BPIs: Tenebræ

Tenebrae hearse

Tenebræ, meaning “shadows,” is the name used for the praying of Matins and Lauds on each of the last three days of Holy Week. The hours are prayed following Compline the evening before, and during the chanting of the psalms the candles are extinguished one by one until the sanctuary is in total darkness after the final candle is removed. From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

[T]he Office of these three days was treated as a sort of funeral service, or dirge, commemorating the death of Jesus Christ. It is natural also that, since Christ by convention was regarded as having lain three days and three nights in the tomb, these obsequies should have come in the end to be celebrated on each of the three separate occasions with the same demonstrations of mourning.

The Tenebræ liturgies are opportunities for the faithful to be reminded of the solemnity of these three days during which the Church mourns the passion and death of our Lord.

Image: Source (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Catholic Gentleman: Linguistics and Vocabulary

We very often speak of logic as the rules of the cultural-debating game, perhaps mistakenly so given society’s rejection of logic, but linguistics, the way in which logic, thought, and ideas are conveyed, represent the tools necessary to win the game.  It is no coincidence that the clearest Catholic thinkers, including G.K. Chesterton and Cardinal Newman, had an exceptional knowledge of the language in which the wrote and spoke.  The further we remove ourselves from a deep understanding of the meaning of words and the distinctions between definitions, the easier it is for terms to be manipulated for the benefit of those against Catholic thinking.  The Holy Father recently remarked with some urgency that modern education contains the “horrors of manipulation” by pushing the “dictatorship of one form of thinking” in the name of “modernity.”

Many of the contemporary cultural battlefronts are littered with twisted words and meanings.  Consider the popular gay-marriage sign “Equality for all!”  How 486px-Gilbert_Chestertonone defines “equality,” “freedom,” and “rights” is often indicative of where one stands on the non-negotiable Catholic issues of our day.  Explaining why humans do not have the freedom to marry whoever or whatever we choose inherently entails an analysis of what it means to be free.

A strong knowledge of the English language is what makes writers such as G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis so effective.  Chesterton’s book on Aquinas is barely 100 pages and yet he systematically draws distinctions between Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism, Protestantism and Catholicism, Eastern mystics and Catholics, and modernists and Catholics.  In each distinction, he describes the philosophies and methods of the respective religion, articulately explains the definitions of the labels he employs, and applies the definitions to the philosophies and methods.  In this manner, for example, he labels Catholicism as “optimistic” with respect to human nature and Protestantism as “pessimistic.”  An excellent knowledge of the English language allows Chesterton to succinctly (and soundly) make arguments and apply labels which would be widely decried by scholars knowledgeable of Christian religions and yet ignorant of the definition of a word as simplistic as “optimistic.”

There are several ways the Catholic Gentleman can improve his handle on the English language.  First, many of the cultural debates raging today truly began over 100 years ago.  Reading Chesterton takes us back to the time when words such as “optimism,” “freedom,” and “rights” were first being manipulated in the name of modernity.  I think that Chesterton would be very much at home debating today’s culture, and a careful read of his works reveals a plan for confronting these very issues.

Second, becoming proficient in other languages will help the Catholic Gentleman understand the roots of his own language.  For example, most English words contain roots stemming from either Latin, German, French, or even old-English, not to mention the theoretical concepts added by the philosophical contributions of the ancient Greeks (the proper definition of “justice”, for example, might be found in Plato’s Republic).  Catholic high schools and colleges have moved further and further away from these building-block languages, and our conceptions of the philosophical concepts implicit in words has suffered as a result.  It is no coincidence that nearly all theologians and philosophers of note speak at least two languages.

When discussing Catholic concepts, especially concerning the non-negotiable social issues of the Faith, the Catholic Gentleman should ensure that he is speaking the same language as those around him.  Defining the words upon which our culture places a degree of importance is especially important.  Protecting our culture begins with protecting the words we use to convey our ideas, thoughts, and identity.

St. Albertus Magnus, Ora pro nobis!

Whiskey Men: The U.S. Bishops

Rarely have the U.S. bishops had as good of a two week run as the one they just had.  Three bishops, in particular, stood out for their courage in confronting social and pastoral issues, each in firm a, clear-headed manner.  These three men exude the continuity of leadership the John-Paul II, Benedict, and Francis appointments have brought to the episcopate.

