For cheese nerds, Christmas has come early with the arrival Friday of Whiskey Business. This limited-edition collaboration gem commissioned by Di Bruno Bros., which brought star Sonoma cheesemaker Soyoung Scanlan of Andante together with a bottle of Dad's Hat rye (made in Bristol), is both complex and truly elegant. Are you into oozy rounds of creamy goat? Cheeses wrapped in fragrant spruce bark? How about a nice washed-rind stinker punched up with a shot of local booze in the brine? Scanlan, a musician who established her dairy reputation making cheese and butter for Thomas Keller, has somehow managed to wrangle each of those distinctive full-flavored flourishes into one remarkably coherent creation. Beneath the bright orange rind, which gets its vivid hue and whiff of savory funk from the bacterium
the glossy ivory curd gives off hints of woodsy tang from the band of spruce that wraps the exterior. There's a fruity, barrel-oak echo of the rye - at once present and in the background, lying low like a smoky bass note. But what mostly comes forward is the purity and brightness of gorgeous goat's milk, perfectly aged and elevated to something new and rare, presented in its own ceramic crock. Only 150 of these beauties were produced, and, despite the $24.99 price, they likely will not last long.
- Craig LaBan