Cladach, we are told, means shoreline. And just like that, my imagination transports me to a rocky coast where I’m sipping mango nectar and pitching limes into a raging bonfire. Yes, such is the big, fruity, and juicy offering this whisky makes to my nostrils. I think it’s the sort of chewing gum that Dr. Moreau would develop: dark, weird, and cool. It’s a chewing gum blended with embers from the Library of Alexandria, so one chooses not to blow bubbles. The snap of the flames sounds to my ears like the flapping of leathery wings. Portents abound.
The mouth is high and hot. If it’s a bit one-dimensional, then the same could be said of an insulated chimney standing athwart Thor’s metal forge. For what we are getting a brilliant smokecicle. It’s got the integration of crystal: tightly packed and dense, like a diamond, but not murky like an opal. With some whiskies, the dram can be at cross purposes to your cigar. Here, by contrast, we have a true collaborator. You could even drink it without the cigar and feel you’d had one.
The finish is so much longer than I had predicted. For a NAS, it is quite remarkable. If I were NAStrodamus, I’d predict you’ll still be tasting this well into the future. [Bill: Wow, that’s awful! Why do I love it so much?] And what do we find? As the smoke blows away like morning mist in the bright sunlight, there is persimmon without the puckering tannins. It’s the work of Dr. Moreau, I’m sure of it. This time with a CRISPr machine and a well-lighted laboratory.
On the scale of facts about The Island of Doctor Moreau—
The Cladach 2018 Special Release is the fact that its author, H.G. Wells, referred to it as “an exercise in youthful blasphemy.”–But I prefer to think that no words can blaspheme that are uttered far from the ears of the gods.
–Our thanks to Diageo for the sample!