My review of the Aultmore 12-year-old sure did cause quite a stir. I received plenty of notes from all sorts of folks, some agreeable and pretty much slapping verbal high-fives, but others not so exuberant.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, although I’m not so sure that all the folks who wrote to me to share their disdain for the way I dealt with the man in the moment actually read the review. I get the impression that they must be article “skimmers,” which means they scan an article, every now and then latching onto words and formulating a narrative, but ultimately, the chronicle is already being steered by an agenda and so it becomes an ignorant rant and a disjointed mess that completely misses the point. For example, read the review for yourself and then answer the following whimpering question I was asked: “Why were you so rude to him, Pastor Thoma?” Go ahead and read the review. I’ll wait right here…
I was really nice to the guy, wasn’t I? I respectfully called him “sir.” I was compassionate in that I spoke softly and gently in the context so as not to draw any unwanted attention to him or anyone around him. I apologized, unnecessarily, for bothering him with the request. I did all of these and so much more. He told me to kiss his ass. Who was rude to who?
Sheesh. Pay attention, folks.
I did take the liberty in the review of sharing what I felt like doing in the moment, but again, I refrained. And while I bore the brunt of the caustic affair, our practice of maintaining appropriate reverence in the Lord’s house was accomplished. But still, it’s at this intersection I should say to the “point-missing” mongers that I’m not all that concerned if you think the practice of removing head coverings in a church is “old-fashioned” or that asking someone to abide by such a practice is “unwelcoming.” The depth of such ignorance is iconized by the same commenters who went so far as to say that it doesn’t matter what anyone is wearing, that Jesus isn’t all that concerned with what’s happening in His house as long as people are there to be with Him.
You see, that’s the problem. And it’s a problem that is being perpetuated by ignorant Christians who really don’t represent the faith. These folks speak and act like the things that Jesus said and did really weren’t all that serious, that He was pretty much preaching a free-for-all religiosity; that He was just kind of saying stuff that sounded nice and that’s about it. They’re the same kind of folks who see Him dining with prostitutes and thieves and exclaim, “See, you can be a prostitute and a Christian!” These skimmers willfully breeze past rather important detail. For example, Jesus just told everyone within earshot that He was sitting with these people because they were sin-sick people and He was the doctor who could cure them. They were sinners. Sinners. Why do you go to the doctor when you are sick? Because being sick is bad. Being healthy is good. Jesus just said that, didn’t He? And with that, Jesus is indicating that these people came to Him, not because they knew He would be accepting of their lifestyles, but because they knew they were sinners, they were sorry, and they wanted to change. They knew Jesus could give them the forgiveness that would change them.
But some of you missed all that, didn’t you? Why, because for you, Jesus couldn’t possibly be someone to play by rules, because you are the kind of person who hears Jesus say, “Forgive your brother or the heavenly Father will not forgive you,” and you respond, “Great advice, Jesus. Something to consider.” Again, um, no. Jesus just gave you a little more than an extract of good advice to ponder. And you’d better take it seriously. He just said that if you are the kind of person to withhold forgiveness from someone who is seeking it, your prideful grudge is your god, you have no need of the Father’s grace, and you are lost.
But I guess to get a little closer to the point at hand, when it comes to what happens in the Lord’s house, Jesus cares. In fact, maybe just consider that time when Jesus got so ticked off with the folks who practiced the “anything goes” theology in the Lord’s house that He fashioned a bullwhip and started lashing them while He kicked over tables and spilled their “no-big-deal” crap all over the temple floor. That alone should convince you that even Jesus upholds standards in the place of worship. We can argue about what those standards are, but in the meantime, just know that I own a bullwhip and I played soccer in high school and college.
Finally, in order to land this craft safely on the runway of a whisky review, I’ll transition by mentioning that one friend contacted me to say he was glad I didn’t pull a “Saint Nicholas” on the guy. This is a reference to the historical Santa Claus – Saint Nicholas. It is recorded that at the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325, after listening to Arius, a trouble-making Bishop from Egypt who was obstinately rejecting the Word of God and making the claim that Jesus was not equal to God the Father, the beloved and burly Nicholas stood up from his seat, walked over to heretic and slapped him across the face.
I’m not saying I would ever do this, but I think that if I did, I have the distinct feeling that Santa Claus probably wouldn’t put me on the naughty list. In fact, he’d probably mention my deed with a crooked smile to the fellow collegium of Early Church Fathers hovering in eternity, and then he’d buy me a bottle of the Bowmore Small Batch.
He’d deliver this one to my Christmas stocking because by doing so, he’d be trying to communicate that he’s not going to punish me for slapping the guy, but he’s also not going to reward me. To punish me, he’d get me Scoresby. To reward me, he’d give me The Balvenie.
This particular edition is, well, okay.
The nose is definitely sweet, being relatively openhanded with honey and curiously benevolent with a custard-like spoor. There’s very little in the nosing to suggest that this is an Islay whisky.
The palate captures the honey and custard from the nose, and then sees to the peat, but it’s almost too light to make the formulation interesting. Again, it’s not bad. It’s just not very interesting.
The finish is undersized. It barely repeats the nose and palate before it calls out, “Rides over folks. Thanks for coming.”
I suppose that the skimmers who are reading this review are probably gearing up to respond, but they’re also thinking that since Jesus was such a bland, no big deal, anything goes kind of guy, He’d probably like the Bowmore Small Batch edition, right?
Hold on a second while I turn up the Indiana Jones theme music and lace up my soccer cleats.