A Christmas Wish-ky (hic)

A Christmas Wish-ky (hic)

Christmas Sensory Testing

A Christmas Wish(ky) by Sensory Santa

Prologue

24th December. Santa looked at the mantelpiece. It was the last one of the trip. Up on the roof Donner and Blitzen and the rest of the team were waiting patiently. Santa put the gifts carefully into each stocking and then smiled broadly as he took the glass and downed the whisky within – in one go. He put the mince pies in his doggy bag, ready for the ride home, did that magic chimney thing and before you could say Glenlivet he was on his way home.

Back at the North Pole Mrs Claus had her feet up on the sofa, a book in her lap, looking for all the world as though she’d been relaxing in front of the blazing fire all night whilst her beloved was off on his trip. Of course, Santa knew that in reality she’d borrowed the helicopter to deliver a last-minute gift to a child in far off England.

He pretended to be blissfully unaware of the work of his secret helper. Of course, Mrs Claus knew that he knew, but she pretended that she thought he didn’t know. The same thing happened year after year, because Santa was forgetful; but it was best just to play along.

How was your trip, Darling?

Fine, fine. But you know… some whiskys I like, and some I don’t. And I’d love to know which is which, and why some taste better than others.

Mrs Claus smiled and looked thoughtful.

Scene 1

26th December, Sensory Dimensions HQ. Tracey's phone beeped. She had an email. It was a work email so she scanned quickly through it, ready to park it until the end of the break. Then she read it again, more carefully this time. She put the phone down, and sat back in her chair for a few minutes, lost in thought. Then she picked up her phone again, and activated the Emergency Code Red Alarm. She watched as the office wall transformed into a screen. One by one the faces of the emergency code red sensory trial team came on-line. Last on was Beryl. ‘Sorry. I was doing the turkey curry,’ she said.

Tracey paused, then began the briefing.

‘We’ve had an unusual request. ' she said. 'I must impress upon you all the need for the utmost discretion. Now listen carefully.’ And she explained the requirement.

Some hours later, as the winter sun was setting, the scene was set. In the emergency code red testing room at Sensory Dimensions HQ they had carefully laid out a dozen sets of a dozen whisky tumblers, each with a wee dram of a dozen different whiskys. Each tumbler was numbered with a special three digit code. There was also a mince pie at each testing station, on a small plate.

At the control console there was a copy of the Sensory Dimensions Guide to (Do It Yourself) Consumer Testing (Hush-hush); and a sealed envelope in which they had placed the key to the numbers. Written across the front of the envelope, in bold red pen it said ‘Only to be opened on completion of trial.’ Tracey checked all was correct; dismissed the team; shut and locked the door and walked to the car park, to head home.

The instructions had been quite clear – no peeking!

Not a bad day’s work, she thought, as she drove home, even if it was Boxing Day and she still had a million and one things to do at home.

Scene 2

27th December: Sensory Dimensions HQ. The alarm was buzzing. Beryl rolled over to turn it off. She sat up, rubbed her eyes. And then remembered what day it was. She positively leapt out of bed, threw on her clothes, ran down the stairs, jumped on her Suzuki 650, and headed for work.

She was, regrettably, the last to arrive again. The rest of the team were all there, ready and waiting in Tracey's office.

‘Now remember, I must impress upon you the need for the utmost secrecy and to respect our client’s confidentiality’, said Tracey. They all nodded their assent. Together they went into the emergency code red testing room, and surveyed the scene.

The room was immaculate. In the kitchen area there were a dozen boxes of a dozen whisky tumblers, all washed and dried and sparkling like diamonds. The little plates had been put away in the cupboard. Everything else was in its usual place, except that in the far corner of the room there was a stack of a dozen boxes of a dozen bottles of the finest vintage champagne.

As they stood there Tracey's phone beeped. It was another email, from Mrs Claus. Tracey read it out to the team.

Dear Tracey and the Team at Sensory Dimensions,

Thank you so much for your help. The champagne is a small contribution to the next office party – maybe at New Year. Santa and the elves greatly enjoyed the trial and he asked me to tell you that his favourite was...

But that, Dear Reader, would be telling and I’m afraid we must respect the confidentiality of our client.

If you can’t get hold of Mrs Claus, the Sensory Dimensions Emergency Code Red Trial Team is always ready to respond to your urgent requests.

Have a very happy Christmas and a fabulous New Year.