It’s storming as I write this. Quite ferociously, in fact. And so, here I sit. As I do, I examine, realizing this community is about to be damaged. Accepting this is about all any of us can do.
The thing about storms is that once they come, the only real way to escape is to endure. There is no negotiating with the sky. You can only shelter from it. You cannot divert the wind. You can only barricade against it. You cannot pinpoint the lightning’s strike. You can only expect it and then know it touched something, somewhere, when you hear its thunderous departure.
Storms alter landscapes. They erase human achievement. They churn up disorder and exchange concern for ease. Again, from a human perspective, the safest place in any storm will always be in one’s will to endure. I’d say this is true because determination knows something of life’s storms. It knows their time is limited. It knows that the sun is still shining at the borderland of any storm’s darkness, and at some point, its beams will reach through. They always do. Until then, understand the storm’s value. Observe it. Respect it. Lean in. Hold on. Learn from it. Epicurus is the one who said something about how the truest pilots are known only by the storms.
I’ve long wondered why I enjoy whisky enough to write about it. It must be something more than taste. I think it’s because endurance will always be a factor in its creation. Preparations are made. The labor ensues. The elixir is born. Into the barrel, it goes. There it endures, just as its creator must endure, hoping that on the far side of the years-long journey, whatever challenges come, they will play a part in creating a pilot—something that others will be drawn to follow.
Within the last few years, I’ve heard others say The Macallan has lost its enduring footing and is no longer a captain among drams. And yet, in the middle of the feverish gales, the 2021 Rare Cask edition can be seen. An honest handling—one unwilling to write what everyone else has written, one uninfluenced by the popular noise—this whisky leans into the pelting, once again proving the mettle few other distilleries can claim.
The 2021 Rare Cask’s scent is crisp, delivering dark cherries and cloves. Don’t add ice. It has endured ice but isn’t meant for it. Instead, add a little water. It’ll stir up spiced apricots.
Continuing along, the palate offers a nip of yeasty sour. But endure, my friend. Give it a moment. Be honest, concentrating on the change. It becomes a freshly baked cinnamon roll soaked in dark roast coffee. Keep with it. Be determined. The medium finish is just as delightful, conjuring sherried vanillas and oven-singed brown sugar.
Indeed, distilleries go through seasons. Those seasons bring storms. Still, The Macallan stands as the luxury tonic among tonics for good reasons. It remains a pilot among pilots. Take a hint from the 2021 Rare Cask edition’s rust-colored frame. The Macallan continues enduring each tempest, emerging from the waves with unmatchable drams, even as so many others only wish they could and yet, have been overcome.