Whisky Wind-down, 6: Rest Ye Weary Dead

A bottle of The Sexton single malt Irish whisky sits next to a glass filled with same, on a mantel with red holiday garland.

Today’s dram: The Sexton, single malt Irish whisky

Today’s tasting notes: Aroma is sweet and woodsy. Flavor is smooth and slightly sweet, with a warming bite in the finish.

It’s different. I don’t drink a lot of Irish single malts — they’re not terribly common, compared to Scottish single malts — but I enjoy one now and again, especially as they are a departure from standard Irish whisky. This one reminds me a bit of Highland Scottish whisky; probably I’m drawing that comparison from the sherry cask aging used here.

All in all, it’s enjoyable; I’ll probably keep this around for a cold night by the fire. Or, perhaps, I’ll fill a flask for company on a particular walk.

Today’s thoughts: The bottle lore on this one speaks of a graveyard by the River Bush, from which you can sometimes detect the aroma of distilling spirits.

It’s been awhile since I’ve walked a graveyard, but it was an old hobby of mine.

It’s an autumn sort of hobby, the sight of nature in decline serving to accentuate the stark stone reminders that mark our mutual finish line.

Works in winter, too, though. Then the cold breeze bites and the empty trees shiver, and everything says your time will come, too.

Many years I’ve sought such places in these final days of the year, when the festivities fast fade and the year’s last gasp is in the air.

It’s quite the melancholy week — a transitory time fit for reflecting upon the expiring year, all its good, all its ill.

It all starts again soon enough.

Today’s toast: To the dead: beyond the need for a dram, past all ambitions great or small, gone from the wheel.

Whisky Wind-down, 7: Holiday’s End

A bottle of Seagram's VO Gold sits next to a pair of glasses, in front of a Christmas tree.

Today’s dram: Seagram’s VO Gold, 8-Year-Old

Today’s tasting notes: It’s smooth Canadian whisky, a tad sweet, with just a touch of bite. Finishes clean and easy.

Today’s thoughts: For most of my adult life, whenever I’ve been home for the holidays, we end up at my dad’s home by late afternoon and stay there for dinner and dessert. And once the blizzard of grandchildren and presents has passed, and things quiet down, Dad usually asks if anyone feels like a Christmas drink. For as long as I can remember, for him, that means a couple of ounces of Seagram’s VO Gold, over ice, topped with Coca-Cola.

The older I get, the more I appreciate this ending to a long Christmas day. I’m even getting to like the VO Gold, minus the cola.

Today’s toast: To holiday traditions, holiday tipples, and holiday tipple traditions.

Whisky Wind-down, 8: Happy Place

A glass of Crown Royal rye whisky stands next to an empty mini-bottle on a yellow KitchenAid stand mixer.

Today’s dram: Crown Royal, rye

Today’s tasting notes: How do you make traditionally easy-going Canadian whisky bite back? Mix in rye.

This one is 90% rye, though, so maybe it’s actually the Canadian bit that’s smoothing an otherwise harsh rye?

At any rate, it’s a pseudo-sweet, biting-but-smooth dram, just right for a nightcap at the end of a long day.

Today’s thoughts: The long day was mostly in the kitchen, which is one of my favorite places, with two of my favorite people, Mom and The Empress of Whisky.

Between us, we produced two varieties of cupcakes, lemon chiffon pie, lemon syrup, a chicken and pasta dinner, and pizza dough for the traditional lunch tomorrow.

We also played games, told stories, went shopping, and assembled furniture.

All in all, great day.

Today’s toast: To the holiday hustle; it’s the good kind of tiring.

Whisky Wind-down, 9: Home Again

A bottle of Canadian Mist whisky sits next to a filled glass, next to a tiny tabletop Christmas tree. All of these items sit upon a kitchen counter.

Today’s dram: Canadian Mist, blended, aged 36 months

Today’s tasting notes: Look, it’s young Canadian whisky, so it doesn’t hold much. What’s there is warm, sweet, and pretty smooth. It goes down damned easy, actually.

Today’s thoughts: This is my favorite dram yet, and it has nothing to do with the whisky and everything to do with the setting and the company. This is from my mom’s liquor shelf, in the kitchen of her new home, to which we just toasted.

Today’s toast: To home, there really is no place like it for the holidays, no matter how new or old.

Whisky Wind-down, 10: Spoooooky

A bottle of whisky and two filled glasses. Pickled Head lurks in the background.

Today’s dram: Atlanta Spirit Works, The Crossing, 2017 Monster Mash

Today’s tasting notes: The aroma is big malty, with hints of rye, oats — the inside of a grain barn at the end of harvest. The flavor has an edge to it, but it’s easy enough to drink. Sweetness, a hint of oats, malt. Bit of burn at the end.

Today’s thoughts: This whisky was a special production for Halloween this year. A portion of proceeds benefitted The Giving Kitchen. I’m all for charitable contributions, especially ones I can funnel through whisky.

Today’s toast: To spooky barns and the creepy things therein.