This attractively-packaged whisky calls out for careful study. I hand over my library card, hold the volume close to my chest, and then return to my carrel. Once seated, I open the pages and see that the preface mentions sherry poured into a flower-petal-lined shot glass with a grilled halloumi floater. Then musk emerges. A shrew snout flickers under leaf petals. I’m interested enough to read more, but not sure that the story will move me.
Moving to the body of the work, I find the story by turns sweet and salty. Right away, there’s the flash-bang from the high ABV. But this settles out in a genre-defying way. Ceviche brine—the kind that truly earns the name, leche de tigre—pours out. Then there is acai-berry scented car freshener, soft apricot, and betrayal. By turns volcanic and bucolic, there is even some unusual peat going on it here. As the story unfolds I’m pulled in. This is not your typical tragi-comic Bildungsroman-à-clef, that’s for sure.
The back matter is like the low thrumming of cellos whose bows are glistening with pine resin. Brine pools filled for equestrian pedicures. Rum butter. Soil. By now the genre is evident: it’s a deconstructed pastoral written as if it were a multi-course meal served at an ambitious gastropub. I check the back inside cover for the due date and smile when I see that I’ve got more time to enjoy it.
–Our thanks to Arran and ImpEx for the sample!