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20160519_175042I think if I were imprisoned for any particular reason, I’d do well in solitary confinement, especially as I consider what Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet said recently about Christian guys like me in this post culture-war environment. He referred to us as “the functional equivalent of racists and Nazis” and said we need to be dealt with as such, which means prison and death.

I wonder what color the prison jumpsuits are these days. Are they still orange? I guess it probably depends on the prison.

Of course, I wouldn’t choose prison or solitary confinement. I’m just saying that solitary confinement probably wouldn’t work as a punitive measure in my case because I’d most likely spend my time collecting and creating stories in my mind. I’d quietly sing hymns and practice rhymes. I’d whisper works that I know by heart, whether they be from the Six Chief Parts of Luther’s Small Catechism, or jovial bits of prose by Shel Silverstein. I’d probably pass the time not all that bothered by the deliberate sensory deprivation being imposed upon me because on any given day, I already have more sensory emittances than I know what to do with. The quiet, contemplative time would only serve me in gathering more.

I think Albert Einstein sort of agreed with me when he said, “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” I’m not so sure he was thinking on prison, and yet, when it comes to monotony and solitude, it certainly fits. And if Tushnet gets his way, a quiet man leading a quiet life in a quiet little room with a steel door I shall be.

In the meantime, let’s ponder another “Quiet Man” of sorts. I won’t go into the history of the Irish phrase “an fear ciuin,” which essentially is an endearing, almost reverent reference to a barkeep as a quiet man, or someone who listens to you confess and can be counted on to never reveal your secrets. Instead of spending time chasing that down, what I will do instead is tell you why this relatively obscure whiskey is worth your time, that is, as long as you still retain your freedom and are able to acquire it.

My good friend Sean Jonna sent me home from his shop one afternoon with this as a gift. Putting it into the sack, he assured me that he liked it a lot and that knowing me, I probably would, too. While I was grateful, I wasn’t sure that I’d like it as much as he suspected. Irish whiskies, like Bourbons, are a finicky bout for me. I struggle to enjoy them. They have plenty to offer when it comes to essences and flavor, but Irish whiskies just seem to retain the medicinal alcohol nip that so many other whiskies manage to avoid. Still, I thanked him and promised him an honest review. Good or bad, I would share the experience.

The nose of The Quiet Man is a gentle ablution of malt, citrus, light brown sugar, with barely a draft of something chemical – just barely.

Once you have this stuff in your mouth, the chemical you thought you smelled before becomes a more noticeable metallic flavor. The brown sugar is there, and so are the mandarins, but it seems a little bit like they’ve been warmed on the stove in a tin cup. Surprisingly, it isn’t all that bad. It’s a new arrangement that one would consider trying again.

The finish gives over something new – vanilla – but this comes and goes so swiftly that you need another quick sip and swallow to say for sure that’s what it was. The rest of what the dram has already communicated stays a bit longer before drifting away quietly into memory.

The Quiet Man is one whiskey that is strange enough that I think I might miss it if I was ever imprisoned – but not enough to trade favors with anyone on my cell block in order to secure it. It’s an okay dram, but not that okay.