Mar 022016
 

Liquorature #078 – “Gulliver’s Travels” (Jonathan Swift)Gulliver

Date:  November 27th, 2015

Host:  Scott (aka Ginger Buddha)

Whisky:  A.D. Rattray Strathmill 22 y.o. Cask #10310, Edradour SFTC Chateauneuf du Pape 13 y.o., Signatory Bowmore 1985 25 y.o. Cask #32211, Compass Box Peat Monster Cask Strength

 

Every one of us wanted to kick Ginger in the balls for this pick when he sprung it on us so many months back.  Most of the guys out of sheer uninformed (but speculative) dread.  Me, at least, out of a grounded and informed dread, as it was one I’d read in lit classes years back.  Alas, selections like this are the very reason this club exists.  Not a lot of ‘average joes’ out there will ever casually pick up a copy of ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ and thumb their way from page one through to the last written word.  It would be interesting to check suicide rates among those that have read it.  With the club, though, we are here to push one another.  Perhaps down a flight of stairs, in this case.

We started the evening’s discussion, sipping a 22 year old Strathmill, I might add, with a consensus to tar and feather our host before we called it a night.  Without exception, everyone in the collective found this book a tiresome, tedious, over-fucked and ridiculously dated piece of satirical meandering.  What happened as we discussed, however, was one of the most interesting Liquorature developments to date.  I had done a load of research before coming into this evening’s gathering, figuring that a bit of historical context might help the gang see this for what it was.  Or what it was meant to be anyway.

From 2016’s far-removed vantage, much of what made ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ a contentious and dangerous piece of work at the time is lost on us.  Let’s not forget, ‘Gulliver’ was originally published anonymously.  Trying to suspend our preconceptions and placing ourselves in the political, religious, educational and socio-economic clime, however, takes this novel into entirely new realms.  I think by the time we were done our discussion on topical subject matter everyone’s appreciation for Swift’s cynical and rapier-sharp societal gutting was multiplied twofold.  Granted, they all still hated the experience of having to masochistically plow through it.  In short…”Ahhh…I get it now.  Still hate you for making me read it.”

By way of peace offering, Scotty, our ginger-headed host, offered up the afore-mentioned single cask Strathmill, a unique wine-finished Edradour that was a throwback to Liquorature’s younger years, a stunning 1985 Bowmore at the quarter century mark and finally a magnum of Compass Box’s Peat Monster Cask Strength.  All right, Ginger…you’re off the hook.  For now.

All in all, it turned out to be a great night of chatter and beverages.  I think we all learned a little bit about preconceptions and as clichéd as it may sound ‘judging a book by it’s cover’.

Thanks for a great night, Buddha.  Fun one.

Random notes:  A new addition (Eric joining us) … “literary waterboarding” … “Holy fuck!” (Bauer) … Brobdignagian dildo … “Didn’t even get a chance to catch her at the back door” (Steve)

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #022 – “The Hound Of The Baskervilles” (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

Date:  November, 2010

Host:  Scott

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…

mmmmmmmmIMG_5109IMG_5119IMG_5120
 IMG_5121IMG_5124IMG_5126IMG_5132
 
A little more ... I can get the whole thing in....IMG_5142IMG_5145IMG_5150
 
IMG_5155IMG_5176IMG_5179IMG_5182
 
IMG_5189IMG_5193IMG_5194HOUNDSOFBASKERVILLE
– Curt