Jan 282016
 

Liquorature Gathering #052 – “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” (Philip K. Dick)do-androids-dream-of-electric-sheep

Date:  May, 2013

Host:  Scott

Whisky:  Glenmorangie Ealanta, Sheep Dip 1999 Oloroso Amaroso, Wild Turkey Rare Breed

Rum:  ?

 

You may not know this one by title, but you’d probably recognize the story.  Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi jottings here would later become the seed from which Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’ would grow.  Scott took the premise and turned ideas into striking dystopian visuals.  The latter was great.  The former, beyond great.  Do yourself a favour and read this book.

As with nearly all of the Liquorature science fiction selections that have been tabled before this discerning group, ‘Androids’ was met with very warm reception.  We are nothing if not a group with a profound appreciation for ideas and exploding boundaries.  Sci-fi is built on that very foundation, hence a match made in heaven.  Dick is not my favorite SF author, but he is canonical and this was a great gateway into his world(s).  The fact that I even have a frame of reference for science fiction is a true testament to what this club does.  Prior to Liquorature this was a genre I largely avoided.  Now I seek out the greats within.

Scott’s place is a great venue for these more in depth discussions.  His living room is tight and cozy; a small room ideal for those ‘lean forward and debate’ sort of conversations.  This adds immensely to the experience, I find.  Maybe that’s just me.  Either way…very memorable.  Especially in the dimly lit haze with ‘Blade Runner’ playing on screen behind us.

Alright.  Let’s talk drams to wrap this thing up.  Glenmorangie Ealanta.  Later names Jim Murray’s World Whisky Of The Year.  Ummmm…off your fucking rocker much, mate?  This is nothing more than an ok malt, overburdened with too many spices and synthetic sweet notes from an overpowering bourbon influence.  Moving on.  Wild Turkey Rare Breed.  Wow.  What a treat.  This was one of the most surprising whiskies of the year for me.  I was instantly enamoured.  Who’da thought Wild Turkey could make something so amazing?  Not this guy.  Definitely the standout of the night.

Was there rum?  There was probably rum.  Bah.  Who cares?

Ramdoms:  “EMP, bitch!”…”the Alan Alda of Ginger Buddhas”…

 

– Curt

Jan 262015
 

Liquorature #066 – “The Old Man And The Sea” (Ernest Hemingway)the-old-man-and-the-sea

Date:  November 21st, 2014

Host:  Steve

Whisky:  Glenmorangie Companta, Glenmorangie 18, Black Bull 12, Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask

 

Steve’s turn to take us on a bit of a journey.  This time way out beyond where the land still exerts pull.  We found ourselves rocked on the waves with old Santiago as he puts his will up against that of the majestic marlin.  The isolation and calm test of man against nature (and himself) set a tone here that hints at the sort of deep Americana we’re bound to encounter in an upcoming tale or two for the Liquorature few.

This was Steve’s first run at hosting, meaning his first go at all the stress that goes into good book, drink and food selection.  That’s not to belittle the importance of being prepared to steer a solid conversation on topical subject matter related to the book at play.  As it turns out, this one was a knockout evening.  Steve had had a long, long while to prepare for this one.  He initially announced this selection before the Liquorature Dark Ages.  When all collapsed, it seemed as though the club would go to its grave without tackling one of the literary greats of our age.  Steve was more disappointed than you can imagine.  When we pulled the Lazarus act, it was a no brainer that this would be his selection.  Et voila!  Marlin was back on the menu.

I’ve made mention before of not knowing how we’d made it so far into our journey without tackling Hemingway.  I know a few of us are Hemingway junkies, while several others have mentioned mulling over selecting one of his works.  Until now, however, this was nothing more than lip service.

