The first whiff is a classic aroma from a Mother’s Day breakfast made by an 8-year old daughter who is in the “magical glitter rainbow unicorn” developmental phase you read about in all of the books. All of which is to say, this noses up with slightly burnt oat scone with jelly bean eyes in a marshmallow étagère. If that doesn’t snap into focus for you, think of it as a S’more made without chocolate. Better? Now set the s’more down on a serving plate next to roast yellow peppers in agave syrup; cucumber, Malabar peppercorn, and key lime salad; and endive lettuce leaves dragged through Norma Desmond’s ashtray.
All of it puts me in the mood to glide down the staircase for the dramatic close-up. What I find on the mouth is kelly green pepper jelly next to the most glorious roast lamb. So syrupy and savory. You know that part of the crust of a steak that you cook directly on the coals, so that the meat is burnt on the outside but perfect inside? That same atavism comes with each sip, just as it would with a breakfast of daylily nectar, conch shell ambrosia, and whale bone marrow.
The finish finds me holding on in the vain hope that it will never end. All of the delicious intensity of the mouth is dialed up another three notches. It’s like clicking on a reverb pedal, with massive Marshall stacks casting long shadows across a vast stage. Within this gustatory, synaesthetic din we hear angry angels accusing each other of impure thoughts about the pleasures available on Earth. “No I wasn’t; you were!” “Not me! It was you!” In such a concert hall, any Roman pagan would renounce everything and become monotheistic.
On the scale of roles played by Gloria Swanson–
The Caol Ila 10 is “Swifty Forbes” (Prodigal Daughters)–It’s too vibrant and au courant to be the venerated Norma Desmond (Sunset Boulevard), and more substantive and multi-dimensional than Herself (Airport 1975). The daughter of a wealthy locomotive owner, Swifty and her sister, Marjory, leave home to become bohemians in Greenwich Village. The same cheek and vitality can be found here in spades.