I really don’t watch very much TV, but of the little that I do, there’s a particular commercial that makes me laugh almost every time I view it. But it isn’t meant to be funny. It is meant to be informative. It includes testimonials and analytical comparisons and “Made in the USA” credentials. It even touts the product’s esteemed placement as the official item of choice for a particular association.
The company is called MyPillow, and they sell… well… pillows. The company’s claim is that they have managed to design the perfect pillow, one that will give you the best night sleep you’ve ever experienced.
Great. Sounds like a winner. Here’s what makes me laugh.
Only a few moments into the commercial, a testifying gentleman sitting with his wife beside him says rather plainly, “I never realized the connection between a pillow and sleep.”
In my opinion, admitting that you’ve never realized the connection between a pillow and sleep is a bit like saying you’ve not quite bridged the gap between the alphabet and words, or that you were utterly surprised when you discovered the connection between fuel and a car’s unassisted forward motion. It causes me to wonder further what other obviosities have managed to slip past this poor fellow. Is he aware of the connection between water and thirst? Does he know of the collegiality of the tongue and speaking?
Now I know that my analysis of this man’s testimonial may seem a bit harsh, and so I’m willing to forfeit the folly as resting more so upon the shoulders of those who produced the commercial. What he said was probably scripted, although he should get an Academy Award for his delivery of the line because it was incredibly believable. But since this particular line made it into the final cut, I get the impression that the marketers behind the commercial think we are truly ignorant. And maybe they’re right. Maybe we are. Maybe as a society we’ve become so obliviously disconnected with the elementary things in our lives, that when confronted by the obvious, it’s rather startling – and enough so that we’d be willing to sit through a sixty second presentation about it and then pay top dollar to acquire it online.
Within the whisky sphere, there’s a similar level of “obvious” that needs discussing, and in order to begin the conversation, I’d like to mention a question that was asked of me rather recently.
“Hey, Reverend, can you recommend a good Scotch for under $25?”
When I read these words from the email, I immediately thought of the MyPillow commercial, except I pictured the man giving his testimony a bit differently: “I never realized the connection between a whisky and its price.”
My first question to the inquisitor, “What do you mean by ‘good’?”
The response: “I don’t know. I guess something I won’t be embarrassed to share with my friends who know more about Scotch than I do.”
I followed, “Prices vary, but they are a pretty good indicator as to the quality of the bottle’s contents. Considering the prices here in Michigan, no, I cannot recommend a good Scotch for under $25. I can recommend an almost drinkable Scotch for under $25. I can recommend an okay Scotch for under $40. I become a bit more comfortable referring to and recommending a Scotch as good when you at least reach the $60 mark. There is almost always a connection between the quality of the whisky and the price tag. I know there will be plenty folks who argue the point, but I believe the axiom to be fairly reliable – you get what you pay for.”
Take for example the Kirkland Blended Scotch Whisky.
My dad saw this and picked it up while navigating the thoroughfares of the local Costco. It was a kind gesture, but at $25 for 1.75 L, the imbiber’s expectations shouldn’t be set too loftily. There’s a reason one can buy a jug o’ whisky for a quarter of the price that a higher end whisky might demand.
The Kirkland’s nose is stingy, holding back from promising anything meaningful at all. There is a faint trace of what seems a little like the juice at the bottom of a package of uncooked hotdogs. A good Scotch should not smell like raw hotdog juice.
The palate is a waxy clump of salted macaroni noodles doused with ketchup. It reminds me of the meals I was served while working within various orphanages in Russia. A bowl of macaroni noodles and ketchup was pretty much the lunchtime staple.
The finish is the only moment in the experience that renders something Scotch-like. Malt arrives on the scene, but no sooner than it lands is it overcome by a drop of what seems to be high fructose corn syrup. It makes you wonder how the folks at Costco managed to squeeze you for $25. Surely the teenager charged with the endcap from which you retrieved this edition was confused. I’m thinking that he mistakenly placed the decimal point one digit too far to the right. $2.50 sounds about right.
I know there will be folks out in the whisky blogosphere who will read this review and scold me, once again calling me a whisky snob. That’s okay. I’ll do my best to subdue my befuddled giggling as I continue to behold the detachment between pillows and sleep as well as whisky and price.