The nose on the Dumbarton 31 Year 1987 Hunter Laing’s The Sovereign opens with a few discordant spice notes that sneakily end up harmonizing wonderfully, weirdly, like a partial reunion on MTV Unplugged of the Spice Girls. So creamy! So lemonade-sweet! We got also mango skins wrapped around pears that had been stewed in Kölsch bier…or tiger blood! I mean, I expect any sophisticated drinker would’ve picked up all that, but it takes the years of rigorous tasting to get also African violets and the thick, thick hairy leaves of succulents.
Continuing the jungle theme, the mouth is lush, woody, and tropical; an old climax forest whose tree-sap was historically used as a kind of cologne by the indigenous ocelots and okapis who dwelt in it. It felt somehow superficially gendered, much like Stephen and his wife’s travel mugs (cobalt and chartreuse, respectively). Also, I got a sensation tantamount, I’d imagine, to that of Professor Matthew Goodwin (2017), who promised to eat his own Brexit book, should Labour under Corbyn poll at least 38%. Labour ended up getting 40%, and Goodwin literally ate his own words (Originally, I’d said that that note was “Akin to [redacted], thus [redacted], and culminating in [redacted] at a performance of the Nutcracker Suite!” but John wouldn’t let it be published, saying that it reminded him too much of his childhood.) Stephen got cactus flesh (Rhipsalis paradoxa) stewed in black tea (Camellia sinensis), because of course he did.
The finish darts away, like a neon tetra in a lonely teenager’s fish tank, leading him to softly croon to himself, “This is the dawning of the age of Aquarium, the age of Aquarium,” and laughing softly at his folly, as he was reminded by it of how the brightly-clad young women on the dance floor darted away from him equally quickly. It’s tangy and tingly, with long esophageal swirls, made from starfish spiraling down toward my stomach. It rumbles sub-seismically on the tongue, while simultaneously clanging long, bright, and high, like a perky teakettle that learned it just got a supporting part in an upcoming Pixar movie. Finally, there was also pineapple parings, sweet, ripe, and juicy on the inside, but a little bit prickly from the pointy bits on the outside.
On the scale of cities that were once capitols for world-spanning empires, and are still amongst the jewels of humanity–
The Dumbarton 31 Year 1987 Hunter Laing’s The Sovereign bottled for The Whisky Barrel is La Serenissima, the timeless city of Venice–No city feels so old, yet so eternally renewed, so written completely by the past, yet so bubbling with future possibilities, so very cosmopolitan, yet so quintessentially Italian.
–Our thanks to The Whisky Barrel for the sample!