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20160529_160539He thought for a moment and then asked, “Pastor, do you believe in UFOs?”

“Why, yes, I do actually,” I answered without hesitation.

A bit surprised, the Lutheran begged more, “But doesn’t that go against the Bible?”

“You asked if I believed in UFOs – unidentified flying objects – and I said that I do.”


I interrupted the inquisitor before he could blow a gasket.

“As a kid who grew up with an older brother,” I continued definitively, “UFOs were rather common.”

“They were?”

“Yeah,” I said. “But they were only unidentifiable for the first few milliseconds that they were in flight. Once they ricocheted from the side of my head and landed on the ground, I was usually able to identify them.”

I kept going.

“Most often I discovered that they were things like tennis balls or rocks. Once I was even hit by a dead frog. And trust me, the propulsion system for these mysterious phenomena isn’t all that advanced.”

“Pastor,” he clarified, “I meant aliens. Do you believe in aliens?”

“I’d have to say yes to that, too,” I poked. “In fact, wasn’t Donald Trump talking about building a wall to keep them out?”

Getting my point, he went for complete clarity.

“Do you believe that there may be beings from outer space, aliens that come from other worlds and have traveled to earth in spaceships of some sort?”

“Ah,” I said. “Now I get what you mean.”

Of course, I knew what he was asking the first time he asked it, but this was a chance to show the importance of language precision before leading into a discussion on the theology of “justification,” and this eventually led to the recommendation of Robert Preus’ book Justification and Rome. In part, Preus does a fine job in the volume of showing how even though certain denominations may be using the same words, they often carry very different meanings along with those words. In an attempt to use language for clarity, ambiguity and confusion emerges. With this, it becomes necessary to ask the right questions and to carefully define the words in the questions in order that the avenues of thought behind each aren’t hidden.

We behold politicians employing the loopholes in imprecise questioning on a fairly regular basis. It’s only when persistent exactitude is employed that the foolishness of their evasion begins to truly shine through. Take for example former president Bill Clinton. I’m pretty sure he holds the pole position in the race with his infamous line before a grand jury in 1998 regarding his affair with Monica Lewinski: “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

What a dope.

So what does any of this have to do with the Auchentoshan Classic? Well, the word “classic” has me puzzled. What do they mean by this, exactly?

Webster takes a stab at defining the word by offering: “Generally considered to be of the highest quality or lasting value, especially in the arts; authoritative and perfect as a standard of its kind.” A few of the other definitions offered carry the same flavor. But then there’s this one: “Something that is comically or ironically apropos.”

I’m genuinely sad here because, while I’ve never been disappointed by Auchentoshan whiskies, I feel as though I need to choose that final definition. Compared to all the other Auchentoshan editions I’ve tried, the Classic is not necessarily of “lasting value” or “authoritative as a standard of its kind,” unless that value and authoritative standard means what it means for other basic, no big deal, middle shelf whiskies.

The nose proves right away that this stuff is going be a lightweight compared to others. There’s very little to intrigue the wishful imbiber. Really concentrating, I’d say there’s a faint sprig of lilac and some canned pineapple, the metal can which houses the pineapple being the prominent scent.

A reasonable sip carefully savored sees a pinch of salt and the pineapple becoming a lemon. There’s also a little bit of something like coconut milk. It’s not necessarily bad, just incredibly faint.

The finish is fairly swift, leaving behind a little bit of a salt. The coconut milk has become thinned, unripened honey.

Did I like this stuff? Good question. I think so. It’s way better than something like J&B, and it certainly deserves a place above Label 5, but I wouldn’t feel right setting it beside its own – like the Three Wood, or even the 12-year-old. There’s much more to be found in those than there is in the Classic edition.

But that didn’t answer your question, did it? How about this for precision… It’s good enough that if it shows up in my cabinet, I’d probably drink it. It’s ambiguously unexciting enough that my favorite go-to editions would need to be awfully close to empty before I’d reach for it.

And so, before I forget… Do I believe there are such things as beings from outer space, aliens that come from other worlds, having visited earth in spaceships?

No. I don’t. I could tell you why, but that’s the narrative for a different whisky.