Bishop Jugis (appointed by John-Paul II): Crisis descended on the Diocese of Charlotte this week after Sr. Jane Laurel, OP, gave a talk to high school students about aspects of the Church’s teachings on sexuality.  Her talk included evidence drawn from scientific studies in an effort to demonstrate that the natural world reflects the supernatural reality.  Parents and members of the Catholic community in Charlotte hotly contested both the presented studies and the moral teachings she conveyed straight from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  A town hall meeting was called, which descended into the public smear and shaming campaign familiarly directed at those who dare to dissent from modernist sexual ethics.

Bishop Jugis responded not only by defending the teachings of the Catechism, as well as Sister’s efforts to convey them to high school students, but also by condemning the uncharitable way so many treated Sister’s reputation, both at the town hall event and on social media.  Instead of groveling for the acceptance of society through “further dialogue” or issuing an apology to those who “may have been offended by their interpretation” of what Sister said, Bishop Jugis stood his ground and refused to give the laity a blank check to abuse those in the consecrated life defending the catechism.

I am shocked to hear the disturbing reports of a lack of charity and respect at the parents’ meeting, and outside the meeting in conversations and in social media. There simply is no room in the Catholic Church for such displays of uncharitableness and disrespect. If we have failed in this regard let us make amends to God and neighbor. Even when we disagree, that disagreement should be expressed respectfully in love.

Far too often have orthodox priests and religious been left to fend for themselves, and the good bishop’s unwavering support is a sign of hope.

Bishop Paprocki (appointed by Benedict XVI): Bishop Paprocki is no stranger to being dubbed a Whiskey Man.  In yet another instance of a bishop backing up a religious despite the howls of society, Bishop Paprocki supported a priest in his diocese who preemptively denied the Sacrament to pro-abortion Senator Durbin.

The prudential and pastoral concerns of Canon 915 are exceedingly complex, however one factor which must be weighed is the grave scandal caused to Catholics and non-Catholics alike by the apparent ratification or mitigation of public dissent from Church teachings, regardless of whether such ratification is real or imagined.  Time and time again Bishop Paprocki has proved that he has the courage and prudence to do what is necessary, regardless of the public fallout.  This is a man truly worthy of his office.

Bishop Barber (appointed by Francis): Bishop Barber has risked the ire of liberals everywhere (California liberals nonetheless) for removing an openly homosexual priest of the Paulist Fathers from his post at UC Santa Barbara.  Including widespread accusations of liturgical abuse, the parish regularly engaged in activities such as “dance ministry and Taize prayer.”  Not only is the Bishop’s courage admirable, but his prudence is impeccable.  Knowing that the “Spirit of Francis” was likely to be invoked, Bishop Barber explained that the reason for the change was to “totally reinvigorate our evangelization efforts for the University Community at Cal Berkeley,” and “reinvigorate and expand our mission ‘to the periphery.’”  His detractors were left with the sorry argument that the Bishop could not understand the needs of the parish as a non-parishioner.  Bravo.

Continuity marches on. . .

Of Bishops and Palaces

800px-Chateau_de_Versailles_1668_Pierre_Patel

Something of a controversy has erupted over the past several months about, of all things, the living accommodations of bishops.  The Archbishop of Atlanta announced last week that he will sell a $2.2 million building which recently finished construction after several complaints from parishioners.

By way of background, I sporadically worked for the Church during my time in college and law school.  During one summer I worked at an Archdiocesan office and during another I worked at a religious order’s general directorate in Rome.  Not only is it typical for ecclesiastical superiors to want to live in the building which serves as the nerve center for their diocese or religious order, but doing so increases their efficiency and likely saves the Church money in the long run.

Many, but not all, bishops like to live in the building which serves as the administrative center of their diocese.  Simply put, we live in an age where the bishop is expected to act as the CEO of the diocese, which places a near-crushing amount of responsibility on one man’s shoulders.  In addition to saying Mass, writing homilies, and frequent prayer, we expect bishops to be doctrinally sound, keep up on current events, participate in corporal works of mercy, raise enough money to keep the diocese running smoothly, and keep a vigilant eye on the priests working under his watch (often to the point where we expect bishops to be personally involved with investigating complaints of abuse).  During my internship it was not uncommon for me to receive e-mails time-stamped 4:00am or earlier because the archbishop was already at work in his office.  Allowing the bishop to live at the diocesan offices eases the burden of commuting, allows him to work longer hours, and increases his immediate availability when a crisis inevitably arises.

