Mar 022016
 

Liquorature #081 – “Fallen Angels” (Walter Dean Myers)Fallen Angels

Date:  February 26th, 2016

Host:  Jay

Whisky:  Johnnie Walker Green Label, Douglas Laing Premier Barrel Lochnagar 11 y.o., Douglas Laing Premier Barrel Laphroaig 8 y.o.

 

Quick!  While it’s still fresh!

Unbelievable.  These event write-ups are finally up to date.  This last one you’re reading is a recap of a gathering just five days back.  Can’t lie.  Feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  I know it is a small contingent that actually reads these meanderings, but they’re captured for posterity nevertheless.  The collective can always look back in fondness on some of these old memories.  That’s the hope anyway.

‘Fallen Angels’.  Interesting pick, this.  We were sitting around at one of the past gatherings months back and Jay had yet to make his selection.  “Hold on,” he said.  He spent a couple minutes on his phone searching the net for ‘most controversial books’ or ‘most challenged books’ or something, and voila!  This was announced then and there.

I think we all came into this one blindly.  None of us knew the title, nor the author, let alone the subject matter.  War.  The Vietnam War, to be exact.  We’ve covered war before, of course, most recently with Boyden’s ‘Three Day Road’ and Conrad’s ‘Heart Of Darkness’, but this would be a very different take.  What went down in Vietnam a few decades back was a watershed moment for many things: media, patriotism, understanding of warfare, culture, politics, on and on and on.  Vietnam was huge.  And for those reasons, it makes absolutely fascinating subject matter.  It has, of course, also led to some incredible films, music and art.

Our discussion was interesting this time around.  No real dissent.  In fact everyone really quite liked the book (conceding a few small flaws or omissions), but where it got really engaging was in our collective understanding and response to what went down in Vietnam and the state of the world that both led to it and resulted from it.  Some truly insightful opinions and, much like the conflict itself, a lot of seeming uncertainty.  This was especially evident in discussions about whether the US should have been involved and how each of us would have handled ourselves as draft-eligible (or volunteers) young men if we had been around at this time in history.  The class and race aspect was given a lot of consideration.  As was an empathetic approach to understanding the Veitnamese side of the story.  Actually, quite an unforgettable night.

Johnnie Walker Green made its third appearance as a club selection, and was even better than most remembered.  It was two Douglas Laing ceramic decanter releases under the ‘Premier Barrel’ line that had us all sitting upright and taking notice.  The first was an 11 year old Lochnagar.  Beautiful nose.  THe second was a young and kicking Laphroaig 8 year old.  I think I preferred the former, but the masses leaned to the latter.  Both awesome though.  And a real treat from bygone years.

Great night, all in.  Jay’s choices of book, malts and great Vietnamese nibbles were inspired and probably earned him just the sort of rewards he’d hoped for.

Random notes:  No Jesse, Chris or Ginger … “The sharpest thing on the table…” … “Beat you with a dildo” … Do you guys surf?” … “You can always have more kids” … a couple other great Laphroaig bottles … some membership discussion

 

– Curt

Jan 272016
 

Liquorature #072 – “The Mask Of Dimitrios” (Eric Ambler)Dimitrios

Date:  May 29th, 2015

Host:  Scott (aka Buddha)

Whisky:  Black Bull 12 y.o., Johnnie Walker Green Label, Glen Scotia 1991 22 y.o. (First Editions), Smokehead

 

A bit of an old school potboiler, this ‘un.  Scott elected to play to the mystery angle a bit too, by having us try all the evening’s drams blind.  Fun.  Gotta keep mixing it up, right?  While even just the central premise of Liquorature – to gather a few decent guys over drinks and interesting discussion – is enough to keep us coming back, it’s the l’il extras that elevate this into the beautiful clandestine entity it has become.

I should note too that this was to be Scott’s last gathering at the old digs.  He and his missus have now moved on to a sprawling high end pad not far from my place.  We’ll miss this tight little apartment for its intimacy and closed-circle conversations.  It’s amazing just how much the setting can influence the tone of an evening’s development.  Either way, when I look back on ‘Dimitrios’ night it seems to have a noir and shadowy countenance.  I like that.  Very apropos for a book like this.

