Jan 292016
 

Liquorature Gathering #054 – “Silence” (Shusaku Endo)silence

Date:  July, 2013

Host:  Jay

Whisky:  Auchentoshan 17 y.o. (1990), Longmorn 16 y.o., A.D. Rattray Ben Nevis 13 y.o.

Rum:  ?

 

Whoa.  Ummm…if ever a book took us to a place of stuttering uncertainty, this may have been it.  There is depth.  There is questioning.  There is empathy.  There is, more than anything, enough to make even the atheists among us reflect on what it means to have a belief in something so strong you’re willing to die for it.  It actually goes further than that, asking us to contemplate whether our beliefs are so strong we could allow others to die for them.  I can’t say I enjoyed paging my way through this one, but I took immense gain from what it made me contemplate.

I’ve said it before…Jay comes up with some unbelievably random and far-reaching picks.  This was just another case in point.  It left a roomful of guys sort of speechless and inarticulate, in spite of all our fumbling to come to grips with it.

But let’s lighten the mood a little.  Every one of our club meetings begins with a formal book discussion and whisky appreciation, but after we’ve exhausted our respective talking points on the book of the month it is simply a night of guys being guys.  Hanging out…sharing laughs…making memories.  This gathering may have started out somewhat somber and riddled with ‘what the fucks?’, but it soon turned into every other event.  Exactly as it should be.

The food was good, the drinks were solid (excepting one sulphured mess of an independent 13 year old Ben Nevis) and the company was ideal.

Coming full circle to a darker note here, this was Lance’s last night with us, before his exile to the middle east for work.  We know this is not a permanent situation, but it is indefinite.  As I write this piece we are closing in on three years gone.  Miss ya, mate.  Look forward to seeing you back.

Until next…

 

– Curt

Jan 272016
 

Liquorature #074 – “Hunger” (Knut Hamsun)Hunger

Date:  July 24th, 2015

Host:  Jay

Whisky:  Cadenhead Glen Keith-Glenlivet 21 y.o., Black Adder Raw Cask Auchentoshan 1991 23 y.o. Cask #3061, Signatory Glenlivet 1981 33 y.o. Cask #9452

 

Jesus suffering fuck.  No need for politically correct niceties here.  This is my site after all.  Where the hell do you come up with these picks, Jay?

This was a deep, dark, existential, Dostoevsky-meets-Camus, slit-your-wrists tale of ludicrous and unrestrained despair.  Mostly of the masochistic and illogical sort.  Starving artist motif be damned, this was an exercise in suspension of disbelief like no other, in which the reader is expected to empathize with decision-making of the most illogical leaps.  If that doesn’t sound like enough of a mindfuck, then wrap your head around this: ‘Hunger’ is a helluva good read, actually.  WTF?!  Exactly.

So what’s it boil down to?  An unhinged, frenetic narrator (albeit likeable for whatever reasons), some Huxley-esque devolutions into acid trip-like surreality (‘Door of Perception’), Strange leaps of logic, an incredible ability to capture the human ‘thought to thought’ mind-wandering transitions, and a truly singular literary experience.  I summed it up before going into this meeting as Huxley meets Salinger meets Kafka meets Dostoyevsky meets Camus meets Cervantes.  Yep.

Let’s not get hung up on the book here, as there really isn’t a way to prepare for this one, so let me just reassure you that while we like to play to themes at Liquorature gatherings, we had no intentions of engaging in any form of self-denial or restraint.  Jay filled our bellies with tasty order-in from Tom’s Pizza, then proceeded to pop the cork on three lovely old single cask independent bottlings.  A Lowlander and a couple of Speysiders.  Real gems, all.  In peering back through the months I cannae rightly recall if there was much left in any of the bottles, but I can only imagine we inflicted some heavy damage, as often happens when the drams are of this calibre.  The book created some division in the ranks; the whiskies certainly did not.

Jay’s streak of truly singular book and malt selection is arguably second to none in the club.  Keep it up, mate.  You’re killing it.

Until next…

Random notes:  Tom’s Pizza rocks … “two degrees of Kevin Bacon” … Seinfeld.

 

– Curt

Aug 252013
 

Liquorature Gathering #041 – “Cell” (Stephen King)Cell

Date:  June, 2012

Host:  Curt

Whisky:  Macallan Cask Strength, Laphroaig 18 y.o., ADR Bowmore 15 y.o., Sheep Dip 1990 Old Hebridean, Octomore Orpheus, SMWS 33.114 ‘Sweet Versus Savoury’, Auchentoshan Valinch 2011

Rum:  Ron de Jeremy

 

Aww, man.  Theme nights.  So much win and so much fail.  The best laid plans of mice and men, and all that…

So…after a helluva night for ‘The Wicker Man’, I was hoping to ratchet it up again here for this one.  What subject could possibly allow more thematic fun than zombies?  Nothing!  And trust me…there was play a’plenty.  And therein lies the problem.  Too many distractions.

Two little bits of contest fun were set up to get the night rolling.  First up…a ‘Cell’ quiz.  Come on, lads…do you actually pay attention when you read these books or just gloss over and pray for the end?  The way it went down:  all the guys settled in with pen and paper and had to answer 20 questions related to the book.  Jay was running a bit late and showed up about halfway through quiz time.  He picked up his ‘homework’…scribbled for a few seconds…and got more right than any of the others.  WTF?!  Winner number 1.

Contest two…Ahhh…the fun stuff.  How do you take down a zombie?  Why, a head shot of course!  The walls were liberally plastered in decaying zombie heads (one from Zombi, one from NotLD, one from TWD, a wrestling zombie and a Spock zombie).  Each of the guys had to take a turn with dart guns (pistol and rifle) taking out the brain.  Tense, tense sh*t, I tells ya.  In the end, though…Chris took top honors as marksman.  I’ll be calling him when the inevitable zombie apocalypse gets rolling.

Now…the winners were brought out back to find two graves laid out under the deck, and told to pick one each.  Beneath each headstone was a bloody sheet-wrapped ‘corpse’ containing something cool.  The details…hmm…for club members only.

Maltmonster joined us again this eve as a guest, in what is becoming sort of an honorary Liquorature membership for nights I host.  Always fun…always one to contribute to the inebriation and to the evening’s humor…and a guy who freaking loves the thematic theatrics.  Couldn’t ask for a better contributor.

For edibles I tossed some carcass on the grill.  Couldn’t have a zombie night without gnawing the meat off the bone, could we now?

Whiskies on offer this eve?  Well…there were a lot of ‘em.  See the notes above for the full outlay.  Variety is the spice of life.

And the rum?  Well…depending on your take, we either took it up a notch this eve or sunk to rock bottom.  Ron de Jeremy.  That’s right.  A rum named for the king o’ swing, The Hedgehog, himself!

Randoms:  Barry sitting in … Lester or the atheist … Shooting contest … quiz … “The premise was pretty cute” – Barry … “Of course you did, you f*cking idiot, you’re in a Stephen King book!” – Clint … Pick your apocalypse … Buckteeth … “Actually have a part…in nine parts”.

 

– 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