1580; 1579 dresden edition, 47.8%, antiques, antiquity, book of concord, christopher columbus, feuerlinus, king charles i, lutheran, martin luther, reformation, review, scotch, single barrel sherry cask, the balvenie, thoma, victorian, Whiskey, whisky
Everyone has their favorite things.
Some folks like all things related to sports. Others enjoy cars. You can be sure that there is an appreciated “thing” for most people. Me? Not only do I enjoy whisky, but I relish the vintage mementos of antiquity. Now, I’m not talking about baseball cards or vintage beer coasters. I’m thinking a little more significant and a little further back.
For example, I own a French knight’s last will and testament, notarized 17 July A.D. 1493. Indeed, that was one year after Columbus discovered America. Oh yeah, and the dear Reverend Doctor Martin Luther, the master of the Reformation, was only nine years old, having been born on 10 November A.D. 1483.
Another example: As a Lutheran pastor, I am the proud owner of an original 1579 Dresden print of The Book of Concord. This is a big deal because, technically, The Book of Concord wasn’t published until 1580. This edition bears the well-known 1580 publication date but has all of the printer’s imprint dates as 1579. Feuerlinus notes that there were seven Dresden editions. The first was set and printed in 1578. The second through fourth editions were after and into 1580. The fifth and sixth were in 1581. The seventh was in 1598. The edition in my possession is from the second through fourth printings.
My last example: I own a land deed signed and sealed in A.D. 1648, which begins its tale and purpose as “made the ninth day of October in the three and twenty year of the reign of our sovereign lord Charles by the grace of God king of England, Scotland, and Ireland, defender of the faith, betrothed Christopher Hurd and John Hurd of Stanton in the county of Stafford….” As you can see, this document was issued by King Charles I, who reigned from 1625 until 1649.
If you do the math, you’ll note that the document was given over to the Hurds just three short months before Charles was executed (January A.D. 1649).
So, why do I own things like these? Well, I guess because, in many ways, they are tangible remnants of days gone by when particular crafts mattered, and not just because they were essential for the benefit of society, but because each artisan attending to his or her vocation was working skillfully toward a narrative of worth. They weren’t just making something; they were making something good, and they would be remembered for it. You just don’t see this anymore. Take a look at your mortgage papers from Chase Bank. Not exactly something your family would consider an heirloom.
But having made the statement, “You just don’t see this anymore,” I shan’t be frivolous with my words and leave the impression that The Balvenie is to be included in the sweeping conclusion. Oh no. These guys are artisans. They make good whisky. And they will remain and be remembered for it. The Single Barrel Sherry Cask is a perfect example.
This superb edition’s nose is sublime, delivering a virtual Hermitage of delights with its deep, dark pour. Almost immediately does the canvas set before the visitor a base context of crisp sherry and warmed sugar-fruits. A drop of water reveals carmeled chocolate.
The palate is equally exquisite, giving over the same luscious pleasures offered in the nosing, except adding a gentle bit of spice, maybe cinnamon, and a salty hue to the landscape.
The finish is carried from short to medium in length with a drop of water, leaving only the carmeled chocolate behind.
Does it get any better than this? I don’t know. Perhaps. Ask a whisky connoisseur the same question in two hundred years. My guess is he’ll say something like, “No one crafts as they did so long ago. My dear lads, have you forgotten the likes of The Balvenie Single Barrel Sherry Cask? Ah, those men were remarkable and unmatchable in stature….”