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20160208_164233-1Clearly something dreadful happened in that hospital elevator. How do I know this? Because whoever was charged with cleaning up the mess forgot to wipe down the ceiling.

Yeah, the ceiling.

Having one of those very brief but friendly conversations with a fellow passenger, I was asked about the various hospitals that I visit as a clergyman.

“Well, one thing I can tell you for sure,” I started, “is that this is the slowest of the all the hospital elevators.”

We both laughed. I gave a little sigh and tipped my head back to rest against the wall for a moment. That’s when I noticed the ceiling tiles above the both of us were covered in some sort of dried, whitish substance. And I should add that it didn’t take a forensic spatter expert to know that whatever it was had its origins not from something leaking through from above, but from below in the passenger compartment.

Something had more or less exploded and shot skyward to coat the elevator canopy.

“What do you suppose that is?” I asked my momentary companion and pointed aloft.

“Oh, my,” was the response.

I didn’t say it, but the only explanation that immediately came to mind was that scene from the 1980s movie “The Thing,” the one where one character appears to be having a heart attack, and so the other characters throw him onto an operating table and grab the defibrillator to give him a jump start. A man shocks him once, and as he goes to do it again, the patient’s chest opens up as a mouth with teeth and chomps off the arms of the other man trying to save his life. Then, all of the sudden, while everyone stands around in disbelief, the chest begins to pulsate violently until finally there is a vicious surge which flares a raging creature from a bloody and foaming mess up and onto the ceiling above them. Dripping in milky white goo, it screams at the bystanders. They light it up with a flame thrower.

“Whatever happened in here,” I said not knowing if my traveling partner knew the cinematic image to which I was referring, “I hope it isn’t loose in the hospital. You think they have flame throwers in this place?”

The doors opened. “Have a nice day,” went the hurried goodbye.

“Blessings in your day,” I said. “Be sure to keep a look out,” I added before the doors could close.

I laughed to myself. Every now and then it’s fun to shake it up a little bit for folks. The best place to do this is in a fast food drive-thru. Take a look at my review of the Dufftown 15-year-old to see what I mean.

Still, I wonder what that was on the elevator ceiling.

Right now, I’m wondering what comprises the formula for this Michter’s Small Batch Unblended American Whiskey. And I don’t mean all the usual formulaic things, but rather the deeper things, the elements of care and concern not listed on the label. I wonder because this whiskey, I do believe, has nearly lifted me to a higher praise for something other than Scotch.20151215_182716

You’ll notice by the above photo that this is but one of four edition samples that were slipped into my booze bag before leaving my friend’s store.

“Give these a try and tell me what you think,” he said.

Well, here’s what I think.

michters american angelsportionI never thought I’d say it, but this American edition is, in an all-around way, a phenomenal medley.

The first nosing, if carelessly decided, will tell you, “It’s just another Bourbon.” But then an additional, more concerned intake reveals the lack of chemical bite that in my experience is so often the case with Bourbons. This one is clean, only giving over the sweet intention of the master distiller – which I’m guessing he had in mind a stack of warm buttery pancakes, a little too browned, and covered in 100% pure maple syrup.

The palate is equally rewarding. The pancakes were poured and flipped in a griddle warmed over a fire kindled with barrel planks. Above that same fire is a small cast iron cooker housing fresh corn bread.

The medium finish is the whole meal’s memory. Very much frontier and extremely original.

Okay, so, did this review stop your heart, especially knowing my history with Bourbons?

Well, you’d better get someone other than me to use the defibrillator. I saw that movie I mentioned before when I was nine. It’s one of my favorites, but it did leave me scarred.