Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #011 – “The Time Traveler’s Wife” (Audrey Niffenegger)

Date:  December, 2009

Host:  Clint/Jamie (Mixed Night)

Whisky:  n/a

Rum:  n/a

 

Some of our significant others (and friends thereof) have a ladies book club.  Robert tossed out the suggestion a while back of doing a book swap with them.  Our favorite for their favorite.  When all rankings were submitted and weighted accordingly, “Perfume” won out as the guys’ highest ranked book.  Should note that the book had to be from our first cycle (ie. everyone’s first time picking a book).  The ladies selected “The Time Traveler’s Wife” for us.  Though many of us approached with trepidition, it was actually not a bad read.  Our meeting was a mix of the guys’ and gals’ clubs, and totalled eleven of us, I believe.  Discussion was divided into two sessions, tackling each book at a turn.  Each session ranged from an hour to an hour and a half.  Good conversation…fun night.  Clint and Jamie were great hosts.  As this was just before Christmas, there was a humorous gift exchange (spoon, Robert?), quizzes, and good food.  We opted for a “bring your own” approach for this one in terms of bevvies.  I broke open a great bottle of Ardbeg Uigeadail for the occasion.  Fantastic whisky.  To be honest, there was some concern about how we would manage this whole set-up, but it went over very well.  Maybe an annual Christmas tradition now?

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature #010 – “The Namesake” (Jhumpa Lahiri)

Date:  November, 2009

Host:  Lance

Whisky:  n/a

Rum:  Bruichladdich Renegade, Cadenheads Classic Green Label

 

Rum night #2.  A very personal night.  Discussion that hit home with a lot of us regarding both family and immigration.  Yep…we got all emotional.  Not a book that required a lot of follow-up, or that led to many story-specific conversations.  Relatively short evening that managed to pack a lot of decent conversation into it.  Fairly well received book.  A rum night.  Neither received quite the reception Zaya did last time.  Topic conversation likely only an hour (if that), however much conversation was related to instances and experiences from the book.

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #009 – “Atlas Shrugged” (Ayn Rand)

Date:  October, 2009

Host:  Curt

Whisky:  Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist, Amrut, Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Rum:  Flor de Cana 5 y.o.

Tequila:  El Jimador

 

Sigh.  This should have been our magnum opus discussion.  Instead it was a slightly disappointing night.  Not bad…just…disappointing.  With a book like ‘Atlas’, we went into it with so much hype and elevated expectations.  Perhaps expectations were set too high though, as we did all see the potential, just never quite reached the heights of conversational brilliance to which we’d all aspired.  Icarus and all, right?  Topics of conversation never really got deep enough into philosophy or aesthetics for my liking.  And to be honest, I expected a little more polarity, but it seemed to be fairly well-received and appreciated by most of the gang and all for the same qualities.  Oh well.

I had ordered a few Atlas pieces before this night, and awarded Bauer a “Who is John Galt” shirt for the ultimate achievement, and simply being the uber keener (in the three months between announcement of Atlas and our meeting, he read Atlas twice and The Fountainhead as well).  Can’t recall if I wore my Danneskjold Repossessions shirt or Reardon Steel one.  😉

Pat, Clint, Bauer and I had cigars and laid into a couple of true heavyweights in terms of peated whisky.  I should also note that this was the night we met and fell in love with the Beast.  Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist, that is.  Dear gawd, what a whisky.  Most of the gang, at this early stage in their tasting journeys were a little…err…unimpressed with the smoky peat monsters.  Oh well…the Ardbeg was beautiful, and the Quarter Cask a brilliant dram too.  I had managed to track down a single malt from India, following on the footsteps of Buddha, who had found a nifty Japanese whisky earlier on.  There was some rum and tequila open too.  The former took a beating.  The latter…not so much.  Food wise…just some snacks:  a table full of a wide array of munchies and sweets.

I’d guess our topic conversation topped out at about two and a half hours.  …And didn’t even scratch the surface.

Perhaps we’ll have to try ‘The Fountainhead’ at some point.

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #008 – “Ender’s Game” (Orson Scott Card)

Date:  September, 2009

Host:  Bauer

Whisky:  Glenrothes Select Reserve, Bruichladdich Manzanilla Sherry Edition, Strathisla 12 y.o.

Rum:  Bundaberg

 

In terms of content, this book was arguably the biggest and most pleasant surprise.  Much due, of course, to the ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ idiom.  Our copies all look like something from the teen fiction section.  Very enjoyable read though, and warmly received.  Conversation had some political overtones, but never got too deep.  A little heated perhaps, regarding the right to opinion, but never too deep.  Three whiskies.  All decent, none that really resonated with me.  Topic conversation was likely about an hour and half.