You always wonder with a name as iconic as Hemingway’s whether or not people will be overly critical going into it and come out the other side going “hmmmm…really?  Is that it?”  I’m happy to say that Hemingway did not disappoint in the least.  I’m pretty certain there was universal acclaim for this one.  The simple tale and Hemingway’s signature spartan prose made this one a tale of pure and austere classic beauty for all.  Symbolic and parabolic at once.  The criticisms – which I no longer recall – were so slight as to be negligible.  A couple of the fellas even mentioned recommending it on to their significant others.  Impressive, for a very phallocentric author, often accused of misogyny.  Sometimes a story is simply transcendent.

“The Old Man And The Sea” is a must read.  Honestly.  There is more packed into these 100 or so pages than in most epics you’re liable to plow through.  Hemingway really was a master.

And playing to thematics – as we’re wont to do with this quirky crew – Steve kicked things off with a Black Bull blended whisky (remember: Hemingway was a bullfighting junkie).  From there we hit a Balvenie Caribbean Cask (to bring a little tropical influence to a topical tale), then on into the new Glenmorangie Companta.  This latter I can no longer recall the rationale for selection, but it was a fun, tasty one to sweeten things up.  Big fruits and infinite gooey dessert-ness.  We snacked the night away and Hemingway’d the bottles as best we could.  Discussion was lively…service was paid.

Great night all in all.

Random notes:  “Ahh…you poor bastard.  Just cut the rope.” … “not so Santiago” … “Orphanage: an Indian word for ‘sweatshop'” … “Before you say anything…”

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #027 – “The Maltese Falcon” (Dashiell Hammett)

Date:  April, 2011

Host – Pat

Whisky:  Bruichladdich Sherry Classic, Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX, Finlaggan

Rum:  Diplomatico Exclusiva

 

I was afear’d of this one.  Easy read…little bit of history perhaps, in terms of genre impact…but how much was there really to discuss about this novel featuring the debut of Hammett’s uber-dick, Sam Spade?  Well…lots actually.  Quite a pleasant surprise to realize, part way through this gathering, that we had been on topic for nearly 2 hours.

Alas…I put the cart before the horse.  Let’s start from the beginning.

Laughs came early.  Primarily at the expense of Ostby, who somehow managed to be 45 minutes late, while living literally across the street from Pat’s place.  The jokes ensued about traffic issues and problems getting a cab.  Witty bunch, ain’t we?

The worst part about this delay was the tantalizing seafood chowder and unopened bottles sitting on the counter, which had us salivating like a teen’er over Megan Fox.  We held off as long as we could, Clint…I swear.

This little fest took place on the RROC block.  Pat’s pad, to be precise.  A couple of us scallywags and scoundrels were in cahoots behind the backs of the rest of the collective and smuggled in an old mate for the festivities.  Bauer!  Our fallen comrade, who chose Saskabush over the excesses Cowtown had to offer, was through town for a couple of days.  I primed him on the monthly pick so he’d be able to read up and join in.  We became the G9 for this night.  The boys were tickled pink to have our gone-but-ne’er-forgotten-br’er back in the midst.  Good times.  Interestingly…even with 9 we were able to control it, though there were a few tottery moments when I feared things would go off the rails.

Pat paid a visit to our mate, Andrew Ferguson, down at the Kensington Wine Market for some insight into picking and purchasing a few drams we may not have tried to date.  Indeed all three were new to the whole gang.  A Bruichladdich ‘classic’ (Uh…not sure ’bout that.  Watch for review to come) that just didn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders…a Finlaggen (The eve’s mystery malt.  Where the hell is this from?  …And don’t say Islay)…and a Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX that is getting raves out there (Jury’s out here though).  Oh yeah…and a rum (a Diplomatico) for the traitorous swine among us.  ;)

The book?  Overwhelmingly well received.  Seems the genre is quite appreciated, and the tale itself exceedingly so. It is sorta becoming a theme as we knock off some of these literary cornerstones, that the central tenet of conversation revolves around the book’s sphere of influence.  In this case, of course, The Maltese Falcon helped define a sub-genre of crime fiction.  Y’know…fedora…trenchcoat…dame…fisticuffs…cigarette after cigarette and drink after drink…and buckloads of machismo.  Dark and defining.  Lovely stuff really.  We all felt a little emasculated by comparison to the tough-as-nails Spade.

