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20160205_100815I’d be willing to bet that if anyone went back through to check the temperament of my writings between mid-October and February in any given year, that person would discover a disposition more inclined toward communicating truth with a tad lesser concern for searing the listener than in any of the other months. Even today while I was working on a sermon in anticipation of Ash Wednesday, at one point, the grammatical exercise reached with such brutality into the darkest corners of “self” that I nearly made myself cry right there at the computer.

I don’t intend to rewrite a single sentence.

Still, I don’t think I have it in me to write like that in the summer. Sure, sin is sin all year long, but it just seems that the need to consider it more seriously becomes heavier – more viscous – in the twilight of summer. Seasonal depression? Perhaps. Again, it just seems that the sunless, icy landscape of seasonal death holds its role as more than just a contextual bystander. It becomes a participant. It inserts itself. I almost feel as though I can see my breath as winter gathers beside me at the computer, its invisible digits tapping at the keyboard, adding this adjective and that adverb, changing a relatively neutral sentence into one with a frozen edginess.

It can be quite draining when it comes to writing something for public consumption. When it comes to sermons, there are some Sundays when I come home, and although it is usually only about 2 or 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I’m so exhausted that I nearly fall asleep at the wheel.

When it comes to whisky, there’s somewhat of a lingering sadness for the lesser editions that are reviewed during the winter. They may be bad, but I’m pretty sure I’ve unleashed hell on a few that maybe only deserved a frowny-face sticker.

Take for example my review of the Famous Grouse. It was bad in comparison to so many others, and yet it probably wasn’t bad enough to line up on the gun range log beside Scoresby.

Another example, the whisky before me now – the Grand Macnish.

Now, I could relay to you what winter’s angry specter is urging me to say about this less than adequate whisky – which is that it is most likely comparable to the de-icer solution I just poured into my car’s windshield washer fluid reservoir yesterday evening – but I won’t. Instead, I’ll first try to imagine a ray of sunshine streaming through my window shade revealing an exquisite performance of dancing dust particles, and then I’ll take another sip.

Okay, here goes. Sunbeams. Blue skies. Unicorns…

The nose of the Grand Macnish brings showers of prodigiously cleansing tears to the eyes. (How’s that for softening the sketch of the nocent harshness of this whisky?)

A sip of this unique tonic offers the imbiber the corner of a sugar cube, but also an unstinting savoring of nature’s creativity. (Oh yeah! No one can argue that’s not a nice way to say that this whisky has a nip of sweetness, but that it also tastes a little bit like somewhere along the line in its production, fermenting mold was introduced. As though the master distiller looked at the muck growing beneath a rotting log and motioned to his assistants, “Take the buckets, my good men, and start scooping. That’s nature’s creative side, right there. You never know what will sprout from that stuff.”)

The finish is a medium wandering that, once it finally fritters away, leaves one to wonder if ever you’ll meet one another again. (There’s only one way to make sure we don’t meet again. This $6.49 bottle is getting dumped, plain and simple.)

Ah, and yea, O cold and desperate winter tide, will thou never flee to another to haunt? I grow so tired of thy rage, and so shattered by thy sunless demeanor and constant moons. But if thou dost depart, and soon, leave behind in thy wake some measure of thy vernacular, for it is ever advantageous to a whisky man who is fatigued and incautious.