The Aberfeldy 16 Madeira Cask nose opens with the corner of a Fig Newton dipped, shyly, in a birdbath of sherry. A pair of woolen mouse trousers, drying by the fire. (These twee insights are brought to you by John, who’s been babbling on of late about fairy circles and dancing grouse.) Arabesques of pipe smoke curl out the door from a ladies parlor. There’s crabapple, minus the apple, but not exactly with the crab, either. We also got farm flowers adorning a fence painted with urethane. Stephen detected heritage Vermont apple cider aged in an heirloom maple butter churn. I found the slate that Abraham Lincoln wrote on by the fire in his childhood cabin; there’s a bitter minerality like that to be found in a fine Pouilly-Fuissé wine.
The mouth is like licking salt spray from a large kiwi popsicle; a wonderful savory-sweet mash-up that jangles the perceptual frame until the whole world looks like the axis has tilted egregiously, suddenly. There’s also an apple growing—and being crushed—in the heart of an apple tree, and it’s all so very, very dark, like a warm summer night with the moon just beginning to crest the horizon, and the promise of love hanging in the air with the ripe pomegranates and figs.
The finish sparkles with threads of spun gold studded with candied peppercorns, all woven like a nervous system throughout a gingerbread scone, minus the ginger, but more than the bread. It spreads like an Amish quilt spun from vetiver and flax, dyed with the good intentions of the 16yo daughter who milks the cows, which is to say, although there are Pennsylvania Dutch Hex signs sewn into the quilt, none of the panels are sinfully scarlet. There’s also browned butter, spreading across a Lodge cast iron frying pan, in which 6.5 of KFC’s 11 secret spices are gently perfuming my adenoids. (Which 6.5 of the spices? We can’t tell, because it’s a secret.) At the very end, after all of this, comes a fine molasses mist, tinged with orange oil, infusing gently the tiny nooks and cracks, and crannies and crevices of my throat.
On the scale of United States Presidents–
The Aberfeldy 16 Madeira Cask Finish Travel Retail Exclusive is the 16th POTUS, Abraham Lincoln–He was a failure as a businessman, a failure as a lawyer, a failure as a local politician, but his willpower, belief in himself, and most especially belief in the constitutional freedoms for all people molded him into the greatest US president. I was going to go with the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, but that’s the one that granted the Federal Government the right to impose an income tax. Greatest. President. Ever. —or— Income Tax? The choice was clear!
–Our thanks to Aberfeldy for the sample!