Should note here…

We seem to be on a fine run of books right now and a helluva good spree of get-togethers.  Speaks volumes for the company we keep, methinks.  Should also mention…though we dented (quite heavily) the bevy selections on offer, all were on best behavior.  The…uh…aftermath from our last soiree sat none too well with spouses nor stomachs.  There’s a price to be paid for our gallant attempts at Spade-esque machismo.  Not sure any of us are man enough to pay those prices though.

Anyway…cheers, Pat!  Another good pick and fine eve.  Well done.

 

The randoms:  Jessica Rabbit…Bauer being back for a session…Silverback wolves with unicorn heads…Galt’s Gulch on Google Map…The Power Of Two…Regarding rum: “I don’t like it”…the deforestation movement…two 7s beats a frush.

 

Bauer, as usual, brings his full concentration to bear on the conversation...D7K_2807D7K_2813D7K_2811
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D7K_2867D7K_2901Maltese
 
– Curt
 
Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #019 – “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” (Douglas Adams)

Date:  August, 2010

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Host:  Clint

Whisky:  Glenmorangie Original, Glenmorangie LaSanta, Compass Box Peat Monster, Buffalo Trace

Rum:  Captain Morgan’s Special Reserve

 

Well…another one in the annals of Liquorature history.  I can’t help but feel somewhat disappointed in this one.  The gathering that was, not speaking to the novel here.  Though it is always a blast to get together with my comrades, it is slightly…unworthy…when we have a night like this.  Hey…gotta be honest.  That is the backbone of Liquorature…the right to free expression.  Though there were several attempts to keep the conversation on track, it just seemed like derailment after derailment until finally the white flag.  Oh well.  Nearly all of our meetings are brilliant (all modesty aside), so I suppose the occasional fluff meet is okay.

As I said, we always have a great time when assembled.  This was no exception.  Barbs and jeers flowed freely through the evening, and I believe the highlights all came towards the end when we simply settled into converstaions about photography, drink, friends and…uh…Harry Potter.

Clint’s foray into bourbon was a nifty little odyssey that included mint juleps to kick off the festivities.  The sweetness of said bevvies was an instant antagonist for the usual flurry of rum vs whisky digs volleyed between myself, who was right, and Senor Surujbally who swills that vile pirate sweat.  ;)   After this, we nipped at the Buffalo Trace (stunning nose led into a surprisingly abrasive palate) in a Liquorature first.  The rum, as has become custom took a sh*tkicking.  Not necessarily cause it was liked by all, but seven people will seriously dent a single bottle.  That being said…it was a well-received cane.

As for the nectar of Scotland?  A Glenmorangie double-header, with the LaSanta winning over many, and a visit by an old flame of mine…Glenmorangie Original.  Tasty.  Ostby pulled no punches and trotted out a fourth whisky as well.  Compass Box’s Peat Monster.  Though we had tried (and enjoyed) this many, many months ago, this revisit surprised many of us.  Those that had tried it previously were a little taken aback at how bold and beautiful the peat was here.  Glad to try this again.

The book itself was well-received, I think.  I was called out briefly for a family emergency (thus missing some of the action), but even so I don’t believe there was too much in-depth chatter about this one.  Whether or not that is even possible was actually a topic of discussion.  Regardless, the lighthearted humor was a welcome relief after the burden of Dostoevsky.

Though a little off the rails, much like the book itself it was noted, still a fun night.

Highlights…Bauer in a sombrero…mint juleps…Two And A Half Men camp…Slartibartfast, the fjordmaster…drinking outside the box…’Mt. Gay…Which way are you going?’…godforsook to Kandi…some great pics by Pat (have yet to see Lance’s)…and finally…

“If I stop thinking about it, it will come to me.”

