Guess what I’ve been reading… Jomini’s The Art of War. It was a gift to my son from the head elder of my congregation. He knows that Joshua loves history, specifically learning about past wars. I think that Josh has read some of it, but I swiped it and it has been sitting on my desk in my bedroom for a while. Every now and then I’ll pick it up and read a little.
While I’m sure that Jomini was brilliant, I get the sense that he may have been the “Forrest Gump” of battle strategy in that he quite often ends entire sections very abruptly and by saying something very similar to “That’s all I have to say about that.” I almost expect the very next section to begin teaching me how the field of battle is like a box of chocolates.
But I digress.
What I wanted to share is that while Jomini takes a while to establish philosophies and general histories, offering that it should be expected that some battles will be won and others will be lost, he doesn’t finally get around to detailing the fundamental principal of war until about page 63 in this shorter-than-one-would-expect volume. And it is here that he breaks the fundamental down into four supporting elements, each of which rests upon acknowledging the simple fact that to win a war, the whole of the fighting force must be set upon discerning and securing the decisive points for victory in the total theater of the war. So, what does this have to do with The Macallan 18 year old edition?
The Macallan distillery is winning the whisky war in so many ways, and while not all of their editions are victorious (see my review of the 10 year old Fine Oak edition), they seem to have discerned the points in the broader theater that will assure a dominance for years to come. The 18 year old is a tangible example of the stratagem in motion.
The nose establishes with precision a base for operations, sending out carefully coded messages of sherried fruits and the promise of something richly sweet just over the hill. The palate sees the first of the regiments roll in as the cannons fire and the whisky deals grand maneuvers that deliver the promised fruits — grapes that are nearly raisins, spiced apples warmed upon an oaken plank — just what a wearied soldier needs in the callousing trenches of conflict. The finish is a glorious but final detonation of a new weapon designed only to secure the enemy flag. Its flash is medium in length, but blanketing the horizon with a lingering haze that tastes of vanilla and chocolate.
Unfortunately, as you look back upon the field, you behold that the battle was indeed costly. At $200 and climbing, this particular whisky is an engagement to which most of the war college students can only aspire.
And so, in the abrupt spirit of my good friend Jomini, that’s all I have to say about that.