The fog clears in the morning after the battle, not quite taking the remaining smoke with it. But it leaves behind a crisp, clean landscape. Pork shoulder cooks on a griddle on the British side, and a Sauternes-soaked pear poaches on the French side. A rusty can filled with rosewater sloshes on its way to the General (he’s a dandy). The woods give off a brisk pine scent, and at the edges, it smells almost like turpentine soaking rough-hewn wood in a hastily fashioned bulwark. I love the smell of a Napoleonic War in the morning!
What follows is beautiful, but incendiary. It’s coordinated cannon and artillery fire, as if the battefield took a toke off of a volcano. But as the temperature evens out, a calm, a purity even, announces itself, a palpable taste of something heavenly. The brass has water sent to tame things, leaving a spicy sensation where once there had been intense heat.
As it all finishes, the scene induces merriment, despite the sensation of resonant heat billowing all around. It could be akin to the relief and joy the soldiers felt when they knew the battle was finally over and they had survived. Or it could be like Wellington knowing that he has his opponent’s army right where he wants it–and that he’ll have a beef dish named after him as a result. But really, it’s more like feeling the burn of making a pact with the Devil (perhaps most acute on the handshake), but when one knows one’s already beaten him, having taken him by a ruse so fiendish, he’ll curse you forever as you peer down from your lofty perch above. It’s that satisfying and exhilarating at the same time.
On the scale of Faustian deals that actually worked out–
The Lagavulin 12 Year 2016 Limited Edition is the Charlie Daniels’ Band’s version of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”–If you happen to be in the right place at the right time, like we were when we received this whisky sample, you too can stand your ground against some crazy heat and come out a big winner.
–Our thanks to Diageo for the sample!