“I stopped thinking about sex and it never came to me.” – Bauer.

Until next…

Slainte!!

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The Liquorature Full Quorum, including the back of Clint's head
– Curt
Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #013 – “Survivor” (Chuck Palahniuk)

Date:  February, 2010

Host:  Pat

Whisky:  Ardbeg 10 y.o., Aberlour 10 y.o., Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban

Rum:  Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva

 

Senor Ostby has some competition.  Man…the chili Pat broke out for this evening was a work of art.  I would venture it was discussed more than either the book or bevvies.  Everything you’ve ever thought about chili…throw it out the window.  Spectacular.

Pat pulled no punches for this get-together.  Nice layout, great food, nice drink selection.  We invaded sometime around 8:30 (give or take) on Saturday.  Generally meetings fall on Fridays, but some scheduling conflicts led to us shaking it up a bit.  Even so, we were missing Scott, and Bauer flew in from cactus wrasslin’ in Cali halfway through… donning a new chapeau and tequila in tow.  In his words…”Clint can’t be the only crazy hat guy”.

The rest of us neatherthals circled the chili like predators over a kill, and did our best to dent the whisky and rum before Bauer’s fashionably late arrival.  We had managed to kill off most book conversation within an hour or so, but came back to it a few times.  When the Californian contingent arrived we re-visited the tale for one more quick recap.

So…’Survivor’.  Something I’ve been waiting to see brought in to Liquorature.  Well…not specifically a Chuck Palahniuk novel, but something in the way of contemporary literature.  Though we’ve made our forays into contemporary writing (‘Atlantis’, ‘The Lion’s Game’), I wouldn’t exactly refer to those novels as literature.  No disrespect intended to either author or person who picked it.  Both were highly enjoyable in their own right.  I refer to something that stylistically stands on its own, not simply due to story or plotline originality .

‘Survivor’ had an immediate impact, polarizing a couple of us in terms of writing quality and appreciation for the story itself.  85.7% of us enjoyed it (for various reasons).  One or two loved it…one despised it (yes…this would be the other 14.3%, for whom I believe it was considered on par with Bob’s opinion of Blood Meridian)…and a couple were a little more moderate, but found something in it that was appealing.  There was a general agreement however, that it was definitely something new on our meandering trail towards literary enlightenment.

There wasn’t a lot to discuss with this one, and though we exhausted most topics quickly, it was a relatively enjoyable conversation.  The dark satire and anti-establishment/commercialism were lost on noone, so the need for deep examination was for the most part unnecessary.  I know I, at least, will take a run at a couple more of Palahniuk’s books (‘Haunted’ and ‘Choke’).

Pat’s rum and whisky selections for the evening were brilliant.  A big beautiful Ardbeg 10 for those of us who like the smoke.  The Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban for a bit sweeter port-finished dram.  Aberlour 10 was arguably the most pleasant surprise of the night, and kudos to Pat for another rum selection that was warmly embraced by all.  Lance, it would appear, is winning a few over to the dark side.  Should note here, being the gentleman and scholar that he is, Lance was kind enough to bring along one of his own syrupy 21 year old rums to allow us peons a taste.

Key moments tonight?  Bauer’s helicopter and amusing spending habits…the most ridiculously divergent debate (and even using the word ‘debate’ is lending it a credence of respectability it doesn’t deserve) two relatively bright individuals could have about the orthodoxy of Shakespeare…Pat’s venture into expansive tasting notes…a ton of (hopefully great) photos taken…and a selection of great drinks.

Gents…look forward to seeing you all in a few weeks.

Slainte!

Pat pleads with Clint and Robert not to ditch the whiskey

That chili was too awesome for words. Nothing but the sound of silent mastication for a full ten minutes

Dissing the new hat.  Bauer’s almost in tears: “You plebians have no fashion sense, dammit!”

The Last Hippie goes Zen and tunes out as Clint makes a forceful (if obscure) point

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