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I live in a relatively populated neighborhood. And yet, of all the surrounding neighbors, I really only know and consider one family as friends. Indeed, they are quite delightful. The others most immediate to my location, not so much. I won’t go into all the reasons for this, except maybe to say that the matriarch of one of the families has serious anger issues, and the other has spawned children the local police already know by name.

Let’s just leave it at that.

In the meantime, as much as I avoid them, I do what I can to ensure they second-guess interacting with me. They know I’m some sort of clergyperson. But even as they’ve seen me coming and going in my clerical collar, they’ve also witnessed me mowing my yard wearing Stormtrooper armor or checking my mail disguised as a Yautja from the “Predator” films. So far, these things combined seem to be the right concoction of “crazy” for keeping them away. At least, I’ve not found it necessary to up the ante. If I do, I have some ideas.

One particular idea involves my chainsaw. For instance, I thought I could leave each morning conspicuously through the front door of my home carrying a clean saw. I’d be sure to return each evening with the saw smeared in blood-red paint with fleshy latex pieces sticking to the chain. It might be a lot of extra work to add to my already busy day, but you know the old saying: a gore-stained chainsaw a day keeps the neighbors away.

Aldous Huxley once said, “There are things known, and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” When it comes to my neighbors, I prefer to keep perception’s doors painted in startling uncertainty and its hinges well-oiled with frightful ambiguity. When it comes to whisky labels, I think the folks at That Boutique-y Whisky Company are working from the same premise. The outside of their bottles are adorned with some really off-putting imagery, yet their insides contain editions any neighbor would be blessed to meet if they took the time. Batch 14 of Boutique-y’s 25-year-old from Springbank is the perfect example.

While intricate, the label for this dram feels like an artistic tangle of images to be combed over for meaning. I don’t get it. But then again, I’m more into creating perception entanglements than interpreting them. That said, the whisky’s nose, palate, and finish remain charmingly uncomplicated. Ushered to the imbiber on scents of vanilla and crème de cacao, a sip offers medium-roast coffee and sundried apples and oranges. All three cast shadows of peat smoke. The medium finish is a peppered version of the vanilla from the nose.

Daydreaming for a moment with this delightful dram in hand, I suppose if my chainsaw idea doesn’t produce the results I desire, I can always add to the homebound routine a giant black garbage bag or two that I can drag from my car into the garage. If I find I need to do more, I could also start adding incredibly noticeable grave-like mounds of fresh dirt to various places in my front and side yards. I’m guessing the neighbors will figure it out at some point. If not, I’m sure the internet will provide me with an audio track of random screaming I can occasionally play in the evenings, followed by an appearance on my front porch, a whisky in hand, and wearing something most appropriate.