John is well-known in the Malt Cave as being the Stranaman; please consider the following review my application to join the Stranaclan:
The nose has some cellulose funk like curlicue maplewood shavings from a (small) log being Stranahand-turned on the lathe. The goal is to produce a bore for a custom-made cheese drill to aerate large wheels of semi-soft cheese and impart a pleasant, savory woodland aroma. We also got a custom-curated sandalwood swizzle stick that had been used only by a little old lady shaman to stir pure alpine lake water on Sundays. Okay, fine, she also used it on love potions designed to allow those hurt in spirit to blossom and find soulmates. (I didn’t want to bring that in, because then you might begin to think that she was a figment of my imagination.)
The mouth is sweet and savory at the same time, like a gastronomique experiment gone tremendously right. It’s open and bright, sparkly and tangy like lime ceviche scallops that were redundantly grilled for good measure. There are high tannin crystalline structures, as if oak sap—not a real thing, okay?—hardened amber-like around an opium poppy bur and dried in an unmistakably stellate pattern. It’s neither oily nor watery, but there’s a tremendous suggestion of water-soluble resin having dissolved, reformed, then dissolved again in an alpine lake. It’s big and round and orotund, like Orson Welles’ voice.
On the finish, Zeus and Bacchus are shooting lightning bolts and love arrows at my tongue. Are they angry with me? In love? It’s confusing, but a source of abiding pride to be chosen by the Greek gods for special treatment. There is, it seems, a real effort to downplay the grain and instead focus on the wood and maturation processes. So, like Harrelson, Hayes, Wilson, and Woodpecker, there’s wood without the Woody, and like Jackson, Turkle, Lansing, and Baby, there’s the hint of sherry without the Sherry. (We are aware these Sherries are obscure.) There’s also a caramel paddleboat steering a steady course down a lazy molasses river.
On the scale of mountain- and rock-climbing pioneers–
The Stranahan’s Diamond Peak is Yvon Chouinard—He led incredible first ascents all over the world, created and formalized a new way of surging to the top of peaks (mentally prepare for everything but take nothing but climbing gear) and was an original Hard Man who was Good to Find. Oh yeah, and he founded the Patagonia and Black Diamond outdoor equipment companies.
–Our thanks to Stranahan’s for the sample!