My two cents aside, I think the boys quite liked this one, if memory serves.  The pacing was a little tentative, but let’s time travel a bit and put ourselves in the age that this was written.  It was a forebear of a genre in many ways.  Like all first steps, they’re really without stumbles, but it’s the forward momentum that earns the distinction.  In short…mad respect from this crew and a general satisfaction to have tackled this touchstone.  In fact…I may now go back for a re-read after having reflected a bit.

Scott pulled out a rather lovely Glen Scotia 22 year old from one of the only working distilleries on Campbeltown.  That was the clear cut winner for the eve, in terms of libations.  Shame we missed a couple of the boys for this gathering, but alas, fellas…fear not.  We drank your share.

Memorable night in all.  Maybe some Chandler next?

Random Thoughts:  ‘the taming of the jew’ … English-y … No Jesse or Bauer this time … the blind tasting … some Agalloch as backdrop … great movie recaps … ‘Bea Arthur is pretty dead’

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #020 – “Shogun” (James Clavell)

Date:  September, 2010

Host:  Pat

Whisky:  Forty Creek Barrel Select (Canadian), Johnnie Walker Green Label, Dalmore 12 y.o., Aberlour 12 y.o.

Rum:  Angostura 1919, Bacardi 8 y.o.

 

This…was a helluva read.  Which, only logically, led to a helluva night.  Pat pulled no punches with beverage selection.  Four whiskies and two rums.  We had a little Canadian content here, as he broke out the Forty Creek for us.  Not quite as mellow as the Alberta Premium, but delish nevertheless.  It was nifty to finally sample the JW Green.  It is certainly the sum of its parts, with a couple of its component whiskies being blatantly obvious on the palate.  The rums, as has been typical of late, were quite well-received as well, with the Angostura 1919 leading the charge.

Pat’s amigo from work, Lorne, sat in for this session.  I’ve said it before…I have nothing but admiration for anyone who can walk into a room full of strangers and, not only fit in, but seem comfortable.  Lorne was involved in much of the evening’s conversation, raising points of his own and contributing to threads started by others.  He was keen to sample all the bevvies (we all are, of course, but that’s not what I mean…he was all about trying new things).  It was good meeting him and I hope he does join us again at some point.

For those unaware…Pat, Clint and I all built the same model of house on the same street.  As we all have vastly different tastes though, we modified the hell out of them, and I’m sure most people wouldn’t even realize it was in fact the same plan.  That being said…there is just something about Clint and Pat’s set-up that usually elicits great conversation.  Uh…Excepting last month’s abortion with HHGttG, that is.

This was our second true epic novel to date (the first being ‘Atlas Shrugged’), so I was quite curious to see how it would turn out this time ’round.  Quite well in fact.  We chatted about the aesthetics of the novel; historical accuracy; character development; sex issues; religion; concept of death; bodily functions and hygiene, etc.  From there we discussed  some other examples of historical fiction.

As the night progressed, I snuck out a couple samples of my own to share with the gang.  First…I poured from both the Alberta Premium Rye 5 year and the Alberta Preumium Rye 25 year to let the gang see the difference.  A little later I broke out Ardbeg Supernova.  Lorne in particular had been hankering for some peat, and I think this monster absolutely sufficed.

One more bottle surfaced before the end of the night.  It was a sad occasion in all honesty, as this was Bauer’s last meeting with us.  He is moving on in life to a new home and career in Saskatchewan (don’t mock him too mercilessly).  While on Islay (Scotland) a few days previous, I had picked up a little something special for him.  All the gang chipped inand we presented our Bruichladdich boy with a hand bottled (by me) and hand numbered (one of only ~420) valinch of a single cask from the Bruichladdich shop.  The cask is called ‘Music Man’.  If you know Bauer…it truly could not have been any more fitting.

Though there were a few scheduling issues for this little powwow (mostly caused by me trying to ensure I could be there for Bauer’s last sit-in), it turned out to be a great evening.  Cheers to all involved, the following in particular:

  • Bauer – best in all that comes, mate.  You’ll be missed ’round here.  Thanks for everything.
  • Pat – For hosting and putting together a fine night
  • Lorne – for braving us eccentrics for the night.

Slainte!

The brilliant randoms for the night…a duck for pillowing…selection of ‘Geonesis’ for ladies to read in our December mixed meet with the ladies’ club…’Twilight’ stopping the conversation dead…Lorne’s presence…roadrunner with blood…sampling the ABP25 and Supernova…Bauer’s sendoff.

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– Curt