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New Oak 17I dropped off my 10-year-old daughter at dance class tonight and then returned an hour later to retrieve her. I feel I need to let you know that something very important was revealed to me in the event. I am absolutely convinced that if a zombie apocalypse begins, it will have had its beginnings in the lobby of my daughter’s dance studio.

It is in no way hyperbole to say that the lobby is only a tad larger than an average sized restaurant bathroom, at the most being about 10 feet wide by 12 feet deep.

Now imagine, if you are able, the transition from one class of ten students to another class of twelve. Add to the mix a scattered mess of dance bags, shoes, and coats strewn across the floor. In between, the parents attempting to depart are working to re-shoe and re-dress their children before going out into the cold while the incoming group is attempting to do the opposite.

If you are claustrophobic, this place isn’t for you. No matter where you stand, if you move at all, you are practically making out with the person next to you. Bend down to help your child and your face will be in someone else’s nether-regions. It’s overly warm, uncomfortably crowded, and smells of unbathed toddlers who lied about brushing their teeth that morning.

As I said, the zombie outbreak is sure to begin in this lobby.

But not to worry, my friends. Not only am I prepared when I walk in, wearing a riot helmet and having duct-taped magazines to my forearms to protect my most defensive and yet most vulnerable limbs from a zombie ambush, but I also keep a pretty regular regiment of Scotch whisky consumption – at least one dram a night.

I’m old school.

There are plenty of folk stories about werewolves and vampires gobbling up the countryside, but never do you stumble across early American or European fables about zombie outbreaks. That’s because alcohol has forever been considered a staple in both the new world and the old for fending off sickness. It doesn’t work well with curses. Everybody knows that. But when it comes to the infectious undead, it’s obviously pretty reliable.

I intend to be virus free when the world begins to come undone.

Anyway, tonight’s pre-apocalyptic inoculation involved a tantalizing gem that’s been haunting me for a few years now from the cabinet where I keep my prized whiskies: The Balvenie New Oak 17-year-old.

Surprisingly, when I pulled the cork to catch its redolence, I smelled something incredibly familiar, and so I traveled around my cabinet popping the corks on other editions until finally I arrived at the Dufftown 15-year-old. In my opinion, these whiskies smell nearly the same.

The New Oak is a zephyr of citrus and nutty vanilla. And in that same breeze is an inclusion of roasted almonds.

Slightly soured wood arrives in the palate, which sadly, I find to be rather undesirable. It is reminiscent of a youthful, unbalanced Bourbon. There is a notion of Speyside honey on the tongue that brings it back to Scotland, and for that, I am grateful.

The citrus returns in the finish, although it doesn’t stay long. Had the vanilla faded as quickly, I would have dubbed it short, but it really is more of a medium vanishing.

So, remember, my good lad, that which is required of a man in the end days. First, avoid the lobby of your daughter’s dance class. Second, if you must brave the lobby, do not – I repeat – do not stoop down to help your daughter with her shoes. And third, sip a fine dram at least once a day. Not necessarily The Balvenie New Oak, although it would certainly be counted as acceptable.