Whiskey - A Dram of Art and Love

Slava Bart

It came to me when I was about halfway through my first Islay Mist 12; whiskey is like a person you love. (Hemingway: the great minimalist was once one of my strongest mid-period influences.)
        I  take the glass bottle from the shelf; I handle it the way I handle books, with a special kind of fascinated tenderness—it's like holding a child, or a small planet, with its own unique atmosphere and life; I uncork the bottle carefully and take a whiff; I pour the whiskey—which brings out the Heideggerian thingness of the glass beautifully—with a sense of expectation that grows with its lambent rise; I admire the glass, still unsipped, virginal, perfect, full of promise; I inhale once, shake it and inhale deeper; I spend some time enjoying the aroma, trying to figure out why I like it exactly; the first minute or so just doesn't feel right to drink—it's like foreplay (Hemingway again; and I thought I’d gotten rid of him). Then the moment comes when it feels right (we are both sufficiently aroused, mutual desire synchronized): without haste, I bring the glass closer for another, not-too-deep sample of its aroma—and take the first sip, slowly tilting the glass, touching the whiskey lips-only first (down, Ernest! Freud—fie!), then letting it in to flow over the tip of my tongue, keeping it there, concentrating wholly on the tip, which tingles and thrills to the touch and taste of this tawny nectar—the taste is crispest on the tip; I pucker my lips, letting it tingle on the gums and the roof of the mouth, letting it settle on the tip again; then I let it spread to the back of the tongue where I let it wallow, chewing on it, as it were, in a thoughtful, dreamy manner, saliva unlocking new tastes and revealing the whiskey at its most moltenly, creamily, shamelessly sensuous; I swallow, with minimum burn and maximum taste—with a tinge of regret in the burst bubble of the hot-tingling aftertaste; I pause to savor this amber bit of recent past; I take another, larger and faster sip and let it go directly towards the back of the tongue; there the sensations are less concentrated, but it is still all there—it's like taking a few steps further away from a painting where the gilt frame and a bit of the museum wall are in your line of sight and its grip is not so strong on you and you can think (has he finally left, that bearded Boy Scout? at least I’m not comparing it to deep-sea fishing); I repeat the process, with variations, concentrating on every single sip.
        Whiskey renders you contemplative, generous and philosophic. It inspires you to write poetry.  A dram of whiskey is a dram of art and love.

Vyatcheslav Bart was born in Kokshetau, Kazakhstan  in 1983.  In 1994 he immigrated to Israel. He is studying for an MA in English Literature at TAU, planning a doctoral thesis which will include a close examination of the mental processes behind the composition of one or more of his own short works.


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