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There are certain whiskies that present themselves with a quality of strangeness that approaches the supernatural – that is, they seem to be able to bridge the gap between what is acceptable on earth and what is allowable in the other realms of super-reality. Of course, by saying this, the “other realms” may vary. There are some whiskies that I fully intend to request by name when I am ushered into the eternal bosom of heaven because I experienced the prophetic vision of their divinity here on earth. There are others that I would most assuredly expect to see in the following scenarios: In the griddle of hell, Hitler is offered the choice between being served a glass of Scoresby or being lashed by a charring whip woven together from cinder and demon hides. Hitler chooses the whipping, but it was for nothing. It was a cruel hoax for a little hope. The devil serves him the Scoresby because he knows it is worse.

Scoresby is hellish, as if it were wrenched from the venom-filled veins of Satan right into the bottle. Alternatively, consider the Laphroaig Quarter Cask. It is heavenly, and it carries with it an unearthly and aural joy. It stirs the imagination in the following way (at least for me)…

When the cork is gently pried from its mouth and the first nosing is offered, there is an inviting, elemental nature to its smoke. It is chilly, but dense enough to suggest that in its wintry context, a campfire is nearby. With that, the imagination is kindled and one finds it very easy to be carried into a scene from a Jack London novel such as White Fang or The Call of the Wild. If the consumer were to close his or her eyes, almost certainly when they open, one would be found sitting near the aforementioned campfire along the River Yukon with characters of all sorts, the likes of Perrault and Beauty Smith; and only a few paces away are the hefty canines — Mastiffs, Malamutes, half-wolves, Saint Bernards — all with names like “Bud” and “Pike” and yes, “White Fang.”

The palate continues the image with Smith cursing and taunting the rustling dogs while tossing peat bricks into the fire. It carries on with Perrault throwing salted whitefish strips to the dogs and then reaching into his satchel to offer bits of dried fruit.

The finish is long and smooth, like the limitless skyline of stars hovering just above the tree line and awash in the gentle glows of a silky Borealis.

I’ve enjoyed many different editions from Laphroaig. The Quarter Cask is indeed one of the best. In fact, my wife has, on occasion, prodded that we should take a trip to Alaska. I think that would be nice, and now that I have beheld the wonder of the Quarter Cask through the eyes of a heavenly vision, I shall be certain to take this particular edition along so that the scene may be complete.