Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Top 5: The Apocalypse Edition

I love post-apocalyptic literature. I dig post-apocalyptic movies, video games, and television shows. There is something inexplicably seductive about the world of Fury Road, 28 Days Later, Cat's Cradle and others of the genre. Perhaps the word "apocalypse" itself offers a hint as to why these scenarios are so fascinating. The etymological origins of the word come from the Greek apokalyptein, meaning "uncover, disclose, reveal." It's possible that our fascination with the end of civilization has to do with uncovering or revealing truths about human nature. When all seems lost or hopeless, how do humans react? It may be easy for privileged first-world folks to hold to our moral ideals, but how do people react when survival is at stake? Would we be Negan or Daryl Dixon? Immortan Joe or Imperator Furiosa? With all the trappings of modernity stripped away, when things become more primal, how does human choice evolve? Imagining scenarios such as these is stimulating, and I got to thinking:

What whisky would I want to stumble upon in a post-apocalyptic world? If I could only drink ONE whisky for the rest of my life, what would it be?

I hope I don't have to face Furiosa to get some whisky
To most whisky enthusiasts, that proposition is more nightmarish than having to fight an army of T-800s. So here's a top five list of whiskies for the end of the world. These  are excellent whiskies I could drink forever (responsibly, of course) for reasons I'll describe. If I stumbled into a huge warehouse full of cases of whisky, I would want that whisky to be:

Number 5: Old Grand Dad 114

I'll have that drink now
What? An inexpensive bourbon?!! Yes, yes indeed. This is probably the only whiskey on the list that one might actually find in the event of an apocalypse. It's not all that rare in the United States and it's not a limited-release product. So let's assume that I had to leave Canada because of the dastardly actions of the Umbrella Corporation and I found myself in bourbon country, I'd love to find a warehouse full of OGD 114. Big, bold (57% ABV) and fruity, this bourbon would work well even in the worst circumstances. If we stay with the "Canadian had to escape to the South" theme, I could sip mint juleps made with this beauty while protecting the big, southern house I'd occupied from the zombie dogs/Cerberuses that would undoubtedly be hunting me. Heck, at this alcohol concentration, I could even use OGD 114 mixed with motor oil to make Molotov cocktails (note: Molotov cocktails are not recommended in non-apocalyptic scenarios).

Number 4: Lot 40 12 Year Old Cask Strength Canadian Rye

I realize this was a limited release, but we're suspending our disbelief for a few minutes, right? Cask strength means this rye can be watered down a bit to stretch out the supply. It means we can make cocktails and retain much of the rye's beautiful flavours. With this rye, there's the peppery bite of cloves, some gingersnap cookie sweetness, lots of oak notes and zero apologies. I could easily sip this until Agent Smith found me and destroyed me and have no regrets. Heck, if we are living in the Matrix, I don't want to live in a reality where there is no Lot 40. I'm with Cypher on this one, I choose the Matrix.

Number 3: Ardbeg Uigeadail Single Malt Scotch

I hesitated with this one. I asked myself "do I always want a smoky whisky?" And the answer, for me, is "of course, what a stupid question!" This whisky is rounded, rich, smoky, fruity and perfect for waiting out the end of the world in my Desmond-from-Lost-style bunker. There's so much going on with Uigeadail that I'd never get bored. I can't say the same for that song by The Mamas & The Papas. Uigeadail also a strong whisky, bottled at over 54% alcohol, so it would last longer than the average malt. Smoking a pipe or cigars wouldn't be a great option in the bunker, so a smoky whisky would be sublime.

Number 2: Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength Irish Whiskey

Ready for a drink yet?
I might not be alone in the post-apocalyptic world, so something a bit friendlier might also be a boon in the aforementioned hypothetical warehouse full of whiskey. While Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength is potent (sense a pattern here?), it has a very gentle side. It is rich, sweet and quite accessible, even for something bottled at over 57% alcohol. The toffee and buttered toast flavours could even make Redbreast 12 Cask Strength a suitable dessert, or breakfast. It's the apocalypse; no judgment here. This whiskey also works beautifully in a cup of tea (trust me!) and even with ginger ale, if someone is so inclined. A whiskey as friendly as Redbreast Cask Strength would be great for warming up your insides in the cold world of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Just make sure you don't get abducted by cannibals.

Number 1: Laphroaig 10 Year Old Cask Strength

I need your clothes, your boots and your Laphroaig
Laphroaig Cask Strength is much like the future world and the eponymous assassin of The Terminator; harsh, unforgiving and relentless. In a world where humans and machines are engaged in perpetual warfare, there is no room for sweet, seductive whisky. It needs to be strong enough (this one is bottled between 55%-58% ABV) to keep people alert. You can't let your guard down when it comes to cybernetic assassins programmed to kill Sarah Connor. The smoke, peat and medicinal iodine make this whisky a salve for your soul. I don't know if a perfect whisky exists, but this one is as close to perfection as I've ever tasted. It isn't for the faint of heart, it demands a bold hero. Inasmuch as it resembles the T-800, Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength is also like Sarah Connor. It doesn't give an inch. It's hardened, battle-tested and always ready for a fight.

The End?

I'll grant that these scenarios are far-fetched. In an actual apocalypse, looking for whisky would be pretty low on my list of priorities. But these whiskies would be on the ones to bring the most joy to my world. Of course, in a truly grizzly 28 Days Later world, any whisky would be reason for celebration. So what are your Top 5 Whiskies for the Apocalypse?

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