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“When I get older,” Evelyn said unprompted at the breakfast table, “I’m going to get a motorcycle.”

“Really?” I asked, not knowing why the thought came to her mind. “I used to have a motorcycle,” I added to the conversation. “But I sold it before Momma and I got married.”


“She didn’t really like it, and I wanted to make her happy.”

“You did?”

“Yeah. And I also needed the money to help pay for our wedding.”

“Oh,” she said, giving a look to show she was pondering my words. “Well,” she began again, “when I get a motorcycle, I’m going to get one with a sidecar.”

“A sidecar?” I asked, although my questioning was purely rhetorical. Based on the experience with her mother that I’d shared the moment prior, I expected her answer to be one designed to include her future husband in her two-wheeled adventures.

“Yep. I want a motorcycle with a sidecar.”

“Why a sidecar?”

“For my duck,” she said plainly.

“Your duck?”

“Yes. I’ll need one for my duck.”

“You lost me,” I added just as plainly and took a sip of my coffee. “I don’t know where you’re going with this.”

“That’s okay,” she said, putting her hand on mine. “You’ll probably be dead before any of this happens, anyway.”

And there you have it. Except this time, instead of the little girl’s yarn of thinking making a single twist, it made two. She’s getting a duck, and I’ll be dead before it happens. Both of these declarations were unexpected.

I’ve learned to expect the unexpected from all of my kids. Every time I think one thing will happen, something entirely different transpires. It’s often the same in the world of whiskey, which ended up being the case with the Traverse City Whiskey Company’s American Cherry Edition. I expected this lower proof dram to be a syrupy disappointment, perhaps only suitable as a dessert drink for newbies attempting the nightlife in the whiskey’s namesake city. But with each phase of the conversation, there were twists in its story, and each was surprisingly pleasant.

With the cork on the table, a nosing straight from the bottle gives in to expectations—thick, sugary cherries. Nothing but cherries. A moment in the Glencairn and a little bit of Bourbon spice arrives on the scene. This was unexpected. At such a low ABV, I expected nothing more than the smell of artificially candied water. But it wasn’t. It was just lively enough to remind you that it’s whiskey.

I experienced the same with the palate. With the first sip, the cherries rose up and attacked my tongue like troops storming a beachhead. But in a moment’s notice, the candied fruits faded and gave way to a more prominent troupe of subtle oak spices and salt. Again, I was surprised by this turn, primarily because it took what could have been an over-the-top sweet and brought it more into balance.

The finish is a bit sharp, medium in length, and in its initial departure, leaves behind a tang confirming that flavoring was added. But again, as a secondary stage ensues, there’s a memory of the Bourbon spices from the nose and palate. It speaks to discussions on barrels and aging rather than so-called infusions. This certifies the dram’s worthiness for exploration by more than just the nightlife seekers.

Now, looking back over what I’ve written, I’m startled. I rarely side with flavored drams such as this American Cherry Edition. Knowing this, I’ll bet a good number of my readers are equally astonished, as well.

That’s okay. You let me have my occasional Traverse City Whiskey Company cherry whiskey and I’ll keep my mouth shut about the duck in your sidecar. That is, if I’m even alive to see it.