The Highland Park Fire opens with sherry funk pouring out of a smokestack as steadily and inexorably as the tide. It’s flowering, too, like a zinnia cloud before the atmospheric breezes blow it over the highlands, covering heath and thistle, hearth and home, bog and brush. There’s a hard-boiled egg, without sulfur, impaled by a yew arrow, being grilled over a blue-green lava lamp by Bear Grylls. There’s also burgundy stew made from snail darters, olingos, and cacomistles—yes, the EPA was notified, but the agency was powerless to intervene. We also got antique furniture rub repurposed for impala fur wax. Sleek; the fur wax helps all Bovidae run faster (reduces drag).
The mouth is HUGE! There’s a high, thorny hedgerow of piquant spices: understated anise, simmering sumac, and nascent nutmeg are among the most prominent. Notably, though, they masala-like all blend together to make something new that I want to use in pancakes, artichoke dip, and beef rib rub. We also got a looping hula-hoop made of peppermint candycanes, rolling down a David Hockney hillside.
The mouth and finish work hand-in-glove and undergo protean modulations. There’s wildfire from Game of Thrones adroitly wielded against one’s many enemies, distant flashes of dragonfire (hallucinatory?), and aloe vera grown in supersaturated cinnamon water. My throat continues to refuse to accept that my glass is empty. It makes a case for life beyond death, taste beyond sensation, and ideas independent of thinkers.
On the scale of ancient Greek philosophers–
The Highland Park Fire is Heraclitus–His words are few, but his insights are profound and redound to the present age. He has two notions that are most prominent in the canon; the first involves the ever-changing nature of time: “You can’t step into the same river twice.” The second is a more encompassing notion: That the essence of reality is, by metaphor, one thing known to mortals. “But it always was and will be: an ever-living Fire.” Right now, that sounds about right.
–Our thanks to Highland Park for the sample!