My fellow inebriates,
Today we have some very special guest reviewers.
I’m talking about fruit flies!
We actually thought they had given LBHQ a pass this year. Usually they arrive sometime around blackberry season, in August. This year they were strangely absent, though. Why, I wondered? Had June’s heat dome flamed them and all their eggs out of existence? Had we neglected to buy their favourite fruits? Or were they not double-vaxxed yet?
Whatever their reasoning, we weren’t sad about their absence. Fruit flies can be pests around alcohol. (And I’m an expert on being a pest around alcohol.) Just when you think there’s not a single one in sight, as soon as you pour a drink, they appear. Even if you have a bunch of neglected bananas on the counter or a full compost bin, those little fuckers will immediately zip toward your glass and prepare to land.
Sometimes it’s just one fruit fly that appears. You’ll swear and clap your paws around it, only to find it’s vanished. As soon as you relax, it will materialize again.
When that one fruit fly finally does meet its demise—either because you clouted it about the antennae or because it did a swan dive into your beer—it will immediately be succeeded by another, equally persistent fruit fly.
August, September and most of October passed without this phenomenon. And then suddenly they were here.
Instead of trying to eradicate them, I decided to get their opinions on some liquor.
REDBREAST 12-YEAR-OLD SINGLE POT STILL WHISKEY ($76.99)
LB’s review: Redbreast is elegant and impeccably balanced. Richly aromatic, it wafts toffee, vanilla bean, soft tannins and hints of dried fruits and perhaps some hazelnut to balance out the sweetness. The mouthfeel is large and mouth-saturating and the finish is lingering. It leaves you wanting more. This whiskey more than delivers on its very reasonable price point.
Fruit flies’ review: They were willing to die for this. One immediately plummeted to its death on a large ice cube.
CROWN ROYAL CANADIAN WHISKY ($25.99 on sale)
LB’s review: Crown Royal was created to commemorate the 1939 grand tour of the British Royals to Canada. It is made from over 50 different whiskies! Crown Royal features light vanilla and toffee top notes along with undercurrents of baking spice, oak and a tiny hint of orange peel. The mouthfeel is substantial and satisfying and the finish is long. At around $27 for 750 mL, you can feel good about drinking it copiously by itself or making cocktails with it.
Fruit flies’ review: They were quite desperate to have it. Clearly the Redbreast-inspired suicide of their compatriot had taught them nothing. Or perhaps fruit flies are just nihilistic hedonists.
SWEAR JAR CANADIAN WHISKY ($37.99)
LB’s review: I’ll be honest—we bought this for the container. Even though, at 750 mL, it is nowhere near capacious enough to be the family’s actual swear jar, it represents some pretty cool packaging. But as far as flavour goes, Swear Jar is odd. Aromatically, this three-year-old Quebecois offering leads with nuts. Which nut, I wasn’t sure for the longest time. Maybe almonds? Maybe hazelnuts? Or some sort of big nut mash-up. Singing and dancing behind this top note are peppery spice, cloves, some fruit and—yes—some kind of solvent. After nursing a glass each of Swear Jar, my parents decided to drink it no more and, instead, to push it at visitors as a cocktail ingredient. Not that we’ve had many visitors lately, so Swear Jar remains in the cupboard. But my parents poured some into a bowl for our fruit fly experiment this weekend, and I enjoyed it very much.
Fruit flies’ review: They acted as if it didn’t exist. Something in Swear Jar is a fruit fly deterrent.
LAPHROAIG 10-YEAR-OLD WHISKY ($73.99)
LB’s review: If you’re a fan of Islay whiskies, you may already know that Laphroaig 10-year-old represents incredible value. It is redolent with smoke, vanilla and peat, with an interesting brininess and medicinal aftertaste. The mouthfeel is full-bodied and warming without singeing your fur. The finish is lingering. As my dad commented, it gives Lagavulin a run for its money.
Fruit flies’ review: They LOVED this whisky. They agreed with my dad that it was just as good as Lagavulin, and one of them died for it. It didn’t get its chosen death, mind you—my dad got out the vacuum cleaner and hosed it into oblivion. After that we waited for more fruit flies to appear, but they must have been having second thoughts. That or the raunchy bananas on the counter started looking a bit less risky.