The nose on the Pittyvaich 29 Year Old 2019 Special Release cold opens like a classic Saturday Night Live skit. (It’s a cold open, because the Malt Cave is very cold.) At first, there weirdly addictive airplane model glue, akin to the compelling aromas of gasoline and mimeographic machine fluid. Those aren’t everyone’s jams, but they speak to a primal part of my hindbrain. Once warmed by the hand, a deep and fruity djinn, named “Not Gene,” bubbles out my Glencairn™ in a haze of apricots simmering in ghee, stirred (and bestirred) by a papaya spear tipped with an overripe mango point, while the cavalcade of pluots, braised and praised by the sandalwood peanut-vendors, watch in pre-ghee glee. (They also are destined for the fruit simmer.) John got muted celery candied in simple syrup and turned bright red when asked for the story of where he had tasted such a delicacy for his apt comparison. I thought it more of a celeriac note, but I was rooting for him.
The mouth has an angelic evocation of heavenly fruits spilling from a cornucopia set on an alder table in an alderman’s stable. There’s an inflection of reediness, a reflection of an English horn sonata, a confection of poppy seed muffins, and a deflection of all care and concern—even the lack of worrying as to how I’ll spend my three wishes with Not Gene. It’s surprisingly light for such a venerable dram and the perfect balance of the wood note brings to mind the Goddess of Justice, perhaps a wee bit tipsy and swaying back and forth, even the blindfold slipping a tad, her peeking at my glass, but the Scales staying forever in perfect equilibrium.
The finish is an all-over tongue tingle, as if I were self-prescribing and administering physical therapy from the electrodes on a TENS machine (yes, that’d be Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) on my tongue, naturally dialed to 11. I feel like…Shakira?…Nope, more like a goat.
Actually, I feel most like I’m mildly lost in a bamboo forest during an electrical storm. Peaceful amidst the chaos, Not Gene watching over me, wondering what my final wish will be.
On the scale of the most awesome third wishes to ask from a djinn–
The Pittyvaich 29 Year Old 2019 Special Release is NOT asking for an infinite number of wishes—c’mon, no djinn will grant that—nor is it to free the djinn (despite what Aladdin would have you believe). Nope, it’s for a never-ending fountain of Diageo Special Releases, and one of the highest-arcing, spouting from the marble dolphin’s blowhole, would be the Pittyvaich 29. I’d drink from the fountain, I’d bathe in it, and over time, become one with it: Straight from the marble blowhole into the marble Malt Impostor’s marble mouth. Now that’s a vision of eternity!
–Our thanks to Diageo for the sample!