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20160217_205812Ready-to-eat breakfast cereal has been around since the 1860s and still no one seems to be able to design cereal packaging that is easy to open. And by “easy,” first I mean a bag that doesn’t require fingers capable of producing 5,000 pounds of pinch force and arms of equal torque to pull it apart; and second, when the bag does finally open, it doesn’t do so in a blinding flash of cereal erupting to all corners of the kitchen from an exploded box and a jaggedly disfigured bag.

“Why don’t you just use scissors?” you ask.

To your inquiry, I would simply say, “You shouldn’t have to start your day that way. You shouldn’t have to go through the rather demeaning process of feeling like less of a man only a few minutes after you’ve awakened because you can’t get the cereal packaging opened. And then to make it worse, you find it necessary to do the loser’s march to the junk drawer to get the scissors. How about giving the modern consumer something to eat at 5:00 a.m. that doesn’t require a demonstration of his upper body strength combined with fine motor skills right after he has been asleep for eight hours? How about just giving us a package we can open?”

There are certain breakfast cereals that are worse than others.

I can usually get a box of Cap’n Crunch opened with relative ease. The same goes for Honey Nut Cheerios. But you’d better take an aspirin before trying to open the bag inside of a box of Life cereal. In fact, I’m fearful that it could be rather dangerous to anyone with a heart condition. The over-exertion might cause a heart attack. Maybe they should just change the name of the cereal to “Afterlife” since that is a distinct possibility.


This one deserved to die.

And how about Lucky Charms? I know how that cereal got its name. There are few lucky ones who can actually open the bag without incident. Oh yeah, and it takes the magical assistance of a leprechaun.

How about this instead… Rather than paying an illustrator to drape the box with a multitude of seizure-inducing graphics, just slap a cheap crossword puzzle on there and then give the rest of the money to an engineer who has been tasked with designing a fool-proof package, one that we, the members of the 5 a.m. brigade, can open effortlessly.

Having now said all of this, believe it or not there is a parallel between vexing cereal boxes and whisky. It is simply that while some whiskies, as with certain cereal boxes, open up cleanly and with great ease, there are those with a paleness about them which makes it seem as though they remain closed, that is, they are stubbornly retaining their charisma. This is what I experienced when I removed the cap of the Johnnie Walker Black and poured a little into my glass. The initial impression was that this particular whisky would need a little extra coaxing to detect its peculiarities.

And so I swirled and tipped the glass, spinning the whisky in one direction and then slowing it to a halt in order to reverse course. In the midst of the commotion, I did manage to expose the edition enough so that what seemed like warm applesauce and brandy was able to steal up and out of the glass.

On the palate, this edition needs little assistance. With an unimposing measure of smoke breezing by an assortment of nut breads, it is here that the whisky turns from its beginning as “Johnnie Standing Still” to “Johnnie Walker.”

The finish is so-so, nothing too exciting. The breads return, except now they’ve been coupled with fruit – blueberries and bananas.

If it were proper, I’d suggest the possibility of Johnnie Walker Black Label as a part of a balanced breakfast. I speak only for myself when I say that sometimes, after a go in the ring with a box of Frosted Mini Wheats, a sip of whisky might be the calming difference between getting the scissors or a quarter stick of dynamite.