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #007 – “Atlantis” (David Gibbons)

Date:  August, 2009

Host:  Scott

Whisky:  Yamazaki 12 y.o., Macallan Fine Oak 10 y.o.

Rum:  Santa Teresa 1796

 

Really liked the ambience for this meeting.  Cozy little set up at Scott’s place.  Great snacks and nice beverages.  Scott picked up a Japanese whisky (Yamazaki) that was a very pleasant surprise.  The book did not receive an overly warm reception.  Most felt it went a little off the rails, and was derivative of the Cussler/Indiana Jones schtick.  That being said, it did have many positive merits.  Led me into some research regarding the “historical” Atlantis, Plato, ancient civilizations, etc.  For a mediocre book it managed to bring out one of the better conversations we’ve had to date.  Good night.  Topic conversation about two hours.

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature #006 – “The Chrysalids” (John Wyndham)

Date:  July, 2009

Host:  Robert

Whisky:  Grant’s

Rum:  n/a

 

An over-nighter at the acreage.  Some of the gang headed out early to begin prepping.  Clint and Bauer were in the kitchen while Robert built the fire.  Beer flowed until the three litre bottle of Scotch was opened (yeah…you read that right).  Dinner was great, as per Clint’s high standards.  The dinner call was even better.  The bulls of Pamplona have nothing on a charging Clint ringing the dinner bell.  Fortunately a new screen door was already en route.  Lance had the camera set up, and we all gathered around the fire.  Food done, Pat, Clint and I leaned back with cigars while the seven of us weighed in on The Chrysalids.  Very well received book.  Easy to read, much to discuss, and had topics which easily led into contemporary thought.  Robert’s story as to why he chose the book was a highlight as well.  Much later, as some retired and others retched, a few sat around the fire with the guitar.  Morning was swine and eggs, and watching Pat stretch out on any cool flat surface available.  Great, memorable evening.  I imagine this will become tradition.  Topic conversation about two hours I think…maybe slightly less.  Could have been longer, but liquor got in the way.

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #005 – “Catch 22” (Joseph Heller)

Date:  June, 2009

Host:  Pat

Whisky:  Glenlivet Nadurra, Glengoyne 21

Rum:  n/a

 

Enter the Buddha.  Ginger Buddha, that is.  Liquorature opened its doors to a new member this month.  This was the first gathering to include Scott.

We nearly lit Pat’s home on fire, but that’s to be expected with this group of individuals.  Uh…the wives don’t read any of this, do they?

Pat pulled this one from his “need to read” list, and surprised many in the group.  Though this is one of Lance’s all time least favorite books (he had also read it before), the rest seemed to enjoy it.  The humor won over most, I think.  The story itself…meh…not too shabby.  I gotta give credit for a great ending though.   Topic conversation was about two hours, with much quoting and referring to specific parts that had everyone laughing.

Nice choice of whiskies.  The Glenlivet Nadurra was our first run at a cask strengther.  It is quite a beautiful dram that I had to try again months later (when Pat restocked) to fully appreciate.  Just which Glengoyne we had…not certain.  Maybe Pat can help out with that one.

This was a memorable night with much laughter, and good ambience.  Given the subject matter, that was to be expected.  Clint, to this day, proudly carries the heavyweight zinger award for the verbal bitchslap he gave Robert in one of the all-time greatest insults.

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #004 – “Blood Meridian” (Cormac McCarthy)

Date:  May, 2009

Host:  Clint

Whisky:  Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or, Auchentoshen

Rum:  n/a

 

Okay…where to begin…

This night has gone down in Liquorature lore as a lesson in not missing our monthly meetings.  Only three people made it to this one (Pat, Clint and I).  This was truly unfortunate, as it was arguably the most enjoyable gathering to date.  Put simply, it was the perfect marriage of all the ideals that come together to make Liquorature a reality.  Nice whiskies, fantastic food, a well-written controversial novel, great discussion and brilliant company.

Chef extraordinaire, Ostby, prepared a nice BBQ pork, salsa fresca, cheeses, etc.  After feasting we continued the slow nibble through the eve.  Clint has since found his services in demand for other hosting duties.  Hey…the man runs a mean grill.

Blood Meridian.  Sigh.  An absolute masterpiece, if you ask me.  However there are others here who may have a thought to share on that (ahem…Watson).  Very polarizing book.  Interestingly enough, I think the three of us who held the book in the highest esteem were the three who made it to this meeting.  Extremely deep and interesting conversation rife with speculation regarding all of the metaphysical content in the book.  Much consensus regarding personal opinions of the book as well.

