Feb 012016
 

Liquorature Gathering #056 – “Half Blood Blues” (Esi Edugyan)half-blood-blues

Date:  September, 2013

Host:  Stuart

Whisky:  ?

 

This pick – and the story itself – really took me by surprise.  First, because it was a refreshingly unique vantage of WWII era Europe and second, because it was completely off the radar and something I likely never would have found on my own.  I’d heard of neither the author nor title before Stuart made his announcement.

Before going any further let me state that Esi Edugyan is a national treasure.  Not only that, she is a Calgarian by birth.  Helps to make for an easy emotional connection to the book.  It also doesn’t hurt that the writing is top notch.  Can’t wait to read more of her work.

This is the one event where I am at a complete loss to tell you what we drank in terms of malts.  Stuart brought a couple…I think there may have been either Glenrothes or Bruichladdich, but I could simply be confusing this with the previous gathering where Lorenzo brought releases from said distilleries.  Guess we’ll never know.  That being said…Stu also brought along a bottle of absinthe.  Yep.  It was tasted, discussed…and summarily dismissed.  Blech.  If I wanted mouthwash I could have found some under the sink upstairs.

I’m not sure the boys felt quite the emotional resonance here that Stuart hoped for (or that I felt, for that matter), but there was a sense of appreciation.  This one has the power to make you reflect on the concept of forgiveness.  And, of course, judgment.  It transcends time, borders, sex and race.  Not often you can say that about a book.

 

– Curt

Jan 292016
 

Liquorature Gathering #055 – “The Outsider” (Albert Camus)TheOutsider_Albert_Camus

Date:  August, 2013

Host:  Lorenzo

Whisky:  Glenrothes 1994, Glenrothes 1988, Bruichladdich 1992 Chateau Climens

Rum:  n/a

 

It’s hard to do Camus justice in any real sense.  Such is the nature of existential and psychologically-driven works such as this (or Kafka, etc).  I hadn’t read Camus since high school, at a time when I was voraciously devouring anything I could get my hands on, so Lorenzo’s pick of ‘The Outsider’ (or ‘The Stranger’, depending on which edition you have) arrived with a bit of nostalgic reflection.  This is a touchstone novel for sure, but in terms of proper appreciation I think I honestly prefer ‘The Plague’ a little more than this one.

‘The Outsider’ made me reflect a little on the idea of reality versus expectation.  My wife and I have had debates about this very topic (often coinciding with a remark about the definition of insanity…you know the one), but Camus himself summed it up perfectly: “I summarized The Stranger a long time ago, with a remark I admit was highly paradoxical: ‘In our society any man who does not weep at his mother’s funeral runs the risk of being sentenced to death.’ I only meant that the hero of my book is condemned because he does not play the game.

Those of us that take exception to the status quo often find we have to tread lightly in order to avoid the consequences that even the fiercest of assholes seem to somehow elude.  Such is life in this age of internet warriors, armchair experts, instant access to short form information and a cultural polarity that is unprecedented in our time.  So be it.  We get through it.  Let’s use another quote to sum up, this time Lebowski: “The dude abides”.  Yep.  We abide.

Anyway…Camus is never a particularly ‘enjoyable’ read, but that isn’t necessarily the point.  Some authors are more about the message than the tale.  Or maybe a better way to put it would be ‘the destination is more important than the journey’.  I think the Liquorature collective would agree.  They read, discussed and have moved on.  I honestly don’t think this book has been mentioned again since this night.

Having said that, deep subject matter requires deep drinks for intellectual lubrication.  A couple of vintage Glenrothes and an older Bruichladdich were solid accompaniment.  I’m not normally a fan of post ’70s ‘Rothes, but rather enjoyed these two.  And Bruichladdich is usually in my wheelhouse.  This one I was definitely keen on.

Oh yeah, and finally…it’s never bad having an Italian cook dinner for you.  Just saying.  Helluva good gnocchi, Lo.  Well done, mate.

Randoms:  Gnocchi and caperberries … “can we go smoke the skunk?”… the minivan.

 

 – Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #008 – “Ender’s Game” (Orson Scott Card)

Date:  September, 2009

Host:  Bauer

Whisky:  Glenrothes Select Reserve, Bruichladdich Manzanilla Sherry Edition, Strathisla 12 y.o.

Rum:  Bundaberg

 

In terms of content, this book was arguably the biggest and most pleasant surprise.  Much due, of course, to the ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ idiom.  Our copies all look like something from the teen fiction section.  Very enjoyable read though, and warmly received.  Conversation had some political overtones, but never got too deep.  A little heated perhaps, regarding the right to opinion, but never too deep.  Three whiskies.  All decent, none that really resonated with me.  Topic conversation was likely about an hour and half.

 

– Curt