I’m in steerage in a very musty ship. But the must is of a species I’ve never encountered before. Rather than typical moldy, perhaps even fungal, notes, it produces an odor more like a root vegetable held in an untanned leather portfolio, or perhaps a terrarium holding a clutch of shrews. Actually, the latter might be what’s in that large crate next to my bunk. Maybe it’s just the markings on the crate, but the note is pretty, sophisticated, and subtle. I imagine this is what it smells like to walk into a first class cabin on this ship, but one with dried out flowers and in the moment before the steward opens the double doors to the outside private deck in the morning.
I find a funny taste in my mouth, one that is both bright and sour, and simultaneously tangy and chewy. Did Joe steal those honeysuckles made into crystals he found in the crate next to his sleeping hammock and slip them into my mouth while I was sleeping? If so, he picked the most velvety, resinous, Sherry-rounded ones he could find. The taste develops into something more spectacular, like the dream I had last night amid the big storm through which we passed. It featured lemmings with fine leather belts with velvet scabbards affixed to them. These scabbards were for sheathing their tiny poignards, of course, but alas, their battlefield lay just under a cliff’s edge. Still, as I said, the scene was spectacular, if only for the spectacle of it all.
Later in the morning, someone sighted land. But finishing the journey seemed a whole journey unto itself: long and circuitous, but coruscating all along, as the coastline shimmered in the summer sun. It almost seemed as though the ship itself tergiversated about pulling into port, but to those of us along for the lovely ride, it mattered neither jot nor tittle, as we were content to bask in its muted glory.
The Chieftain’s Fettercairn 19 Year Old Oloroso Sherry is Dead Calm–A taut thriller that never achieved wide acclaim, but deserved it, the film starred Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman alongside Titanic supporting actor Billy Zane (for those of you expecting an explicit Titanic reference here).
–Our thanks to Chieftain’s and ImpEx for the sample!