Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #018 – “The Idiot” (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

Date:  July, 2010

The Idiot – Fyodor Dostoevsky

Host:  Lance

Whisky:  Yamazaki 12 yr old (Japan)

Rum: Old Port DeLuxe (India), Mount Gay Extra Old (Barbados), El Dorado 5 yr old (Guyana).  (Also sampled: Appleton 30 yr old, Kraken Black and Clemente agricole)

 

Cane night at Chez Surujbally.  Our host extraordinaire not only trotted out a fine selection of new bottles, but also broke open a swath from own stash.  I think there were 10 rums altogether that got battered, as well as 3 whiskies.  Lance was kind enough to allow me nips at both the Johnnie Walker Blue and the Glenlivet 21 Archive, both of which will have reviews up in the coming days.

A gorgeous summer eve led us all out to Lance’s back deck to sit in the sun and watch the day end.  For only the second time we allowed a visitor to sit on for a session.  The famous, or infamous, Sir Bear (Keenan) joined us for this evening of carousing.  True to Lance’s word Keenan was not only a tangible being, but a gentleman and a scholar.  In a bold move, Lance’s enticement of the Bear involved an invitation to select the book for our gathering.  Hence…’The Idiot’.

Keenan is a brave man.  Not sure I would have wanted the responsibility of picking a book for a group of people I had never met.  Though I won’t say everyone enjoyed it…I will say that it was a good selection.  We had a whirlwind of conversation on this one.  I think we probably spent a solid couple hours on the book all told.  The consensus?  Uh…not so good.  Most took exception to the title character’s seeming lack of spine or sack.  The meandering Victorian language and frustrating lack of action…ANY action…were deal-breakers for most.  A few things stood out in positive relief however.  A few passages were existentialist Dostoyevsky at his best (mostly the end)…a couple of great humorous scenes…some ridiculous (though very broad stroke) characters…and the best thing of all for some of the gang?  To be able to say they have now read Dostoyevsky.

The everyman’s meal (chili) was a success as well.  The gents lauded Surujbally’s culinary prowess (notice I said ‘Surujbally’…and not ‘Lance’….this way if it was Kym who did the deed…I’m still covered).  I don’t believe there is such thing as a red n’ white blooded Canadian who doesn’t love chili.

The night’s sipping (and dear gawd…there was a lot of it)…started for this guy with two higher end whiskies that Lance has been nudging me to review for a while now.  The always disappointing Johnnie Walker Blue (Sorry, guys) and the rather delectable Glenlivet 21.  Aside from appreciation for the drams, I’ll say no more here.  Look under reviews in the near future.  After that it was on to the Yamazaki for me, and a whole schwackload of rum for the rest.  I sampled a couple, but find the stuff is just too…well…not for me.

The Bear and the gang seemed tickled pink with choice though.  As there were simply too many on offer to keep track of, I’ll let the boys’ comments below attest to quality of what was out.  There was more than a little stumbling after all was said and done.  Again…anyone who cares to confess their sins can do below.  Under the whole ‘what happens in Liquorature…stays in Liquorature’ clause it is verboten to rat out another…HOWEVER…if said individuals care to consider their (mis)deeds as a badge of honor…hey…confession is good for the soul (and a few laughs!).

A great night full of laughter and mockery.  Keenan was a welcome addition for the eve.  Nice guy,  open and involved…contributed more than just a book selection.  Glad we finally met, sir.  Hope to see more of you in the future.

The rewards of tackling Dostoyevsky are many, but for a few of the gang it is simply to round out the bell curve.  This was will be low ranked for most.  As always though…all conceded that it allows that frame of reference that you carry forward.  I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a sense of relief at moving into the next couple of selections.

Highlights:

…making mad rubles…the literary equivalent of Buckley’s…Archie became the new wrestling/Star Trek (but fear not…the boys still brought up this tripe as well)…the hedgehog and Milo Minderbinder…’the best scotch I ever had was rum’…mount gay marriage…an afterparty at the Bull…the Iron Sheik…

Until next we meet…Slainte!

201_3686201_3689201_3692What was I drinkin' again?
 
201_3694The Inimitable Keenan, aka "The Bear"201_3705201_3708

201_3710201_3712201_3717
– 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

Feb 242010
 

Keep your Wednesdays open for a while fellas.  Your calendars are about to fill up.  All details are direct from the Willow Park Events Program.

Wednesday, March 10th – The Rum Doctor with Michael Delevante  $20.00

“The magnificent Appleton Estate Jamaica rums are of a unique style, produced only in Jamaica and only at Appleton.  For over 250 years, generations of our rum experts have been handcrafting rums of exceptional quality, and at Appleton Estate the production of our rum is an art.  Like the brandies of Cognac or the single malts of Scotland, the process is controlled at every step;  from the selection of the varieties of sugar cane grown at the estate, the special nature culture of yeast used in fermentation, the unique distillation and blending methods, to the bottling of the rum.

Enjoy the finest rum in the world.  Cheers!”

Wednesday, March 17th – Jameson Irish Whiskey St. Paddy’s Celebration  $20.00

“John Molloy, Jameson Brand Ambassador for Canada, invites you to an evening of all things Irish.  Jameson Irish whiskey and March 17th go hand in hand, and on this evening we will explore what Jameson has to offer including Jameson 18 Year Old, Jameson Gold, and Jameson Vintage Reserve.”

Wednesday, March 24th – New Scotch Releases With Andy Dunn  $20.00

“The whisky market in Calgary is alive and vibrant in 2010!!  Join Andy Dunn from Gold Medal Marketing Inc. and taste the new offerings from Springbank, Benromach, and Tullibardine distilleries.”

Wednesday, April 28th – Rum Around The World  $20.00

“Join Michael Biggatini for an evening of rum tastes and folklore.  Discover stories behind some old favorites and learn what is new and exciting in the market place.  Find how to mix a great rum cocktail and when it is de rigueur to serve it straight up.  Michael will offer sage advice on great rum and food pairings and suggestions on what bottles are a must for your collection.”

Wednesday, May 5th – Highland Park  $20.00

“Highland Park, established in 1798, is one of two distilleries in the Orkney Islands, just North of mainland Scotland.  This technical tasting event will cover the broad strokes of the history and geography as well as the intricate details of the production process from birth to bottling.  Join J.  Wheelock, Brand Ambassador for Western Canada, for an informative session about what has been hailed as “The greatest all-rounder in the world of malt whisky”.