Right away, on the nose, I think, this is a dram for journeys. And just like that I’m on a reed raft drifting down the Amazon. The smell of the wet reeds and interwoven palm branches mix with morning fog with to form a thick, mysterious peatiness. The lemon rinds I use to grip my Aboyna wood oar hang a dank citrus note that rides in rhythmically with each stroke. The nose is completed by almond paste, my poor attempt at waterproofing the raft.
I sense the heat of the Sun still shrouded in morning fog, but as the heat rises, I get the kind of full, chewy robustness that lodges in the memory. Bright spiky spice spangles the mouth, like pickled peppercorns in peppercorn brine. But then there’s also sweet fruit on it rounding things out as ever. Braeburn apple tarts for use in a nutria trap. As we reflect on it, there is not a single false note anywhere, no wrong-foot to be found.
The finish, Bill says, is “kinda fast.” But we notice it’s really an eddying swirl that belies just how deep and dark things go on this reed raft river ride. Stephen claims that there is a pseudomenthol note, and one that he’s fond of. That pretentious prefix prompts us to press him about his false memories from trips made only in his mind. We all agree that the finish is like closing a bento box of black licorice, anise-soaked sugar cubes, and molasses chutney that had suffused its delights all through the room. More minty-ness abounds, the real McCoy this time. Stephen sways in his seat as one might when hitting mild rapids. I think to myself, my god, he’s that committed to the river journey conceit. But then Bill breaks the spell by reminding me that when whisky is this good, Stephen begins to rock like Stevie Wonder.
On the scale of Amazonian journeys–
The Port Askaig 28 Year Old (45.8%) is Teddy Roosevelt’s exploration with Cândido Rondon of Brazil’s “River of Doubt.”–Full of unexpected twists, and high on adventure, their 1914 adventure continues to inspire.