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I have a terrible back. There isn’t a day that it doesn’t hurt. That being said, I’m willing to do just about anything to make it better. That also being said, have you ever had spinal surgery without sedation? I can now say that I have.

It’s called a Rhizotomy. I won’t go into all the grisly details, but essentially it’s the cauterization of nerves in the spine by way of a radio frequency device fed through needles. The kicker is that the patient is fully aware during the procedure, having been given only a local anesthetic for the initial entry of the probing ungodlinesses. But everything else below the skin is kept awake, and this is required. Even with an x-ray device guiding him, the doctor needs help from the victim. He must ask questions of the patient while twisting the probes into place, pushing in and pulling out slightly, making sure he’s in the right spot before he turns up the dial on the probe and sets fire to the nerves between the vertebrae.

Sounds painful, doesn’t it? Well, it is. Today I had this done in four different locations in my lower back, and just to be clear, the whole thing was the longest forty-five minutes of my life. Well, maybe not the longest. But it sure was pretty close. That time I found myself surrounded by sharks sure felt like an eternity. Oh yeah, and I was arrested in Russia, once. That was an uncertain hour I spent in the back of the police car. Still, what happened to me today was nothing short of the Dark Ages. If I didn’t know any better, I’d have guessed I’d been captured and strapped to a bed by Templars intent on extracting information about the location of the Holy Grail.

I prayed the Psalms the whole time I was being stabbed. Psalm 27, in particular.

When I finally got home, I went straight to my whisky cabinet, reached into the “unopened” section, and took the very first bottle my fingers touched. Who cares if it was only 10:30 in the morning? Do you think that mattered all that much to a guy who just survived an early morning inquisition? I needed a little more than a glass of water. Thankfully, the Redemption Bourbon was there to greet me.

The nose is honey and apples. There’s a distant tinge of something like allspice at the end of the inhalation, but if it was intentional, you should know that it barely serves as the accessory it was meant to be.

The palate is something doddering near the edge of Bourbon-ness. I say this because the first prod seems to be that of something syrupy—cherry pie filling atop a spongy vanilla cake. But no sooner than you suspect such thickness, it thins into a kindlier kneading of freshly baked apple muffins sprinkled with almond powder. It seems to move away from what one might expect from a typical Bourbon. It’s really rather nice.

The finish is a medium coating, not only of the allspice and honey, but of the apple, by this time very faint, and yet still there.

Not bad for a post-surgery dram. Although, in contrast to the drink’s preceding events, I suppose that even a dram of Scoresby would have been acceptable.

Wait. What am I saying? Scratch that. I’ve met Scoresby and I can assure you that I’ll always choose to endure sedation-less spine surgery before drinking that formaldehyde-like sauce. In fact, if in my capture I discover that Scoresby is my only choice, I’d give up the Grail before my very first blink in custody.