We spun the Earth – Hex album for some droning Western music to truly set the mood, and followed it up with a little Neil Young – Harvest.

One of, if not, the best meeting so far.  Should mention the serious ‘Slash’ bromance that followed book discussion (Pat…you’re such a softie…when it comes to Slash).  Thoroughly enjoyable evening.  Topic conversation about two hours, and came back to it a bunch more through the course of the night.

One last note…

This was the novel which gave Liquorature its ‘godforsook’ adjective to describe those less than appreciated works.

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #003 – “Red Mars” (Kim Stanley Robinson)

Date:  April, 2009

Host:  Lance

Whisky:  Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Glenlivet 21 y.o.

Rum:  Zaya, Flor de Cana 18 y.o., Appleton’s Master Blender’s 30 y.o.

 

This was the first of our “rum nights”.  Monsignor Surujbally, being a connoisseur of the cane, provided a couple of fine rums to sample.  One in particular, a spicy sipper called Zaya, struck a chord with all.  The first truly great rum I have tried.  Being the gracious host he is, Lance also broke out a couple of high end whiskies for those of us not so into the pirate juice.  One of these just happened to be the famous Johnnie Walker Blue Label.  A nice blended scotch whisky, but not what I would have expected for ~$200 a bottle.  Slightly…well…underwhelming.  Not that I would pass on a dram though.  Being as this was my first go at this one, I will have to sample it again with a clean palate.  The second was a Glenlivit 21 Archive.  Bold and beautiful.

Conversation was flowing and interesting.  This was quite a slog of a book.  Not necessarily a bad thing though, as it was a tome delightfully burdened with detail and well thought out pacing.  The science and engineering were where most of the conversation was centered.  Technical merits and genre comparisons were favored topics.  We were detail-oriented and heavily opinionated…though not in a polarity sense.

As I do every time I am at Lance’s place, I must note…love that big sectional sofa for reclining and conversing in.  Topic conversation was about two hours.  Tack on an additional hour worth of Zaya praise.

Another great night.

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #002 – “Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer” (Patrick Suskind)

Date:  March, 2009

Host:  Curt

Whisky:  Glendronach 12 y.o.

Rum:  n/a

 

This was a cozy evening gathered around the fireplace.  Brought in a couple extra armchairs and had a decent little circle for conversation.

The book for this month was ‘Perfume’.  A translation from German.  Lance later confirmed my suspicions that the translation was likely better than the original.  The book was warmly received by all.  Whether this was because of, or in spite of, the subject matter being beyond what would have been on most people’s “to read” radar is open to debate.  Everyone was quite enamored with how sumptuous and descriptive the writing was.  It is doubtlessly, a very visual book.  Conversation on the book was focused mainly on the richness of Suskind’s language and the absurdity of this pseudo-fairytale.

I opted for three bottles of the same whisky, a Glendronach 12, which I later regretted.  I should have branched out with a couple different ones.  Alas…hindsight is 20/20.  The Glendronach was…mediocre for a ~$50 bottle.  Disappointing.

All things told…it was an enjoyable night.

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #001 – “The Lion’s Game” (Nelson Demille)

Date:  Feb 2009

Host:  Bauer

Whisky:  Bruichladdich 15 y.o.

Rum:  n/a

 

This was a helluva kickoff for Liquorature.  Bauer was tasked with hosting duties for the inaugural meeting of our club, as a few of us (Pat, Clint and I) were sort of…displaced and homeless as we awaited completion of our respective new homes.  Pat was unable to make it as the poor soul was suffering in the Mayan Riviera, but the rest of us forged ahead to blaze the trail.  This was before the Ginger Buddha (Scott) became a member of Liquorature.

Bauer’s book selection, though a bruiser at ~950 pages, was relatively easy reading for all.  The pressures of picking a book for the group that would incite discussion, yet still entertain, was substantial.  More so considering we had no precedent against which to build.  The choice was a good’er, as it was a book none too daunting, challenging or serious.  We were able to enjoy a well-paced story and not engage in too much homework.  Topic conversation was about an hour and a half.  Well done, Bauer.

Robert’s initial hesitation about joining the club (the infamous tale of his O level English had yet to surface) was quickly proven unfounded, as the group gelled instantly and the foundations were laid for a fraternity of drunken literary aspirants.  Many of the Liquorature standards were set and defined here.  Only wish we had been bringing a camera along from the inception.  Sigh.

As Lance was driving, and Pat was absent, four of us felt obligated to put down a couple bottles of Bruichladdich.  Well done, gents.  Setting another precedent perhaps?

 

– Curt