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_MG_6196 2“Sorry about that,” I said as the front door opened to its full range and slowly came to a stop at the arm rest of the couch where I was sitting. “I must not have closed it all the way.”

She gave a half-chuckle, “That’s just my ghost.”

“Your ghost?” I asked somewhat puzzled.

“Yeah, he does that sometimes.”

“Oh, really,” I said showing outward inquisitiveness but inwardly disregarding her claim. As I’d already indicated, I must not have closed it enough for the latch to click into place. “So, tell me about yourself; where were you born, what are some of the things you like to do?”

The discussion continued along for a reasonably comfortable amount of time, just as a first-time visit usually does. We talked about family. We talked about her past relationships with various Christian churches. We touched on a few Lutheran distinctions, and then I gently urged her to consider allowing me to continue to visit her in order to catechize her so that perhaps one day she might join the fellowship. She said she’d think about it.

I took the next few minutes to read a Bible text and talk about it. I offered a prayer, and then we prayed the Lord’s Prayer together. I closed with a Benediction.

Having thanked her for the time, I got up from the couch and leaned over to give her a polite hug. She stayed seated because of particular physical issues which keep her homebound.

I said goodbye and reached to open the door, but it wouldn’t budge. The deadbolt had been engaged. I was about three feet away from the door throughout the entire visit. I was the last person to interact with the door. When I closed it, I can assure you that I did not engage the deadbolt. And to disengage the lock, it was necessary to push the door slightly – which while that may explain the door’s swinging open, it also means that it was a tight fit for the deadbolt and so it could not have fallen into position when I closed it.

“Hmm,” I sounded discreetly to myself.

But despite my quiet pondering, she knew right away what had happened. “Yep, that’s just my ghost,” she half-chuckled again. “He does that sometimes, too.”

“Well, that is strange,” I affirmed. “Maybe we can talk about it the next time I come back.” And I intend to, as gently and carefully as possible, because according to the Christian faith, her ghost is no ghost. But I’m not going to get into the Biblical theology of ghosts here.

What I will say is that I’m not afraid of things like this. Lots of people are, but I’m really not.

I’m never scared in a dark room. I’m not scared in Halloween haunted house attractions. I’m rarely impressed by scary movies. I was held at gunpoint in Russia back in 2003, and even then I was more concerned about my travel schedule becoming disjointed. I suppose that if you really want to know what frightens me, read my review of the Tomintoul 16, but even then, I think you’ll find that the list isn’t very long.

I’ve been in homes where magnets and the photos they were holding to the refrigerator door literally flew off and across the room. As a pastor, probably the strangest thing I’ve seen is walking into a bedroom and seeing a closet full of items, walking back into the hallway to visit another room, and only moments later returning to the first room to find the contents of the closet stacked in the bedroom corner. No wait, I think the strangest thing I’ve seen is a man refusing to take his hat off in our Children’s Christmas worship service. I almost performed an exorcism right then and there.

I know that there are things we cannot see, and yet they are there – just like my bottle of The Balvenie 30-year-old. It exists. I even have a photo of it here for you, a snapshot that is much different than my usual whisky photo staging mainly because it is a special edition that deserves such reverential care. But still, you’ll never see it. No one will. I’m keeping this one for myself. It’s my ghost.

I’ve not experienced such an exquisitely crafted whisky in a very long time, perhaps never.

For those of you who follow Angelsportion fairly closely, you will already know that I unabashedly hearken before the masses of enthusiasts that The Balvenie, no matter the edition, is my favorite whisky. From the 12-year-old to the Roasted Malt, up and over a shelf to the Rum splashed 17 or the Caribbean Cask, you’ll never regret crossing paths with any such phenomena that haunt the local pub or liquor store.

When you first lift the cork from the signature flagon, an apparition arises to assure you that everything you love about The Balvenie – tender seasonings of fruit and flora, freshly collected honey, toffee, sweet chocolate – all these tantalizing effects are awaiting you in the deeply ambered spirit below.

And most certainly, they are.

The palate is the presentation of an oven-warmed oak plank carrying a softened, and equally warmed, orange half still partially dressed with its peel. Hovering in the steam is a spectral sweetness of sorts. It taps one portion of the tongue with a thicker toffee, but then it drifts to another with a sweeter chocolate.

The finish is itself an ethereal dimension. I wouldn’t say it is long, although I wouldn’t say it is medium, either. It sort of carries you to an in-between region that is left for each and every consumer to discern. But no matter your conclusion, everything you experienced in the nose and palate is swirling there. And there is plenty of time in the finish to find and savor each.

I suppose I should close by suggesting that if anyone reading this has somehow discovered this particular edition haunting his or her humble domain, please, don’t hesitate to call me. I am more than willing to come for a visit, to detect your woe, and to exorcise it from your home. You can count on me being 100% successful.





“Very Old Things” Photo © 2016 Jennifer Thoma