Liquorature Gathering #022 – “The Hound Of The Baskervilles” (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
Date: November, 2010
Whisky: Johnnie Walker Gold Label, Edradour Straight From The Cask Chateauneuf Du Pape, Isle of Arran Bourbon Cask Single Cask
Rum: Cadenheads Green Label Laphroaig Cask Matured
This month was a sort of renaissance for the club. We initiated two new members, tackled a classic (complete with iconic literary character), visited a few exceptional drams and had a great conversation that sort of put us back on the rails in terms of insight, intellect and enjoyment. We’ve had a run of books recently that to some were homework and to others lacked enough meat to provide topics of discussion. Such is the nature of this endeavor though.
Pat, Jay and I put in a somewhat tardy arrival (apologies again Scott). We had been to a guitar clinic at Long & McQuade, watching the inimitable Gordie Johnson dragging the blues kicking and screaming from a Gibson acoustic. Damn…I love this guy. If you haven’t checked out Big Sugar, friends…you’re missing out. Helluva way to kick off a great night. We boogied back down South in time to kick things off a tad later than usual.
Introductions were in order between Jay and Chris. These two chaps had yet to meet, but here’s hoping they become as tight as the rest of us. Lance spoke a few words in honor…we raised our glasses…and commenced things as a new entity. The initiation itself? Can’t tell you that here. The masons would be proud though.
Scott’s pick for November took a few of us by surprise. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles”. Somewhat surprising to see how few of us had ever actually read the exploits of the iconic Sherlock Holmes and his esteemed colleague, Watson. A few of us took a little initiative and read more of the Holmes canon in order to flesh out the big picture.
Among the topics covered, we spoke of style, narrative structure, the gothic horror element, our preconceptions, the depth of character, deduction and much more. This was much more like the conversations of old. When it came time to weigh in it seems most impressions were favorable. Some took exception to the flow and arc of the tale (ie. early climax with drawn out denouement), but in the end still enjoyed the tale. A favorite element for all was atmosphere and setting.
Well picked, Scott. There are some truly legendary authors out there yet to be tackled by the Liquorature gang (Asimov, Howard, King, Dickens, Melville, Nabokov, Vonnegut, Bradbury, Orwell, on and on), and Doyle was certainly one that needed to be read. I think we’re all glad to have read this one.
Should note that the Ginger Buddha had done the place up in style too. Maps of the moor, facsimile letters and documents and great visuals were posted and strewn around the room to add a little ambience. Nifty.
When it came to the bevvies…
Scott paid a visit to Andrew Ferguson at the Kensington Wine Market for a little guidance in his selection. Not that guidance is necessarily needed, but hey…Andrew knows his stuff…has some unique malts…and often has open bottles to sample before making your selection. Together they came up with a solid Isle of Arran Bourbon Cask (single cask) and a gorgeous rich Edradour SFTC Chateauneuf du Pape (also single cask). Before hitting these beefier cask strength numbers, we sampled the Johnnie Walker Gold Label. Nice. Quite nice indeed. The Edradour was the runaway though.
And rum? Well…this was an abortion. I speak only for myself here (and perhaps one or two unnamed others), but was this distilled Barbie juice we were drinking? Holy plastic flavors. In a sojourn down to the afore-mentioned KWM I had seen a Cadenheads bottling that had been matured in Laphroaig casks. I mentioned this to Scott, and unbeknownst to the rest he did indeed pick this one. Peated rum? WTF?! While the rum appreciators said, “bah…this is not rum…it’s more like a whisky”, the whisky drinkers were swishing out their mouths in distaste and declaring it nothing like our beloved malts. In hindsight, I’d be curious to know if any actually liked it. Something different anyway.
As is becoming the standard, the lads are merciless with their needling. The Star Trek and wrestling references not only continue unabated, but a few have taken it upon themselves to draw obscure connections and parallels with our book selection. Sigh. And here I thought I had surrounded myself with the elite. This delusion was further shattered by the avalanche of Mandingo, John Holmes and general porn comments. This little foray into the gutter was the lowest we’ve sunk yet…and was bloody hilarious. If we needed any more assurance as to why this is a men’s club…this was it.
All in all, a truly memorable night. It was great to have Chris back in the fold (you may remember he had sat in on our ‘”Wizard’s First Rule” gathering) and equally great to have Jay for the first time. I think this group is going to work out just fine. Though we’re a little bigger now, all concerns about too many seemed to unfounded as we never really had any “shhhhhhhhh” moments. Well done, all. This was a great night to have been the new guys’ first.
A few random thoughts:
Rod Stewart has ‘Bob’ hair…the Glencairn dilemma…Hamlet in the original Klingon…”Honey, I’m coming home”…countless Star Trek, wrestling and porn references…Mandingo…hostel head (Ostby)…plastic in my rum…the pink box…