A vast portion of the space in a diocesan office is dedicated to the necessary functions of a diocese.  I have not polled the bishops in the United States but I suspect that most of their living quarters consist of a bedroom, living room, modest dining room, and kitchenette.  This is not exactly living fast and loose.  When the press mentions large function rooms and complete kitchens, what they are usually referring to are spaces dedicated to diocesan fundraisers.  I can assure you that bishops have much better things to do than roam around large empty spaces pondering their worldly spoils.  Instead, someone at the diocesan level (someone with a brain and a calculator) figured out how much money the diocese could save by adding function rooms to the bishop’s residence instead of renting out a venue month after month for fundraisers.  What a strange world we live in where the bishops must spend more to show how frugal they are.

Finally, let’s consider the source of the criticism here.  Most Catholics who submit fully to the Church have no problem with the bishop’s prudential judgment concerning where to reside.  Most of the “concern” or complaints come, I suspect, from those who wish to reduce the role of the bishop to “social worker in charge.”  Those who see the bishop as a man who should simply minister to the poor, who do not accept the fullness of his mission — to save souls, lead his flock on social issues, and bring society closer to Christ — wish to weaken him by de-emphasizing certain of his responsibilities.

Among the greatest causes of scandal in the modern Church — widespread use of contraceptives, frequent disregard of Church teachings, and neglect of the sacraments — the residences of the bishops seem minor by comparison.  Radical poverty can be a source of good, but poverty in and of itself is not, and not all men are called to such a lifestyle.

Less complaining and more praying on rosaries!

Whisky Review: Clynelish Distiller’s Edition

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My in-laws gave me a bottle of Clynelish and Chesterton’s book on St. Francis for my birthday.  I’ll leave it to our readers to determine whether I have the best in-laws in the world.  I was not familiar with Clynelish prior to receiving the bottle.  Clynelish is something of a hidden treasure because a large portion of the distillery’s output is bought and used by Johnny Walker Gold.  Traditionally, the brand did not seem committed to marketing its own product and labels but rising demand and consistently excellent reviews encouraged the distillery to announce major capital investments earlier this year.  As a result, the distillery expects to double output once the improvements are complete (of course, we then have to wait 15 years for the aged products to hit shelves).

The Clynelish Distillery itself is off Road A9 in northeast Scotland, a two lane highway which runs up the eastern shore of the highlands.  Mostly barren, the road is photo 3hilly and spotted with small beach towns and sheep ranches.  My wife and I had the pleasure of driving it on our honeymoon.  It was simply a beautiful drive, especially early in the morning, and I remember that we listened to Scottish radio while passing by remote cottage after remote cottage, watching the sun rise over the water.  Like much of Scotland, I believe that the eastern shore of the Highlands would be the perfect place for a retreat; surrounded by the beauty of nature, many sheep, and very few people.

Knowing that I needed a special occasion to open the Clynelish, I waited until a priest from St. Mary’s Cathedral came to say Mass in our apartment (ad orientem).  As Father was packing up his Mass kit, I asked him if I could shoot a few pictures of the bottle surrounded by pieces of the kit, and he graciously agreed.  After dinner, he gave the whisky an extremely high rating and I couldn’t agree more.

Type: Highland
Proof: 92
MSRP: $101

Color: Bronzed straw
Aroma: Complex.  Seaside aromas and peat-smoke are hidden behind honey and a perfumed aroma I could not identify.
Palate: Initial taste is dominated by honey with hints of blackberry and cherry.  Middle taste merges initial taste with seaside flavors such as sea-salt and seaweed.  Finish has peat-smoke and salted caramel.

This was the most complex whisky I’ve ever tried, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Father and I noticed that the whisky had three distinct tastes among the initial, middle, and finish.  That said, the transitions were beautiful and the complexity of the drink did not take away from its overall beauty.  Instantly one of my five favorite whiskies.

Verdict: Primum Mobile, the 9th level of Paradiso

Queen Visits: Gives Pope Balmoral Whisky

800px-Royal_Lochnagar_Distillery_Main_Building_2012

It has been a pretty busy few days for the Holy Father with visits from the President of the United States and the Queen of England.  I do have a few observations about the gifts to the Holy Father.  You give seeds when you’re a hippy elementary school teacher trying to help kindergartners understand that great things can come from small people.  You give whisky to a man you respect.  Do world leaders see the Pope as a rich man’s Dalai Lama or something more?

