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20170206_195742Reality TV. Puke.

How real is it, truly? Probably not very. I mean, these folks can’t be for real. She’s gotta be, what, fifteen? And he couldn’t be much older… with that trimmed Prince-like beard. He’s an engineer? She’s an interior designer? They were approved for a mortgage? And the budget is… wait… what? Seven hundred thousand?! I wouldn’t even let these two kids jump off of the high dive at the public pool without their parents signing a waiver and then getting it notarized. And even then, I’d make these tots wear life preservers. There’s no way they’re old enough for anything they’re doing right now.

As you may have guessed, I’m sitting in my chair, computer on my lap, and the blinding glory of house hunting millennials on HGTV.

I didn’t choose this channel. Jennifer did.

“You’re kidding me?!” she gasps. “Five hundred thousand for that?!”

I look up to see little Susie and Jimmy admitting to the ugliness of the home, but also talking about how they could spend the remaining $200,000 to make it—in their words—livable.

I say they should spend it to make the show watchable.

Good thing I have this sample of J.P. Wiser’s Last Barrels 14-year-old edition in hand to get me through this brain rot. It is one of several samples sent to me by a kindhearted friend from Canada who took a chance at sharing a few of his favorites; and what makes the gifting so tremendous is that my friend did so even as he was well aware that I might say before the multitudes—you—what I’ve said about so many other Canadian whiskies that have crossed my path. Sure, I’ve discovered one that goes well on pancakes (actually, scratch that; it ruined a perfectly good stack of flapjacks), I’m yet to sip one that is worth my hard earned dollars.pancakes02

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But I have a feeling that’s about to change when I start popping open the various samples, because this Last Barrels edition isn’t half bad. In fact, it’s really pretty good.

The nose of this Canadian bauble is a friendly handshake and kindly track of butterscotch that’s trying really hard to be caramel. A swig reveals that the butterscotch is a little saltier than expected—but this is a good thing because it reveals a balance between the sweetness and the warmth of the alcohol. There’s also some woodiness to the palate, but it isn’t until the finish that the spiced oak truly reveals itself.

20170206_195617Again, I like this stuff. In fact, I’m at the edge of suggesting that some of our American whiskey producers could learn a thing or two from the folks at J.P. Wiser’s.

I wonder if the producers of America’s lame television selections could learn anything from the Canadians. I mean they did give us “Kids in the Hall,” Lorne Michaels, and so many other concretely entertaining shows and people. I recently discovered the “Trailer Park Boys” on Netflix. Now that’s superior reality TV for you, right there. Albeit staged liked “The Office,” but still, quality stuff. It’s like watching someone gut a talking fish. It doesn’t make sense, is humorous in an existential sort of way, and it’s guts are on display.

Okay, so I may be somewhat of a walking contradiction when it comes to discerning quality TV, but I do know my whiskies. Give the J.P. Wiser’s Last Barrels a try. It won’t disappoint.

Now, may we please change the channel and watch something a little more intellectually stirring—something like “Finding Bigfoot” or “Drunk History”?

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* Thanks for the samples, George! I’m looking forward to trying the others!