[Editor’s note: Today is the Malt Impostor’s 13th Maltiversary! And on this maltiversary, like our first, we celebrate it by having John review a Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition. Enjoy!]
This ruby dram noses up with peat smoke, machine grease, crumpled shop rags, oil-soaked seabird wings, and a putrefying starfish in a tidal pool. I look at Bill and Bill looks at me and we both know it without saying it. This is Stephen’s love language. More nosing reveals an oat scone jammed into a toaster that didn’t pop up. We jimmy it out with a jam knife to find it filled with fig marmalade made by retired cigar rollers.
The mouth creates the same excitement as the crack of a starting pistol announcing the beginning of the eighth element of a decathlon. And yes, we get all of the smoke from the pistol too. We’re not sure of the sport, however, because we experience pinecones and pineapples going down a light molasses water shoot. The winner is carried forward in a craggy oyster shell in an outrageous mockery of The Birth of Venus. Zephyr, who sports goat horns, blows resinous billows of smoky menace; Chloris, by contrast, holds out a fitted King-sized sheet in the vain hope that someone will help her fold it.
Ah, this finish! On our little used scale of niceness, we put the finish right at Super Nice—which is two clicks past Tom Hanks. Perhaps some will say things are a bit too “one note” or that the finish hastens like a spring storm. But we find that there’s an Inception-like continuity that brings back the original sparkle and flash. More attention reveals a quiet sweetness, like salted caramel, or a still-waters-run-deep wallflower chewing her hair at the office happy hour. As we close our eyes in concentration or prayer, we feel that unmistakable Dizzy Gillespie finishing note that goes “bwaaaaa!” above the cymbal crashes, tom thumps, and snare pops.
On the scale of Dizzy Gillespie tunes–
The Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition 2020 Release is Groovin’ High–A brilliant bop specimen, with a memorable coda that finds Dizzy scaling the musical summits until he reaches the closing e-flat. Shaw Nuff!
Happy 13th Maltiversary to us! And thanks to all of you who read us and have read us through the years!