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20161227_145303Like everyone else on the planet, I received word recently that Carrie Fisher passed away, and the news was a bit jarring to this man’s frame.

This is true, not just because I love Star wars, but because I spent a good portion of my childhood, whether using action figures or role-playing with particular neighborhood kids, living out the treacherous battles I’d seen transmitted to the silver screen from a galaxy far, far away.

And many of those backyard battles involved rescuing Leia, the feisty princess from Aldoraan who’d more than entranced most boys my age. With a light saber in hand that looked an awful lot like a whiffle ball bat, I’d fight through Vader and his Storm Troopers, swinging and blocking and sending laser blasts into the surrounding atmosphere until I finally reached her cell, which was almost always in the same location—a thinned cove-like area between two pine trees in the neighbor girl’s yard.

It was there that we’d find and rescue Johanna… I mean… Princess Leia.

Well, since I just mentioned her, I should say that just like Carrie Fisher and the character of Leia, Johanna was tough enough on her own. She could pretty much beat down any one of her rescuers. And on occasion, she did.

Nevertheless, having heard the news of Fisher’s death, there came a sudden resurgence of these warming memories, enough so that I was moved to open and then lift a dram from an unopened edition to Star Wars, my old neighborhood compatriots, my backyard and the alley at its border, the pine trees in the neighbor’s yard, all of my old Star Wars ships and action figures, and finally to Carrie Fisher—to Princess Leia. Looking out into the wetlands behind my home, the sun setting in a way reminiscent of Luke Skywalker’s dramatic view of the dual suns beyond Tatooine in Episode IV, I offered thanks and sipped to what once was but will be no more.

The Ardbeg Dark Cove was this scruffy-lookin’ nerf herder’s choice, and it was most suitable to the occasion.

The peat smoke-filled nose of this Islay dram is the beginning of a sweeter wind carrying dusky fruits—blackberries and dark cherries—followed by a settling ocean breeze of salty cocoa butter and a thick, freshly baked brownie with chocolate syrup.

The palate is an equally enchanting twirl of the dark berries and chocolate sodden with peat smoke. A longer savor—and I mean one that you swish up and through your teeth and gums—reveals an oily nuttiness that you may have suspected in the nose’s brownie but couldn’t quite confirm.

The finish is on the edge of short to medium, and this may surprise you. I certainly didn’t expect it to be gone so soon. I was thoughtlessly anticipating more—more liveliness, more of a lasting involvement. And yet it was a clean conclusion of trace berries, mild peat, and little bit of sour.

There it was with such vibrancy, and then it was gone.

Just like Carrie. Just like Leia.