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“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”
I get what you mean, Mr. Blake. And your words are poetically charming. However, and unfortunately, I live in Michigan where for almost eight months of the year there is the potential for the outside temperatures to be just as cold, if not colder, than a walk-in freezer.
Maybe, William, you were speaking of a certain measure of anticipatory winter enjoyment, which is the kind of joy that sees itself come to full bloom during the spring thaw. Is that what you meant? If so, I’m guessing that just as you’ve never been to Michigan in the winter, so also you’ve never been here in the spring. If you had, then you’d know that such joy is non-existent, too. At least not on our vast expanse of highways and byways. Twelve seconds of travel and I’m more than certain you’d abandon the idea completely. In that twelfth second, it’s likely that you’d come to the conclusion that driving a major freeway in Michigan in the spring must be quite similar to navigating the cratered surface of the moon. You won’t experience joy in this, but you might experience a certain measure of exhilaration born of the ever-present possibility that a new crater might open up without notice and swallow your vehicle completely.
“Surely not!” you exclaim. Ah, well then, if not your car then most certainly the street sign to your subdivision.
Personally, I’d say that when it comes to mindful bits about winter in Michigan, Bill Watterson of “Calvin and Hobbes” fame was closer to capturing its essence when he said, “I like these cold grey winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood.”
In other words, I live in the wrong state.
I say this not just because I despise winter and major car repairs, but because I’m too far away from places like Kentucky, a place where the average winter temperature of 23 degrees feels like a Sahara noontime to Michiganders, and a palled, January mood could so easily be assuaged by a spontaneous trip along the Bourbon trail, perhaps even coming to a conclusion with a visit to the place that is swiftly becoming a personal favorite in whiskey provision: Limestone Branch Distillery Company.
My first experience with this group came rather recently by way of the Yellowstone Kentucky Straight Bourbon. It was phenomenally enchanting. And with that, while I’ve experienced and reviewed more than my fair share of American whiskies—falling for a limited few, but for the majority, remaining more so inclined toward the gifts of Scotland—I figured I’d better continue to investigate, convinced that where one edition from Limestone was a joy, others may be waiting on shelves to greet me with a similar affection, too.
This proved to be true. Another of their offerings—the Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey—is a bright-beaming array of holy things at the end of a car-munching day.
An initial nosing of the Minor Case betrays the whiskey’s sherry cask finish. A second draw speaks of warmed concord grapes and root beer.
A sip reveals vanilla cream and cinnamon imbued caramel chews; and not the kind you get in that greasy little jar at the fix-it shop trying to “do you a favor” by keeping the reassembly of your suspension to less than a two thousand dollars, but the ones made by artisan candy makers in places like Mackinac Island.
The finish takes a stranger turn, and yet, it does not swerve from the enjoyable. It has a longer stride, offering along the way a spicy pepper and a scoop of orange sherbet.
In all, the Minor Case edition is kindly enough that you might be persuaded to climb up and out of your most recent pothole, leaving your vehicle nose down in its void right there in the middle of I-96, and still say, “Alas, I’ve a dram of Minor Case awaiting me at home. I’d better get walking because things are sure to get better.”