There frankly is not much out there from sources I trust on Balmoral Whisky, other than the fact that it is supposedly pretty good.  Balmoral is produced by the Lochnagar Distillery, which resides on the royal lands of Balmoral.  Most of the whisky produced by the distillery is sold to Johnny Walker black and blue labels.  Some of the remaining whisky is then bottled and marketed under the umbrella name “Royal Lochnagar” (in addition to several special releases, Royal Lochnagar issues bottles ranging from 12 to 17 years in age), which generally receives excellent reviews.

Balmoral Whisky, from the limited information I could find, seems to be something of a special release for the Balmoral gift shop, which offers a sampling of the goods produced on royal lands in the area.  The gift shop not only serves as a spot for souveniers, but also as the exclusive way to get many of the goods produced for the royal family, including “postcards, china, crystal, kitchenware, pewter products, [and] clothing.”  Whereas most of the goods sold may only be purchased through the gift shop, Royal Lochnagar has a wider market, which is conveniently solved through the Balmoral special release.  Specifically, Balmoral Whisky is pitched as:

A perfectly balanced medium bodied single malt with a fresh bouquet of fruit and oak. Distilled uniquely for Balmoral Estates at Royal Lochnagar Distillery.

What I suspect happened is that someone in the Queen’s household came up with the idea of offering the Pope a sampling of the goods produced on royal lands, got approval for the idea, and called the various gift shops serving royal lands to order a sampling of products.  No matter how it happened I’d rather have whiskey and eggs laid by royal hens over some stupid seeds.

Communion Rails: An Equal Access Issue

Altarrails

The relatively new norms promulgated by the USCCB have allowed greater freedom for the faithful to receive the Sacrament kneeling.  Communion rails are necessary to protect the ability of many Catholics — including the elderly, pregnant, and infirm — to exercise and follow the new norms.

Under the prior translation of the Mass used in the United States, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal stated:

The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm.

The purpose of this norm was not to disallow kneeling for the reception of the Sacrament because standing either (1) constituted a more pious act or (2) connoted a great sense of continuity with early Christians.  Instead, the norm was issued because the USCCB judged that the benefits gained through uniformity (by encouraging all to stand for communion) outweighed the benefits of allowing personal pious actions such as kneeling.  This judgment was at least arguably at odds with Redemptionis Sacramentum depending on how one parsed the language.

A new General Instruction of the Roman Missal has issued with the new translation.  The new GIRM clears up any confusion and states:

The norm established for the dioceses of the United States of America is that holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling.

There is an extremely complex and detailed back-story here (including statements by Cardinal Arinze and the fact that the USCCB promulgated the first norm through the reception of an indult, or privilege to deviate from the liturgical norm found in the Latin Church, an indult which may have been conditioned on the continued right of the faithful to receive kneeling if they preferred) which I am glossing over in the interest of time and space.

The main point is that the norm for the faithful who wish to receive kneeling is to receive kneeling.  For many of the faithful, the desire to receive kneeling is not a matter of personal taste but rather the result of deeply held beliefs, beliefs which originate from a desire to respect the Eucharist, the center of the Catholic Faith.

One main objection many Catholics have with respect to standing and receiving on the hand is that the gesture does not connote the proper respect due to the Sacrament.  From Archbishop Schneider’s Paper Holy Communion- The Hidden Majesty of Divine Love, given in Hong Kong:

A gesture as one treats common food, that means: to pick up with one’s own fingers the Sacred Host from the palm of the left hand and put It by oneself in the mouth. A habitual practice of such a gesture causes in a not little number of the faithful, and especially of children and adolescents, the perception that under the Sacred Host there isn’t present the Divine Person of Christ, but rather a religious symbol, for they can treat the Sacred Host exteriorly in a way as they treat common food: touching with his own fingers and putting the food with the fingers in one’s own mouth.

The practice of kneeling, therefore arises from (1) a deeply held desire to show respect and devotion to the Sacrament and (2) the desire to fulfill the norm announced by the GIRM.  A most generous interpretation of the GIRM would hold that the language encourages those who wish to receive kneeling to actually do so by making kneeling the norm for those who inwardly desire to kneel.  The addition and use of communion rails would help the elderly and those pregnant fulfill the norm by making it more  accessible to those most likely to have difficulty kneeling and rising on a common floor (not to mention the fact that most churches seem to have tile floors, which only adds to the discomfort and difficulty of those least able to fulfill the norm because of age, infirmity, or pregnancy).

