Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Auchentoshan 12 (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes:
Rudyard Kipling’s description of “the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River” is thought to be inspired by the avocado.  If he had tried the Auchentoshan 12, to what might he have appealed to describe it?  A paste of chestnut meat spread on banana leaves with a few drops of lime juice, then wrapped tightly with jute twine, and finally set on the sputtering engine block of a shop-class Plymouth Reliant.  The resulting flavors—nutty, vegetal, oily—mix together with understated grace.  There is much to enjoy here, especially if you have the lowered expectations of a group of shop class students taking furtive swigs behind a stack of tires.

--On the scale of rhetorical devices that sound like psycho-sexual maladies--
Auchentoshan 12 is Dirimens Copulatio:  it is comfortable and inoffensive, with the safety enjoyed by those who sit on fences. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Auchentoshan Three Wood (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes: 
The moniker "Three Wood" pleads insistently--but no less annoyingly--for a carefully crafted golf reference (unlike the variant "Triple Wood," which conjures up vivid images of...[insert innuendo here] ...oof, even that was bad.  Moving on...).  Not ever having been one to give in to peer pressure, either teenage or literary, I will not accede to a golf reference here.  No, I will advance here a full-blown golf analogy:  The monster mouth and the indefinite aging of this dram are the stuff of folklore or maybe even a Grimm's fairy tale.  In this way, the Auchentoshan Three Wood is much more like a troll's mallet than a golf club. [Sorry if you were expecting a Tiger Woods reference...and no, this is not an ironic meta-reference to Tiger...really] And the nose on this Auchentoshan offering has about as much nose as you might expect this same troll's mallet to have backswing:  you'll give yourself a hernia before you find one.  Imagine that same troll's mallet, the wood on its face splintered and stained with God-knows-what and the studded iron bands adorning the cylinder of its head slowly rusting through, striking the ball solidly.  Now image the golf ball is your face, and you have a clear sense of the mouth on this dram (If your powers of imagination tend to bump hard against the limits of realty, then try this: the mouth is freakishly similar to waking up to find that your somnambulistic college roommate has unwittingly used your mouth as a pencil sharpener).  The follow-through is, again, about what you'd expect from a honkin' huge hammer a gargantuan, ill-tempered creature would employ as a weapon:  not much to it beyond its own momentum from before.  Still, overall it's fair to say that this dram packs a punch--but one that's about as smooth and balanced as you'd expect your swing to be if you decided to tee up with Grendel's mallet.

--On the scale of unbalanced things that used to be made out of wood, but no longer are--
The Auchentoshan Three Wood is the seesaw:  not as beloved as the top, but also not nearly as limited in its impact.  What other object of children's play holds out the possibility of launching a small kid a good thirty feet--I mean, other than the trebuchet?


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Highland Park 30 (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes: 
When he was 24 years-old, RenĂ© Descartes recounts in his now-lost Olympica that he had a series of dreams, including one about a dictionary that he would interpret as giving him the inspiration for his later researches.  But another dream featured his expectation of a gift of a melon from a foreign country, which Freud thought pointed to a fear of his homosexual leanings.  Despite an unenviable nose, the Highland Park 30 invites us to savor slices of this curious fruit kept to the point of fermentation in a balsa wood case.  Or alternating shots of Calvados and limoncello at a bridge tournament tailgate.  Then a gradual transformation into spices tickling the tongue like an emery board lozenge.  Hot ginger syrup, a tablespoon of cinnamon, cumin-dusted cacao nibs, and the cardboard edge of a stiff-backed legal pad.  The incredibly long and complex finish has some of the peculiar tastes of an old brass instrument with a mouthpiece cleaned with witch hazel and mineral oil.  And it has all of the determination of a compulsive sousaphonist who empties the spit valves into labeled jars and runs her finger along the sweat-soaked pleather headband of her uniform helmet.

--On the scale of fruits--
The Highland Park 30 is at the top: it is the cantaloupe.  Developed in Egypt, brought to the New World by Columbus, source of the best strain of penicillin, happily paired with prosciutto or ice cream, and covered with a reticulated skin, the Highland Park 30 has a lot to love.  And besides, sometimes a melon is just a melon. 


Tuesday, December 1, 2009


In an admittedly shameless ploy, the Malt Impostor announces a new annual award:  The Maltease Flacon (that's right, flacon, not falcon--look it up).  We will award the Maltease Flacon to the first distillery (hell, we'll even take a distributor) to provide us with free samples or some other form of quality swag.  Needless to say, we would prefer miniature bottles of the good stuff, but definitely would not turn down full-sized bottles.  We figure that it's the holiday season, so some of you are likely to have budgets for this sort of thing already. Anyone interested please contact us at  Sorry if this plea is off-putting or portrays us in an unfavorable light, but Bill's idea of the Flacon was too good not to employ, and this seemed the best use of that idea.  Beyond that, the simple fact is that we at the Impostor have needs--and it's not like we're getting rich off of ad revenue here.

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