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One of the things they told us at the seminary was to avoid political debates in the parish. One of the things my wife is sure to tell me on occasion when we are visiting with certain members of the family, “Don’t get involved in any of the discussions on politics.” And what a wise woman she is. I do my best to follow this advice at almost every family get-together.

But still, who doesn’t enjoy a good debate, especially one that leaves the opponent stunned and without answer? I think it was in the late ‘80s that I heard the line, “I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy.” This was a good one, but it didn’t necessarily silence the opponent nor cost him the Vice-Presidency.

The one that truly sticks in my mind is this one… While receiving some tough questions from the press during the Desert Storm conflict, General Schwarzkopf, found himself debating with a reporter as to why we didn’t look to the French for more support. Growing tired and obviously very annoyed by this particular prod, his quick wit offered, “Going to war without the French is like going hunting without your accordion. Next question.” Stunned, the reporters didn’t ask any more questions about the French.

Although I would have agreed with the General whole-heartedly had he made the comment while sitting around a divine Christmas ham at my dinner table, I would also have been moved to urge him that his comment didn’t necessarily end the broader debate. I probably would have retrieved the bottle of whisky being reviewed here and pressed for an expansion of his objective logic to assimilate and affirm another truth – that is, it would seem that the Scots enlisted the French in the war to preserve the world of whisky and the result appears to have been a success with the French Oak Reserve 15 year old edition.

The nose of this whisky is very sweet, offering an obvious scent of honeyed vanilla. The palate taps its toe to the accordion player’s tune and savors the, again, very obvious vanilla. As the music winds down, the finish steps forth and delivers a very oaky finale, one that lasts for as long as you would have expected from something so sweet.

So, to offer somewhat of a respectful alteration to the good General’s words: “Going to war without your bottle of The Glenlivet French Oak Reserve is like going hunting without any bullets.” In other words, you may not want the French fighting with you in the trenches, but this whisky certainly would make a reliably fine brother soldier in the gully on a cold night.