Saturday, September 26, 2009

The The Macallan 12 (50 ml airline bottle)*

Tasting notes: 
The mixing of peat and sherry in this expression is like a granite gothic gargoyle bathed in misty moonlight looming over a shadowed formal garden.  It's beautiful, terrifying, and not for the faint of heart.  Really, there's nothing dangerous, per se, but once the imagination wanders, it feels like anything can happen.  And happen it does; the delicately-achieved balance is like a blindfolded mini-skirt-clad Lady Justice, immoderately waving her scales at all and sundry.  On one side of the scales, a bushel of tannic persimmons, and on the other, a stack of moldering---but not mildewed---New Yorker magazines, exuding faded glory and sophisitication. Long finish, like late afternoon California sunlight slanting in the french doors of a dilapidated mansion located in formerly upscale part of the Los Angeles hills.  

--On the scale of constellations (you didn't think I'd mention the sun and the moon without also working in stars, did you?)--
The The Macallan rates as The Big Dipper--It's one of the first constellations you'll ever identify, but then, every time you've been tippling, regardless of the time of night or your position on the planet, you'll be sure that you see at least one or two Big (or Little) Dippers.  Drink this alone, reading The Great Gatsby, or share it with your friends after playing the last chukker in your round of polo.



*--these notes are Bill's penance for that last post.     
                                                --the vebmeister 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Glen Ellen "Merlin"* (187 ml split)**

Tasting notes: 
The first thing that strikes this taster is that the "magical" bottle is larger than the usual airplane nip, so it is approached with some measure of caution, dare I say, trepidation?  After all, one should not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.  The rich purple red liquid that pours out is the next shocker:  Was this aged in port casks?  Dyed for comic effect?  On the nose, intense berries, especially cassis.  Exceedingly fruity, exceedingly odd.  Metallic undercurrent coiling about like Ourobos, the world worm, stirring up all kinds of trouble.  El Niño in a bottle?  In the mouth, it's like lingering over fatty, smoky, peppery, applewood bacon served in the lilac and gardenia-bestrewn parlor of Morgaine le Fay.  That is, if Morgaine le Fay were given then to taking 80-grit sandpaper and grinding your tastebuds until they were smooth enough for pixies to skate on.  Strange overtones of santa sangre drunk from a holy grail.  Possibly the oddest Scotch this reviewer has ever tasted. 

--On the scale of would-be magical creatures failing to cast a spell on you, yet managing to be disturbing nonetheless--
This is kind of like your 5 year-ol nephew dancing around your new wife, spilling champagne, chanting, "We accept her!  We accept her!  Gooble, gobble, gooble, gobble!  One of us!  One of us!"--what kind of parents show their kid the movie Freaks?  I guess my brother is that kind of parent...  Maybe I should call social services or something? 


*--that should be "Merlot"

**--I must apologize for these notes:  apparently, we've done too many Glen's in a row, and, perhaps more apparently, I shouldn't let Bill post when he's drunk.     --the vebmeister 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Glenlivet 12 (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes: 
The white carnation boutonniere offers a young man his first opportunity to wear flowers.  This moment makes visible one of his awkward, pimply steps toward manhood, but it is the aromas that stand out: the flower’s heavy scent, the musky notes of dime store cologne, the halo of tetrachloroethylene from the ill-fitting tuxedo just removed from the dry cleaning plastic, the starch of the too-tight shirt.  The Glenlivet 12 offers a similar contest between the floral and spicy, but unlike our would-be prom king, this one is not a loser.  South Carolina peaches, marinated in molasses and cilantro, pierced by Amazonian ipê wood whittled into skewers by a Damascus steel knife, then grilled over a cast-iron hibachi at high altitude.  A few drops of water brings out a surprise—the subtle taste of lemon, like pound cake topped with lemon curd, delivered by mistake in the leathery hands of a poorly-trained service monkey.  

--On the scale of television chimpanzees--
Zippy--He wasn't the best, but neither was he the wan Kokomo or the self-important Bear.  No, Zippy's ubiquity made him no less loved. 


Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Glenfiddich 18 (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes: 
Similes about subtlety are most often ironic or sarcastic; rarely does one find a straightforwardly presented one that yields a fair comparison with something that is in fact understated and fine.  But it is precisely this latter sort of description that this outstanding malt calls to mind.  It is fair to say that the Glenfiddich 18 is as subtle as Elwood P. Dowd's madness in Harvey, as subtle as the plot of My Dinner with André, and every bit as subtle as the stage presence of the title character in Waiting for Godot.  However, a few flavors stand out as slightly less subtle than the others, but one has to work even to identify those:  week-four Sea Monkeys spread on a grapefruit half and dusted with nuts--or better, sprinkled with nut dust--then puréed and thoroughly mixed into a 1,000 gallon oak vat full of a first-rate beverage.  Actually, it may be Sea Monkeys that yield the most accurate simile here:  this malt is as subtle as the activities of creatures that, contrary to the graphic claims of ads in the finest of comic books, are really only tiny brine shrimp.  

--On the scale of bitter childhood disappointments--
discovering that there is no Santa Claus (you didn't think I'd go to Sea Monkeys again, did you?)--not the toughest of things to accept, given that you had a sneaking suspicion and the presents keep coming anyway, but it's still a blow. 


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