tumbled and polished pebbles and cabochons: Granite, opal, garnet, limestone, and basalt.
The finish is long, splendid, and inspired, like Jimmy Stewart’s filibuster in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. It’s subtle and not subtle at the same time, with fringe elements of acidity, burning autumnal leaves, and the tangled hopes that ride on any principled opposition to a corrupted bill. There’s a kick, too, like the G-force shock from abruptly shifting gears in your Testarossa while speeding on the Autobahn.
On the scale of gritty reimaginings of a nostalgic property that I’d like to see–
The Dalwhinnie 25 is Winnie the Pooh vs. The Heffalump–“In a world in which mysterious tracks appear in the snow and the Hundred Acre Woods has become a nightmare Black Forest, there is only one loaded bear loaded for bear that can help you.” Cue the dramatic music and bottoms up.