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As a clergyman, I probably shouldn’t do some of the things I do in public. And why? Because there’s always the chance that the passing observer to any of my odder interactions will one day visit my church, and when they discover me in the pulpit, who knows what they’re reaction will be.
It’s not like I do anything offensive. I don’t swear or throw up rude hand gestures or anything like that. My concern is that I am more than ready and willing to use my innate weirdness to lob a curve ball at pretty much anyone when they invade my space. I don’t do it to be a jerk. Most often I do it because the moment is a teachable one, and the people are boldly crass enough to initiate the interaction. Other times, I do it just to keep things interesting. Consider the following example and decide for yourself as to which of these you think was in play.
I have a t-shirt that I like to wear when I’m doing work around the house. It’s one that Jennifer bought for me at Walmart a few years back. It says “England” across the breast and has the Union Jack prominently displayed. I like the shirt. In fact, I like it a lot, and I happened to be wearing it one day while visiting the local Home Depot in search of wood screws and wall plates for some electrical outlets I installed in my basement.
I found the wood screws first, and then I made my way to the main aisle that would lead me to the section where I’d find the remainder of my required items. To get there, it was necessary to pass the appliance department. On approach, there was a rather rugged looking fellow who appeared to be guarding multiple flatbeds, each bearing some larger appliances—things like dishwashers and microwave ovens. It was an impressive stash of items he was preparing to purchase. But even with his remarkable train of products, the man himself stood out as most notable in the collection. He was decked in red, white, and blue from top to bottom. Everything on him bore an American flag, from his bandana to his pants. Even his shoes testified to the pageantry. Admittedly, being the patriot that I am, I was impressed, and I felt almost as if I should remove my hat and put my hand over my heart as I passed him.
But I didn’t, and that’s because as I made my way toward him, I could more than tell that he’d locked onto me with a stare. Having forgotten what was on the t-shirt I was wearing, I didn’t know why, at least not until he spoke.
“Nice shirt,” he intoned sarcastically. I smiled and kept my passing pace. But then he added, “Ashamed of your own flag, friend?”
Now, I suppose most folks would probably just have allowed the man his space and kept walking, relegating his rudeness to the obvious fact that he’s an overly-zealous nutjob. I mean, I don’t need to tell him that I’m not ashamed of my country’s flag. I love America. I also love the freedom I have to wear my England t-shirt while working on my home. Still, it was the urge I acted upon next that I posited at the beginning of this little jaunt as something I should probably stop doing because it could get me into trouble.
As immediately as he spoke, I turned and offered in my best British accent something like, “Oy, mate! It’s ’ard enough I’ve to drive my motorcar on the wrong side o’ the road, but must I also be coerced into ’splaining my bloody shirt?!”
Although I didn’t remain long, I stayed put long enough to note that the surprise on his face was worth at least a couple of quid.
Returning to my previous pace, I continued my quest. I certainly didn’t want to continue the engagement, anyway, and mainly because if I found myself drawn into an actual conversation, one in which I’d have to keep the charade alive, he would’ve eventually noticed that I can’t keep the accent going for too long before it devolves into something more attuned to an Australian trying to sound Jamaican.
I can’t say for sure, but I do think he tried to apologize as I walked away. I think he said something about respecting America’s allies. Well, whatever. I turned the corner of the aisle I needed, grabbed my wall plates, and then took the long way back to the checkout lanes, traveling first among the ceiling fans and then through the outdoor garden department, all in an effort to evade my star spangled antagonist and the possibility of betraying my covert tactics.
In a way, the sample before me of the Crown Royal Blenders’ Series Bourbon Mash that I received from my friend George reminds me of the scene I just described. It’s a Canadian whisky, but it’s pretending to be from Kentucky. And while it does a pretty good job at first, the longer you spend with it, the more you realize it’s just another syrupy edition from Crown Royal.
The nose of this whisky is splendid. It carries some pretty typical Bourbon sensations, at least enough for an initial convincing if this were a blind taste test. In addition to these particulars, there is a more notable scent of simmering butter and glazed peaches.
A taste reveals the Bourbon influence but betrays its non-native birth. Firstly, there’s a wash of creamy vanilla and a shake of the fruit from the nosing, but no sooner than this commentary begins does it turn with an aftertaste of sour artificial flavoring eased only slightly by a drop of honey.
The finish is where its attempts at being a Bourbon cease and it wholly becomes what I most recall about Crown Royal. With a short to medium fade, the whisky suddenly feels thicker than you remember, coating the tongue with an overly-sugared stratum.
For Crown Royal fans, this whisky may put forth a Bourbon flag, but in all, it will be the candy-like and velvety experience you’d expect from your homeland. For all others, I suspect that this dram will serve only to confirm a thankfulness for genuine Bourbon while reaffirming any alternate choices you may have made with regard to the Canadian whiskies you prefer. Either way, just know that it probably doesn’t matter what shirt you’re wearing while you drink it.