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I first tasted this whiskey at The Sweet Hereafter in Southeast Portland Oregon. It was so delicious that I just had to buy a bottle. In fact, my girlfriend believed the bartender when he told us that his was the last bottle in the state of Oregon, and so she sent away for a bottle to surprise me at Christmas.
It was I who ended up surprising her. I bumped into a bottle at the Ichor Store less than a mile from our home, and purchased it. When I took it out of the box on the kitchen counter, and debated opening it right then and there, my honey's draw nearly dropped when she saw it (about two weeks before Christmas). Then she began sobbing in frustration. Needless to say, I felt terrible and tried to console her to no avail.
After that drama, I did need a drink after all, so I took the bottle out of the elaborate box that almost appeared like a tiny coffin linked with silk.
Unfortunately, the packaging was far more elegant than the whiskey, which did not taste anything like the glass at Sweet Hereafter that my girl and I shared together romantically. (Actually, she liked it so much that I helped her finish the glass of wine that she'd ordered.)
Well . . . what to say. This is simply NOT the same whiskey I fell in love with. I'm not sure what happened. I now have two bottles of it and this one is so bad that I can't bear to open the second. I'm going to save it as a gift to give some unsuspecting friend who does not have a very sophisticated palate. Watch that bottle end up as good as the glass I savored at the bar! Ugh. It's a lose/lose situation that can only end badly, due to my lack of confidence. I have already offered about half the bottle to friends who dropped by for the holidays. I will probably end up bringing it to a New Year's Eve party at my friend's house. He's a great guy and is famous for a certain show about looking for Bigfoot. Needless to say, he doesn't like whiskey all that much, and so much the better. Most of our friends won't notice that this bottle is blotto.
Enough with the rigmorole. Here is the review:
Nose: Cheap carmel syrup made from corn sweetner; stale carmel corn; very faint waft of a distant feedlot as you hastily speed past on the freeway with the poor cows and steers waiting to be butchered--standing ankle deep in their own putridity & fear (hence, the "barnyardy" affectation of the title of this review).
Initial taste: Wet bricks & mortar at a construction site; the tang of a cherry tree branch broken in half and wet with sap; regular old Bushmills without anything special or worth celebrating as an "anniversary."
Mid note: Slyly comes the yuppie Irish devil with all of his heat and temper. No pay-off whatsoever. Flat burn that merely prolongs the initial taste.
Finish: Autumn smoke from farmers burning their fields; still the heat, it won't leave one's tongue gracefully; resignation; defeat; sorrow.