There's Andrew in my office who is a walking encyclopedia of football. We debate stats, strategies, players, coaches, everything on Monday morning. Probably the best part of my work week. When I am laying on my deathbed, I will warmly remember all the crazy bets of free coffee I made with him on NFL games.
I tried meditation once, to slow my mind down and de-stress. Even read a book on it and sat on the tatami, and tried to keep my mind pure while the super hot, college age lululemon chick in front of me warmed up with some downward-facing-dog poses.
Anyway, I was supposed to close my eyes (which I did once Ms. lululemon sat down) and focus on my breathing. I was directed by a silver haired, diminutive Zen master, clad in black, with John Lennon glasses, to let my thoughts drift in and out of my mind, just observe and not ruminate on them. Trouble was, my meditative thoughts comprised a fast-moving Ganges stream of visions of me sitting in front of my beloved flat screen Sony, sipping whisky, smoking a cigar and watching a Sunday afternoon NFL game.
Suddenly, I had an epiphany that I could not be a silent witness to such thoughts. This meditation was stressing me out! So, in the spirit of Abraham Maslow I was going to address my own hierarchy of needs and take all necessary steps towards my much needed self-actualization. To that end, I leapt up from my meditation mat like a coiled cobra, hopped into my indefensibly expensive European SUV, and ripped out of the parking lot with Steve McQueen worthy driving gusto (I would have squealed the tires too, but the 4matic all-wheel drive system prevents any tire spinning). My ascetic journey brought me to the retail tranquility of my local liquor store where I employed my powers of mindfulness and selected Black Bull 12 year old Blended Scotch Whisky.
joss sticks from the local hipster store, I added one teaspoon of water to a 3/4 oz pour, and settled into my lazy boy on NFL GameDay.
Sherry, muted black earth, crushed strawberries, jam, fruit notes and nice oak.
Rounded sherry, strawberry, dark malty elements, pomegranate.
Salty sherry, molasses, oak, some espresso. Think Italian coffee done in a moka pot in Umbria.
. . .
Having added water and enjoyed this whisky, I thought I must try it neat.
Richer sherry, oak, sandalwood, nutmeg, more spirity, cold misty morning air, red licorice.
Initial sweet spiced attack of sherry charging upon the palate, but in a splendid way. Rhubarb and treacle soon follow. Creamy caramel and dark toffee dominate.
Thick, dark, ok hell burnt toast with a smear of Grandma's homemade blackberry jam that lingers forever. Damn this is good!
This blend renews my faith in blended Scotch whisky. This is a very good blend that holds up very well against some 12 year old single malts. I would take this any day over Glenlivet 12 or Glenfiddich 12. A word of caution though is needed.
Black Bull is not for newbies. It is strong drink for the novice. I would also not recommend this as a gift purchase for the casual blend consumer. Give this to the serious whisky lover, who may think all blends are inferior to single malt. This whisky will shake such a foolhardy belief.
Black Bull is remarkably smooth, in spite of the high ABV. Surprisingly, I preferred it neat. I found water diluted or muted the flavors more than I cared for. No peat and virtually no smoke either. This whisky is all about the sherry, oak, molasses, pomegranate flavors that start sweet, and become more drying on the palate. Due to the 50% malt content, there is no graininess that plagues many flavor profiles of blended Scotch whiskies. No bitterness or burning alcohol bite. Really quite impressive. This is not nirvana, but damn close in the blended Scotch whisky category!
|My path to enlightenment: hanging with some Houston Texans fans!
P.S. Special thanks to Whisky Dog George for donating the bottle of Black Bull for review.