Should the elderly and those pregnant not have the same access to the liturgical norms for receiving communion as other Catholics?  In my view this is one of the most overlooked deficiencies in many parishes, but progress could certainly be made at the parish council level if more of the faithful speak up for the rights of all to fulfill the norms outlined in the GIRM.

Book Review: Decline and Fall

Decline and Fall was recommended to me by our fellow whiskey Catholic writer Nick, who is currently on a six year sabbatical (if you know what I mean).  I began reading Decline and Fall after finishing Chesterton’s book on Aquinas, in short because I was looking for something a little more lighthearted before I launched into another book on philosophy or theology.  Like a fine single-malt, Decline and Fall fulfilled my expectations and provided a truly enjoyable experience.

Decline and Fall is likely not for everyone.  Evelyn Waugh has an extremely dry sense of humor.  His language, diction, and tone are entirely serious450px-Evelynwaugh and he feels no need to point out the hilarity of certain situations to his readers to make sure they “get it.”  It took me more than one chapter to get over the incredulous “did I read that right???” feeling.

From my perspective, Waugh’s masterpiece is a “trip” through modernism.  He places his modern-thinking characters into extremely realistic situations — school, the workplace, and prison — even if their roads to these destinations are entirely implausible.  The three environments into which Waugh places his lab-rat characters allow him the freedom and imagination to explore the complexities and failings of modernism.  A central flaw of modernism, and Waugh’s characters, is that the more modern and educated they become, the more removed from reality they are; to the point where they are wholly incapable of recognizing the basic hurdles before them.

Evelyn Waugh makes me think.  He has a deep understanding of modernism, such that he easily identifies and clearly articulates some of its most obvious flaws.  Simultaneously, he has a difficult time understanding why modernism is attractive and why people would seemingly turn off their basic common sense in following a life-style which seems to bind and blind rather than free and illuminate.

Like so many of the great Catholic thinkers of our time he had a very deep understanding of (1) the meaning of words and (2) the purpose of actions.  Consider his thoughts on participation in the Mass:

Participation’ in the Mass does not mean hearing our own voices. It means God hearing our voices. Only He knows who is ‘participating’ at Mass. I believe, to compare small things with great, that I ‘participate’ in a work of art when I study it and love it silently. No need to shout. …If the Germans want to be noisy, let them. But why should they disturb our devotions?

His quote articulates my discomfort with those who feel that they must act as ministers of sorts to be full participants in their religion, something the Holy Father might refer to as clericalism.  When confronted with changing cultural norms, whether those norms be in Church or society, Waugh disassembles the entire system in an effort to ask why we are changing and how new norms will serve us better.

My first foray into Waugh was completely enjoyable.  I tend to read at night and my wife was frequently woken up with my laughing as I came upon one situation more absurd and witty than the next.  I encourage any Whiskey Man to give Decline and Fall a try, perhaps with a glass of Glenmorangie.

Whiskey Man: St. Albertus Magnus

St. Albertus Magnus, Doctor of the Universal Church, is recognized by Catholics as being proficient in every branch of learning known to the university system of his day.  While St. Magnus does not receive as much recognition in modern Catholic culture as some more charismatic saints, an enormous statue of “Big Al” (a replica of the featured picture here) resides outside the University of Houston Law Center.

Very little in known about St. Magnus’s early life, but he may have been home-schooled until attending university in Padua, a city in northern Italy 450px-Albertus_Magnus-Denkmalbetween Verona and Venice.  In 1223 he joined the Dominicans, and after earning his habit and ordination he began teaching theology at several universities.  While teaching in Cologne and Paris, a particularly quiet student, Thomas Aquinas, joined his class.  Although Thomas’s classmates affectionately termed him the “Dumb Ox”  because of his pervasive silence, St. Magnus made perhaps his greatest contribution to Western Civilization in sensing that the Dumb Ox was one of the greatest minds ever born.  Seeing an enormous potential Thomas, Magnus chose him as his research assistant.  As Thomas’s genius became more evident to Magnus, the teacher declared that “this Dumb Ox will fill the world with his bellowing.”  Once Magnus was made regent of the university in Cologne, he invited Aquinas to join as a professor.

