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20160515_183913I heard from an Irish friend that there’s a reason that Jesus wasn’t born in Ireland. It’s because He’d be hard pressed to find three wise men and a virgin. No offense is meant here. I think Irish folks are great. First, these are the words of an Irishman; and second, I’ve never been to Ireland and I don’t know the hidden mind of God, so in all honesty, I can’t say for sure if that’s what Jesus was thinking or not. Sounds plausible, though.

I heard from an English friend that the Irish are skilled diplomats, so much so that they could tell you to go to hell and you’d look forward to the trip. Again, I don’t necessarily know if this is true because I’ve never met a real live Irish diplomat. Although Chaim Herzog, a child of Belfast, raised in Dublin and an ambassador of Israel to the United Nations, gave a brilliant speech in 1975 spurning the resolution proposed by the Arab states entitled “Zionism is Racisim,” and the speech, in my mind, is one of the greatest ever given. I suspect that this diplomatic idiom could be true. Still, I doubt the cinematic views of hell’s landscape have much on Detroit, which I already see more than I prefer.

There is one thing that I know with absolute certainty – Irish whiskey has a very strong body of devoted disciples. Strangely, I learned this while a student at a Lutheran seminary. There were a few men on campus who were so fanatical that, on Friday nights, they went around door-to-door like Jehovah’s Witnesses, preaching the good news of the Irish whiskey they’d be pouring in their dorm rooms later that evening. I did to them what I do to every other cultist knocking at my door. With Scotch in hand, I threaten to call the cops.

Anyway, the devotion to Irish whiskey is stronger than most. In fact, maybe you could think of the devotion in this way: What’s the difference between an Irish whiskey disciple and God? God doesn’t wander around all day thinking He’s an Irish whiskey disciple.

Do you get it? I hope so. Because this is the jeopardy into which I cast myself when I put the Teeling Whiskey Small Batch edition under the microscope and then face off with those who have a sense of the divine about themselves, telling them…well…this stuff is…sort of, okay.

I thought I sensed mint in the Teeling’s nosing, but the alcohol smell sure was overwhelming, so much so that it seemed to cast everything else it was offering as mere silhouettes.

The palate matches the nose in that the alcohol is strong, muscling out what so desperately desires to be vanilla and spiced citrus.

In the finish, there’s a nictate of the rum casks used to bring this whiskey to completion, but again, the alcohol bite shoves it away, making the rum far too short while retaining an overall sourness that carries the finish further than one would prefer.

Having said all of this, I’m fully prepared to receive a few death threats here and there from the enthusiasts. That’s okay. But what you must realize is that while you may be inclined to tell me to go to hell, as a pastor, I can actually give you directions.