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There is an assisted living facility that I visit quite often that has lengthy corridors webbing out to the residents’ apartments. Each is abundantly decorated with ready-made portraits of all sorts. Because I appreciate art, while passing through, I’ll sometimes stop to examine the images.
Over the years of visiting the facility, I’ve noticed a theme.
Nearly all of the portraits are depictions of youth – a child praying beside his bed, a young couple dancing on a beach, a youthful woman receiving the proposal of a baby-faced suitor, a sturdy and animated farmhand swinging his scythe in a field of wheat, a shirtless boy in overalls riding a horse, a mother guarding the cradle of her newborn – so many images of what used to be but is no longer.
I suppose the case could be made that these are the best kinds of portraits to hang among a population of people being carried by the tide of humanness into their twilight years. I mean, what else are you going to put on the walls? Pictures of people in wheelchairs or folks struggling to put tennis balls on the feet of their walkers? Probably not.
The images adorning the walls of the residence are the images of family and friendships and vocation. They are the images of vibrancy. They are the images life.
I have a favorite of the bunch. I like it because it’s out of step with the theme. It’s a Victorian style painting depicting a Greco-Roman era scene. In it, there is a middle-aged woman standing near a table holding a clay water pitcher very loosely in one hand – so loosely it leaves the impression that she might drop it at any moment and see it shatter into pieces across the tile floor beneath her.
Attempting to carry the theme of “youth” to this image, I would suggest that while all the other portraits throughout the building are revealing various facets of life’s abundancy, we are also to keep in mind that it is fragile and fleeting. One moment it is here, all the while holding the possibility that in the next it may be gone – like a clay water pitcher falling to the floor.
In the end, the lesson is learned: Each moment is its own to be appreciated.
There are certain whiskies deserving of such philosophical contemplation, even if only in microscopic comparison to the nostalgic ramblings above. The Virginia Distillery Company’s “Port Finished” edition is one of them.
I’m guessing that since this is the only edition listed on the company’s website that it is merely a repackaging of the “Virginia Highland Malt Whisky” edition I tried earlier this year. The magnificent bottle garlanded with the more exquisite label would suggest that the distillery is gaining a footing, and for that I’m glad. They deserve it.
And yet, I wonder if the formula has changed, even if slightly, because I noted some differences.
In the nose, the vapors are so distinctly rich with fruity port that I wonder if it’s even necessary to put the words “Port Finished” on the label. Very simply, the whisky smells like a full-bodied and well-refined wine.
The palate reveals a note of honeyed citrus given a miniscule pinch of pepper and gently kissed with smoke. Not a full on smooch, just a peck.
The finish is delightfully long, leaving a trail of summery Mourisco Tinto black grapes – one of the best grape varieties for Port.
I intend to move through this bottle very slowly, very patiently, allowing plenty of time to cherish all that the whisky is and will continue to be until the bottle is empty and I must let go.