The Aultmore 21 opens as oddly as Waiting for Godot opens, but considerably less absurdly. We got banana pudding, cucumber slices, and juniper berries sautéed in butter–and we got our shoes off just fine. We also found notes of peanuts sitting between an 18 month-old Gouda and windshield wiper fluid made from bespoke botanicals–and we had no sense that we’d been beaten the night before. But holding it in our hands and warming it, the whole dram transforms and goes a completely positive direction (a stark contrast to having Pozzo and Lucky enter stage left): the crispy edge of a gingerbread cake, a cinnamon-ginger-nutmeg stew, and cumulonimbus clouds of spice, including super fine particulates of birch bark. Seems like someone was going for a gustatory triad within one whisky and very nearly got there.
The mouth features bright sweetness and some aquatic notes that surprise and make for a worthy–and quite distinct–second act (again, unlike Godot, which Vivian Mercier famously described as “…a play in which nothing happens, twice”). The mouth is simple in a very welcome way. It’s a C++ programmer from a third-tier computer science program, but with a winning personality, arriving at MIT. But my goodness, it’s bready, fulsome, and flat delivers the spice. [John, tugging at his suspenders: Thrice the spice of country mice!] Ummm…sure, John. Anyway, imagine a succulent marshmallow made of sugar and spice and everything nice, and then turn that marshmallow into a pillow and take an amazing nap on it–and then you’ve got a good read on the mouth on this whisky.
The finish continues the mouth, but as if it were a long tracking shot that just keeps rolling, and with orange-scented pencil lead shavings mixed in there. We sit with it, and mesmerized by how long and intense it is. It lingers so long that Godot has shown up, only to find that Vladimir and Estragon are long gone. And unlike the disturbingly unsatisfying ending of Waiting for Godot, this finish is simply well-being inducing. Angel halos are coming up from our stomachs in lusty eructations of tangerine bliss. Cherubs could only dream of an aftertaste like this.
On the scale of characters in Waiting for Godot who actually show up–
The Aultmore 21 Year Old is the boy–He’s seen Godot (he herds goats for him), but unlike his boss, the boy definitely shows up–twice, even if there is some uncertainty whether he’s the same boy in Act 1 as in Act 2. Despite the fact that he reveals a few details about Godot (he says that Godot doesn’t actually do anything), he leaves us with lingering questions that go on and on well past the end of the play.
–Our thanks to Aultmore for the sample!