“Ransom: The Emerald” is emblazoned on the label of this spirit, just above a couple of stamps that tell me that this is bottle one-hundred and thirty-three of batch nine. Off to the right, there’s a fairly meaty blurb about how the stuff is made. I’ll admit I had a little problem following the narrative (I mean, I have been drinking), but the recipe is Irish and was either written down by an English excise officer or devised to spite the guy. Oats are somehow involved, as are copper kettles. It’s made in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The Lady Fair and I were impressed that this stuff comes with a glass stopper. Now I’ll be the first to admit that packaging does not a whiskey make, but there’s something to be said about a company that takes their product seriously enough to ship it in a container that resolutely lifts it above something as transient as a bottle of wine.
Taking all that into account, the nose was entirely within the realm of what I’d expect. Richly woody with some decidedly sweet undertones. Almost your standard “high-end Bourbon pretending to be whiskey” to the letter. I’ll admit that I sighed a little when I took the first sip, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that this stuff tastes a whole lot more like the whiskey that probably kicked your dad’s ass that one time in Da Nang. Sharp, minerally with a burn that rolls right up your soft palate and into your sinuses. That sweetness you smelled comes in later, and it sticks around in a nice sort of way, but it never pushes that orchestrated harshness into the background. This oakey bitterness permeates the whole experience. Suffice it to say, there is a lot going on with this stuff, and I very much like it.
Now, a lot of people reading this might recoil from that description, but I’m telling you, whiskey that actually tastes like whiskey is a rare breed these days. Without being the old guy who likes to yell at clouds, I tend to think the tech-bro podcast crowd is more interested in being seen drinking whiskey than they are in actually drinking whiskey. You’d be an idiot to order shots of this or take it in a bottle service or anything like that because this is something you sit with during a conversation or a good book. Go build a damn fire or something and watch the embers with a glass of this, and you’ll understand why someone goes to the trouble to make a drink that doesn’t just welcome you with open arms. I doubt that I’m alone when I note that a lot of the people I care about most in the world are absolute pains in the ass, so… cheers.