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20160410_143043Sipping her milkshake, my wife acknowledges that our two daughters are so very different.

With passionate seriousness, she notes that she wants nothing more than for our oldest daughter, Madeline – who is pretty much the most loving, considerate, benevolent, and genuinely kind-hearted human being to inhabit the earth since the incarnate Christ – to find the “one” who will love and care for her before she has to experience the treachery of post-modern suitors and the dreadfulness of heartbreak.

On the other hand, our youngest daughter, Evelyn, is a completely different story. While we wish the same for her, we also know that she’ll most likely be the heartbreaker. No, really. We fully expect for her to punch a hole into the chest of any guy who hurts her, pull out his heart, and break it in front of him while he gasps to say “I’m sorry” for whatever it was he did and then he dies in a foaming plash of his own blood.

Madeline is sensitive and shy. Evelyn is not. Another example…

I took Madeline to her dance lessons one evening. I walked her into the studio, gave her a hug, and then headed back out the car. Evelyn was in tow. Just as I started the car and was about to leave, Madeline came running toward us crying.

“I don’t see anyone else from my class,” she said as a tear peek out from behind her eyelid, “and I don’t know where to go. I don’t know if I have class tonight.”

Before I could offer a word of assurance, Evelyn – her five-year-old sister – was unbuckled and out the door, taking her by the hand and directing, “Let’s go, Maddy.”

I followed them inside, all the while watching Evelyn push through the crowd, still leading Madeline along. She marched straight up to the instructor, pulled at her sweater, and rather insistently pestered, “Miss Danielle, where is my sister supposed to go? Does she have class tonight or not?”

Miss Danielle leaned down to tell her that Madeline’s class had been moved to a different night because of the rehearsals for the recital and that a note went home about it.
“Okay, then,” Evelyn said concluding the situation. “Let’s go, Maddy,” and back to the car they went.

Now, flip the coin.

Madeline is always the first of angels to descend to Evelyn’s aid when she needs to know how to do a cartwheel, or put peanut butter on her bread without ripping it to shreds, or bandage a wound after a savage street fight. Well, maybe not a street fight. More like a scrape from a trip and fall.

They are both very different, and yet they are sisters – born from the same womb, woven from the same DNA, and replete with the same bloodline.

I suppose a similar comparison could be made of the various editions of the Kilchoman Machir Bay.

Back in 2014 I had the unfortunate opportunity to purchase and try the 2012 release, and while so many Kilchoman disciples scoffed at my words as being unusually harsh toward a well-beloved potation, I wrote what I wrote because that’s what came out of the bottle. Some suggested I’d tried a spoiled bottle, and I suppose that could be true, although I’ve sipped the 2012 edition again since then and I was not impressed. I just think it sucks.

kilchoman-machir-bay_2015But the 2015 – sent into the world from the same mother as the 2012 – is a different story.

It’s better.

Now don’t get excited. It isn’t knock-your-socks-off better. And while I am thankful for the encouragement to give it another go by way of the sample provided, still, it’s okay, and yet I remain unconvinced that I’ll ever be moved to cough up the cash to buy this stuff again.

The nose of the 2015 edition is something like the lettuce starting to decompose at the bottom of the prepackaged spring mix that sat beyond its expiration date at the grocery store. In other words, it has a vegetal scent, but it gives off a little more of a sourness than I’d expect or prefer from something finished in the embrace of Oloroso sherry.

The palate rescues the dram by throwing in a rather complex life-preserver of singed lemon and vanilla rum attached to and being towed by a thin line of sugar.

Unlike the 2012 edition’s medium finish, the 2015’s is a longer draw of honeyed oil and soot. Not terrible, but in my opinion, it still has a long way to go before deserving the badge of “super-awesome” that some fanatics seem to have pinned upon it.

This reminds me of the effort my girls (and my boys, for that matter) put into cleaning their rooms.

“We’re done,” I hear the children call from the upstairs. I make my way up the staircase knowing full well that it won’t be the last climb for inspection.

After a brief scan, “Ah, my dearest little ones,” I say with a sincere heart of patience, “you remind me of the Kilchoman Machir Bay Scotch Whisky.” Disregarding the flummoxed stares, I continue, “Nice try, but… no. There is much to be accomplished before this can be called ‘good.’”