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(This is the second of four whiskey samples I received for consideration.)


20160209_201128-1Routines are good, but routines that become blind expectations will often fail us. Let me give you an example.

As a point of reference, I am the pastor of a church with a preschool through 8th grade school.

I park my car in the same parking space every day. Each morning when I bring the kids to school, I park my car in that spot. If I come back to the church for an evening meeting, I park in that spot. During the regular work day, even if I leave to make visitations or accomplish other tasks related to the church’s business, when I return, I steer my vehicle into the same parking space. And very rarely is it necessary for me to park anywhere else.

One midafternoon, I returned to the church from a busy day of travels to find my parking space occupied. No big deal. I simply found an empty space about four slots away and parked there instead. Later that afternoon, most of the parking lot now empty, my children and I made our way to the lot to head home. I walked straight to my car, which was pretty much the only one in that particular area of the lot. They walked – chattering and laughing about the day, being carried along by an expectation of sorts – right to where I normally park.

They arrived right in the middle of the empty space and stood there. They stood there – visiting and waiting.

I paused for a moment to see if they’d realize that neither the transport nor its pilot were near them, but they didn’t.

“Hey guys,” I called. “What are you doing?”

A glow of surprised enlightenment overtook Madeline, but before she could speak, Harrison asked, “Where’s the car?”

I, of course, was standing right next to it, and as I said, it was the only car within at least a radius of about 100 yards.

“I don’t know,” I spoke and opened the driver door to climb inside. “Maybe you can help me remember where I parked it.” They laughed and trotted over.

My point: The routine had become, even if only for a moment, unreliable, and this resulted in a near failure to discover something rather important to the situation.

WhistlePig AngelsportionAs it concerns the WhistlePig Straight Rye, there was a soft whisper before pouring from the vile, and it urged that I not smell the whiskey first, but that I move directly to a sip. I listened to the whisper.

Now, you may be asking, “Why would this even matter?” The simple answer is that the nosing and palate are very closely connected. In one sense, the palate comprises the primary chapters of the book, but the nosing is the introduction. As one who prefers Scotch, I’ve noticed that such a preference is reaffirmed every time I nose a Bourbon. It’s the smell of the stuff that so often trips me. This time, I was going to skip the nosing and go straight to the palate.

In the case of the Canada-born (bottled in Vermont) WhistlePig Straight Rye, I’m glad I did. Had I nosed it first, I probably would not be telling you now that I’ve discovered a most excellent whiskey that isn’t Scotch.

The palate is a thick scoop of steaming rye cereal speckled with cinnamon and walnuts. Outstanding. Simply superb.

20160210_105822-1The medium finish turns slightly to introduce a sweetness not discernible in the palate. In fact, it reminded me of the mixed fruit jelly packets the waitress brings along in a trolley with your English muffins. It’s subtle and fast fleeting so pay close attention. Very nice.

Now, the nosing.

It smelled like canned tomato paste. Had I followed my routine, I would have been a bit disappointed by the transition, as if I’d read an introduction which set the stage for a cookbook, but the story itself was a thriller. Not that it couldn’t work, rather it’s just too unusual.

This whiskey will indeed be gathered among the favorites. And by the way, I’ve discovered a workaround for the nosing. Feel free to give it a try.