My initial inspection of this spun-gold liquid is like that of a single kaleidoscope image. I get at first a preposterous array of sensations that I strain to make sense of: buttercups, lilies, candied limes lightly parboiled, pulp-free orange juice, newspaper sheets stuffed into wet brogues, and grilled swordfish. But as I continue to nose it, the twist of the kaleidoscope reassembles these disparate elements into something that has narrative coherence. And with this comes understanding. I’m in a pine forest where every limb is bent downward, heavy with ripe citrus of every sort. Iridescent insects now come into focus, until I see them for what they are: shiny fairies with cloverstem-woven work belts. Luscious juices are drawn out through maple tree taps, but they are more than the fairy barrels can hold. This explains the large halos of soaked forest detritus appearing near each tree. The glistening patches—full of the savory and sweet—are what I find in my glass. Holly berries, bark chips, and untold secrets bound by the jute-strings of upheld promises.
The mouth is the kind of thing that elicits the muttered imprecations of fraud. I feel that such a thing as this, a thing that tastes so good, cannot be right; I feel that something has adulterated the spirit; I look for chains of custody that lie broken and scattered on a marble courtroom floor. But this, of course, is nothing more than the crust of my own curmudgeonliness. And if I’m honest with myself, I know that I don’t want it sloughed off. For then I will be forced to consider new patterns of behavior, or ride along fresh trains of thought, or entertain new moods and emotions—and all of that is daunting. It is no wonder that baptism would come to symbolize not just cleanliness in preparation for prayer or ritual, as it had in its pre-Christian roots, but an ontological reworking of ourselves into something reborn, something new. Which is to say, we taste what is unassailably delicious and pronounce it absolute crackerjack. Spectacular. Caramel lollipop melting down the esophagus. The sound of the doorknob turning as your secret lover enters your night-black room. The further sound of sheets being drawn down on the other side of the bed. Then the thudding of your heart.
The finish is brief, as these things go. “Nothing gold can stay,” after all. Or maybe it is we who are transfigured in this rite, with metaphysical chocks set down so that space and time are held firm. New realities are entered into, and the old are discarded like work clothes that still hold our body heat, but briefly. Our forest fairies are singing–I forgot to tell you that–though it’s rather the case that I have new ears to hear what they have been hymning all along. You would hear it too, were you to sip of this dram and risk the journey it has prepared for you.
On the scale of Bo Derek movies–
The Pittyvaich 30 Year Old 2020 Special Release is Ten. [Bill: Wait a minute, is he trying to give this a rating of 10? Stephen: I think Lindsay braided his cornrows too tight. Bill: That would explain a lot, actually.]
–Our thanks to Diageo for the sample!