Review – Distillerie Warenghem, Armorik, Double Maturation, (No Age Stated), 46%

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I can’t believe it, I thought and gave a quick scan of my row. I’m at the Academy Awards. I’m sitting next to my wife. Gerard Butler is sitting beside her. And they just called my name as they prepare to open the envelope to announce the award for Best Actor in a Short Film. I didn’t know there was such a category.

The air was thick. But that’s only because Beyoncé was sitting to my right, and I’m thinking she has halitosis.

“I hope you win, bro,” Chris Pratt leaned back and smiled. “You deserve it. That was the best portrayal I’ve ever seen of a man just out to mow his yard and all the while doing his best not to run over a rabbit hole filled with baby bunnies and fighting back the undead. And he never spilled his whisky. Dude, you nailed it! Totally believable!”

“Thanks, Chris,” I said and took a handshake. “That means a lot.”

“Yeah, great job,” came another voice from over my shoulder. It was Norman Reedus.

“Thanks, Norm,” I said. “It’s easy to do when it feels like it’s your life story.”

“You bet,” Butler leaned over to affirm through a copious Scottish accent. “Life is the best inspiration, my friend.”

Jen gave a wave of her hand and shushed the circle of chattering men. “She’s about to open the envelope,” she said.

Sigourney Weaver—standing beside a pokerfaced Bill Murray—took the envelope from the podium, and with a slide of her finger, it was opened and she removed the note.

“And the winner for Best Actor in a Short Film goes to… Momma, I feel sick.

There were exhales of disappointment around me. Even Beyoncé appeared upset. Chris turned to offer a condolence. Norman nudged Jen’s shoulder, “Momma, I don’t feel so good.”

Gerard leaned over, and with a dissatisfied guise, offered, “My stomach hurts and I can’t sleep.”

It was then that Gerard’s face faded into the misty realms of nethersleep and became that of my 12-year-old daughter, Madeline. She was poking at the shoulder of my sleeping wife and trying to wake her. And once I realized the content of her words, I made haste in forming a coherent sentence.

“If you’re gonna be sick, Maddy, don’t lean over us in our bed! Get to the bathroom!”

She scurried from the room and into the bathroom. Mom and dad both followed. Madeline didn’t get sick, thankfully. But now I was awake.

Oh, well. Apparently I didn’t win the award, anyway, so there’s no use in trying to close my eyes and find my way back into the dream. Still, I’m guessing that this must be the kind of dream one has when one sips French whisky before bedtime. Weird. And telling, because while the whisky was by no means bad—that is, it had some really great moments—it didn’t necessarily come away with the win.

There’s a depth to the nose of this dram. Straight from the bottle, the neck focuses its aim and sends up blackberries and a nimble sherry. In the glass, the sherry becomes more prominent. But then with a swirl, along comes a very, VERY, spectral kiss of smoke. Just to be sure, I tried it again, and sure enough, it returned. Just barely.

On the palate, the whisky takes a turn from the sherry distinction and steers into a yet-to-be baked apple pie. It’s as if the cinnamon and nutmeg in the recipe had yet to be absorbed into the filling and crust, leaving a far too distinct nip instead of falling into a balance. I wasn’t put off by this, but I wondered if something could have been done to improve it. I added a drop of water and then took another sip. I added another and sipped again. That fixed it.

The finish of the whisky (without water) is generous, leaving behind a buoyant cast of toffee, almond flavored coffee creamer, and an alcohol-sodden cherry. Somewhat artificial. Like Hollywood. But also entertaining. Like Hollywood.

I’d say, give it go. And do it before bedtime. Then be sure to send me an email and tell me the award for which you were nominated, and whether or not you won.

And a bit of advice: Take a breath mint with you to bed—in case you discover yourself seated beside Beyoncé.