The Reincarnation of Whisky.
To my simple mind, whisky proves the concept of reincarnation – yet not at the hand of any deity.
The process of how whisky comes to be is a perfect, almost supernatural, coming together of nature and human ingenuity; creating a product not entirely of this world.
At the hands of enlightened men, the fermented alcoholic liquid known as ‘wash’, is heated in the distiller’s potstill. As it boils, the alcohol is released into rising, ghostly mists and sent on to new plains of existence, free of this world. Yet before this spirit is permitted to fully escape beyond our ether, the magic of the distiller reaches out and, using crafted copper and cool water, he hypnotically entices it back to earth. Drop by precious drop, it returns as a new, purer, liquid – self-selecting more flavours and textures en-route. It arrives as unique as any newborn.
Yet to fully realise it’s potential, this born-again youngster requires many years of paternal guidance and nurture. And so, it’s given refuge. Solid oak provides secure shelter while angels provide guardianship. They willingly impart maturity and character in exchange for a share of the spirit’s powerful might and heady vapours.
As it rests, it breathes. It develops within its cask until it reaches a perfect moment. The spirit awakens, and at once prepares to express itself. Soon, with a language we are permitted only to learn step by step, it connects and communicates directly with each and every one of our senses.
We listen for the squeak and pop of the cork; the slush and glug of the pour. We watch the colours switch and flicker, before settling to a backlit glow. Then, marvel at the animated whorls and streaks as they roll, cling, dip and tumble. We allow time itself to pause as we scan and search the aromas for familiar memories. We savour the texture as the coating warmth announces it’s arrival on the palate, smothering every surface with honeyed fire. Then a taste! Such to command our eyes tight shut; our ears oblivious. Layer by layer, a myriad of flavours flash and fade, teasing everything we’ve ever tasted, and others we might only imagine.
We simply don’t know, for sure, if the original term ‘aqua vitae’ meant ‘water of life’, or indeed, ‘lively water’. Does it indeed give life? Or does it simply possess it? As we prickle with the thrill of the experience, we could consider it’s both.
But actually, it could just be that the Romans undersold it. It could be, in fact, the water of the afterlife.