Last year Michigan experienced one of the worst winters on record. In fact, I’m pretty sure that most of the country and her citizens experienced the same wrath of this snowpacalypse and yet were perhaps blessed to learn but one thing, a new meteorological term: Polar Vortex.
Just to give you an example of what it was like where we live… One night my wife and I were sitting together on the couch listening to the -35°F winds tearing at the siding when we heard the sound of our furnace firing up followed only moments later by the sound of shattering glass. Essentially, one of the vents located just below a window that was receiving the brunt of the wind exhaled a breath of warm air, and as soon as it met with the double pane, the exterior pane shattered. Wow.
Another example… The winter was so bad, I found myself sleeping in my office a few Saturday evenings to be sure that the church would be open on Sunday morning. That’s right. I set up my cot, and slept right there opposite my desk. We’ve never closed our doors or cancelled a service in all of our 6o years and I wasn’t about to let it happen on my watch.
But I need to confess. I did not go it alone. All three times I did it, I brought along the Oban Distiller’s Edition to keep me company. In the darkness of the winter’s embrace, Our Savior Lutheran Church was lively. I sat at my computer and worked on the sermon, prayed in the chancel, did a little extra cleaning around the church, mopped the nave floor, stopped to admire the majestic nativity décor, posted a few encouraging words on Facebook to the people of God to assure them that services would not be cancelled, and eventually tucked myself into bed. Throughout the entirety of the night in the Lord’s house, I had been accompanied by a couple of two-fingered drams that kept the pace of my private hymn-sing and bolstered my quiet meditation. Ah, ’tis true… Τὰ ἅγια τοις ἁγίοις.
I did not choose this companion purposely. I knew nothing of this edition of the Oban. I only knew that I had purchased it because of the reputation of its sister whisky, the Oban 14 year old, and I intended to do a review. As I was preparing to leave the house that first night, it was standing proudly and unopened amongst its compatriots in the cabinet. “Why not,” I thought.
I’m glad I did.
The nose of this edition is a lazily hanging draught of sun-warmed, sweetened apples resting beneath a flowering apple tree. It is most certainly a consoling wrap while the wintry howls shriek their furies from the outside and resonate softer screams through the empty church corridors. The palate delivers the honey glaze that makes the apples so sweet and offers a gentle kiss of smoke. The finish is medium, drawing you up into the apple tree on the wafting plume to enjoy the floral array. As you savor with every sense, the honey returns and invites another dram. And so you do, because it is a bitter and rude abyss that is oppressing the Lord’s house tonight, and yet it seems that He has smiled so favorably upon you because He led you to select the perfect whisky for what could have been an imperfect night. Now, because of this, it has been a night most profitable for both body and soul.
Indeed, seek this one out. It isn’t just another whisky in the cabinet.