The nose, as Alice might have said, is curiouser and curiouser. Is it Vienna sausage brine poured from vintage tins? Or fresh aquafaba from campfire-boiled field peas? One thing I’m sure of is that there are black olives wrapped in dates boiling in tangelo nectar. If you pointed out that there were lemons macerated in a bathtub, I would not be one to disagree.
The mouth unmistakably cries out “drink me.” There’s something deep and thick here. Is it seawater drawn from the Mariana trench by the world’s most impressive elephant? Or perhaps date honey ringed with argan seed oil on an earthenware plate? Imagine the taste of one teaspoon drawn from shallow cave puddles rippling with eyeless newts as they spawn in the darkness of a thousand dark nights, and you get close to what is offered here.
The finish gives me time to taste of many things, of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings. You see it unfolds with the persistence of a plate of Philadelphia pepperpot to which cassareep is added for authenticity. This will fire away for a nice long time. It is not a bold, muscular finish, but very much of a piece with the mouth in its richness and depth.
On the scale of Lewis Carroll’s syzygies—
The Black Bull 21 Year Old is “Demand a Cormorant.”–Sure, one can move from the first word to the last as follows: Demand (eman); Gentleman (gent); Tangent (ange); Orange (oran); Cormorant. But I simply find myself wanting one of those oil-black aquatic birds after I drink this dram. In fact, I insist that I shall have one.