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20160401_105823Are there rules with regard to the types of tricks that can or cannot be played on April Fool’s Day? I mean, are they allowed to be shocking enough to make your children cry?

First, you should know it wasn’t my intention to make them cry. Well, only one of them cried, but still, I almost started crying when the child’s tears began to flow. I felt pretty bad. And second, it wasn’t like I included death in the mix. I didn’t gather and hold them close and say something like, “Hey guys, I just got off the phone with the police. Momma’s not coming home ever again.”

We had a pretty decent storm yesterday and then some rain last night, so this morning, I asked if any of them had been in the basement yet. I knew they hadn’t. When each affirmed they were unaware of the condition of the basement, I told them it had flooded the previous evening and all of their basement possessions were destroyed – the ping-pong table, the book shelves and their hundreds of books, and all of the other favorites they keep in the sub-level play area – everything was ruined.

Shock and silence painted their faces. At once, they ran toward the basement door and bolted down the steps. The tears started along the way.

When they arrived and could see that all was in order and everything was as it should be, I said, “April Fools.”

“Daddy!” two shouted in time. “That’s not funny!” The tears became more abundant for the third, who said nothing. Maybe they were just tears of relief.

I shed a few tears of relief when I tried the Benromach 2003 Cask Strength (10 Years Old, 58.2%). I say this because while I’ve reviewed about a gazillion different whiskies, at the time of this review, the only other Benromach edition that I’d ever tried was the Benromach 21-year-old, and if you’ve read the review, then you know that it is one of my prize whiskies. It holds a special place in my heart. And so the bar for the Benromach distillery was already set very high.

The 2003 Cask Strength edition met, and perhaps exceeded, the bar.

There’s a little bit of peat in the nose – not much – but enough to get your attention. Following the smoke’s minimal trace back to its source, you find yourself passing through a forest of pine, pausing at a dark-seeded berry patch beside a pair of green apple trees, and ending at a quaint campfire kindled from old farmhouse floor boards.

The palate is a similar visitation, but along the way comes what is noted on the bottles labeling – malt, vanilla, and black pepper. I’d add blackberries to the lineup.

The finish is magnificent. In medium stride, the whisky shakes a little more pepper onto the tongue but then sweeps it to the back and then into memory on a drop of malted vanilla.

I’ll close by saying that I thought about writing this review in a way that would make you think I despised the whisky, calling out “April Fools” at midpoint, and then giving you the hard news of my joy. I decided against such a course, namely because I’ve seen enough tears today already, but also because I’m certain that iterating such treacherously false things against this fine whisky would be a violation of whatever existential laws are in place for April Fool’s Day.