Magnus’ impact on Thomas Aquinas cannot be understated.  Magnus not only introduced Aquinas to Aristotle but began a rudimentary application of the Greek philosophy to the Christian theological thinking. Magnus also helped promote the idea of systematic theology, a theology which adhered more to the scientific order than the strict mysticism found in some older sources.  Magnus understood the importance of distinguishing between erroneous beliefs held by the Greek philosophers and those beliefs which contained truth sufficient to enlighten or augment revelation.

Eventually Magnus was elevated to provincial, and many of his thoughts and reforms ensured  the long-term success of the mendicant orders.  He defended the need for Franciscan and Dominican work against attacks leveled by clergy and bishops in Rome while instituting a formal system of seminary learning and graduation for his order of preachers.  In 1260 he was appointed  Bishop of Ratisbon, a position he held for two short years before returning to yet another professorship.

New challenges to the Church encouraged Aquinas and Magnus to collaborate whenever possible. Magnus sent his research to Thomas in advance of the later’s debate with the Averroists.  The two were expected to act as the cornerstones of the Council of Lyons until Aquinas unexpectedly died on the road to the council.  Magnus was inconsolable at the loss of his pupil, lamenting that the Light of the Church had been prematurely extinguished.  Magnus carried on the work of Aquinas at the Council but the Catholic Encyclopedia mentions that the name of Aquinas would bring tears to the eyes of his teacher for the rest of Magnus’s life.

Magnus would spend much of the remainder of his life defending Aquinas from those who were too cowardly to object to the Dumb Ox’s teaching during his lifetime.  In Paris, Magnus defended Aquinas’ works against charges that they were too deferential to non-believing philosophers.  After his great debate with Stephen Tempier, signs similar to dementia began to appear, his mind eroded, and he passed to our Lord in 1280 at the age of 74.

Whiskey Review: South Boston Irish Whiskey

South Boston Irish Whiskey

We knew that South Boston Irish Whiskey was something of a gimmick when we bought it, but like the sirens in the Odyssey we simply could not resist a label which makes use of an authentic Leventhal Map found at the Boston Public Library.  South Boston Irish Whiskey is distilled in Ireland and bottled by Grandten Distillery in Boston.  Grandten Distillery, located on Boston’s famous Dorchester Avenue, has made a local name for itself by distilling vodkas, liqueurs, and gins.

Many craft whiskey distilleries, especially those without huge capital investments from finance companies begin by making vodka and gin.  Simply put, properly aged whiskey is an investment which cannot be cashed in for 10-15 years.  Instead of going a decade without paying yourself you can market products which have immediate payoffs.  One such product is the already distilled Irish whiskey which Grandten bottles, labels, and markets.  It will be interesting to see if the current South Boston Irish Whiskey is a precursor to a whiskey that is locally produced under the same label.

Rumor has it that Grandten has partnered with Cooley Distillery in Ireland for their supply.  Cooley, of course, makes Tyrconnell and Kilbeggan.

Type: Irish Whiskey
Proof: 80
MSRP: $27

Color: Bronzed strawSouth Boston Irish Whiskey
Aroma: Strong initial overtones of herbal mint with slight medicinal notes
Palate: Slightly sweet and cooling initial taste with a flatter middle pallet.  Finish tastes of pine and mint, noticeably without the mineral aftertaste which effects some Irish whiskies.

Michael: Without question South Boston Irish Whiskey exceeded my expectations, which were admittedly not high to begin with.  If I were to buy this bottle it would probably be for something that serves as a conversational piece on the shelf, not for what’s inside, which in its own right was unremarkable (certainly better than Lexington or Nor’Easter though).  I would be very interested in trying the products which are actually distilled in Boston, as I expect that they are significantly better than what is distilled at Cooley.

Andrew: This is a solid Irish whiskey, and one that I would be happy to use in my next Irish coffee! The pallet and finish were smoother than other Irish whiskeys we’ve tried, and the aroma was consistent with the taste. And of course the bottle itself was very well designed. I have a bit of an interest in early Boston history, and the map of South Boston was the perfect backdrop for this line of whiskey. I look forward to trying the other products sold by this distillery (next on my list is their barrel aged gin).

Verdict: Mars, the 5th level of Paradiso