Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #030 – “The Power Of One” (Bryce Courtenay)

Date:  July, 2011

Host:  Chris

Whisky:  Glenlivet 12, Strathisla 12, Glacier Distilling – North Fork Flood Stage Whisky, Mystery rye

Rum:  Goslings Black Seal, Redrum, Iceberg

 

First things first…

A huge Liquorature congrats to Ostby.  He is a dad again.  Number two is a beautiful little heartbreaker named Maeli.  Don’t worry, buddy.  All of us Karmically challenged dads with stables full of daughters will help show the ropes (where to get weapons, intimidation techniques, etc).

So…it was finally time to break in the noobs.  This month, Chris.  Next…Jay.  Not their first sessions as part of Liquorature, of course, but first time hosting the collective in their own homes.  Such pressure.

Chris hit upon a couple of unique sippers this time.  One from a distillery down in Montana.  Great little tale as to how he came upon it, but that will be up to him to share if he likes.  And their hooch?  Well…not so good.  To be fair though, we were sipping it out of the little table keg.  Not sure how long the whisky has been in there, but the oak and waxiness are a little too aggressive.  Perhaps the spirit in bottle is a little less woody.  I’ll go on record with a shudder of revulsion at the moment however.

Another bevy choice was an inherited decanter full of an unknown spirit.  Fun!  Turns out it was a Canadian whisky of some sort (based on what m’nose tells me anyway).  Slightly more biting than the Alberta’s or Forty Creek’s.  Perhaps a Black Velvet or something.  Either way…meh.  Anything sipped blindly is always fun.  Sadly, in this case, we’ll never know what it was.

From there…a couple Speysiders at the dozen years mark.  Strathisla 12 and Glenlivet 12.  Big, young and full of spritely red fruit.

And finally…for the dentists’ best friends…three bottles of cane juice on offer aussi.  First up…Goslings Black Seal.  Came highly recommended ages ago by a mate, and one which Sage Surujbally has written up here on Liquorature.  The lads show a heavy tendency towards these dark ‘uns.  Is this a flavor thing or the influence of mind over matter?  Hmmmm…  The others were Redrum and Iceberg.  I’ll let the globetrottin’ cane-swiller share the details, as my rum knowledge (and appreciation) is next to nil.

With glass in hand (and following a formal cheers to Papa Ostby), we settled in to chit-chattin’ up this month’s tale.

Interestingly enough, a book I thought would elicit a ton of conversation actually had us struggling to stay on point.  We’ve had this happen before where a book was enjoyed by all, but simply had nothing really worthy of discussion.  This novel however, had plenty to discuss.  Think we were just perhaps all slightly off and distracted.  A wee bit of drama had prefaced the eve, but the lads still managed to turn in an eve of spirited camaraderie and laughter (usually at someone’s expense).

The book, “The Power of One” (Bryce Courtenay) was well-received by all.  As always, some of the more demanding of us (myself included this time), found a few niggly little things to be irksome, but overall the gang voiced a fairly cohesive opinion on this one.  Conversation sorta dried up rather quickly however, as there simply didn’t seem to be a lot of topics that warranted discussion.  “Ummm…apartheid is bad.”  Where do you go from there?

Anyway…as Chris’s first choice, he managed to pick a book all enjoyed and did have topics to chatter about, even if we let ourselves down a bit (in my not-so-humble opinion anyway).

Great to see this little collective growing tighter and forming deeper bonds.  The two newest members have been integrated and it seems to be a relatively seamless fit.  Chris, in particular, was in fine form this eve, having several of us busting a gut at some hilarious stories of youthful…errr…exuberance.  As the drinks flow towards the latter half of these nights, the conversation always livens right up.  In vino veritas, lads.  I would highly recommend that all consider this their big night out once a month.  Look forward to it and live it up when it finally comes.  Our best nights always seem to be those that allow us to have a few drinks…open up…and not worry about leaving early or driving.

Randoms:  Lance finally collecting on his bet with Robert…no mention of wrestling (or even Mandingo, I think!)…Chris having Jay in tears laughing…(more to come when I find my notebook)

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #029 – “The Stand” (Stephen King)

Date:  June, 2011

Host:  Scott

Whisky:  BenRiach Solstice,  Isle of Jura Prophecy,  Duthies’ Hazelburn 8 y.o.

Rum:  Iceberg, Gosling’s Black Seal

 

The rum-guzzlah had to take a pass on this one due to other obligations, and is kicking himself once again for missing out on arguably one of our best conversations to date.  We spent about three hours on this book, before circling references back to it several times throughout the course of a long and enjoyable evening.  Poor guy.  Missed another one of our best in the ‘Blood Meridian’ night, then left early on ‘Atlas Shrugged’ night just before things ramped up for some heat and polarity.  Perhaps it’s the black humorist in me that finds a funny irony in the fact that the guy who would likely most enjoy good sporting conversation missed some of our shining moments.  Sorry, buddy.  If it is any cold comfort to you, we held down the fort admirably.

This little soiree, hosted by Scotty, aka The Ginger Buddha, initially promised a low key event, but delivered in spades.  Brilliant drinks, a great read and hours of engaging conversation.  Love it when I have no expectations and end up floored.  Walking away from this one with many pleasant memories.

The Buddha knocked one outta the park with his Scotch selections this month.  First up, an indie bottling of an 8 year old Hazelburn from Duthies.  Charming and unique.  More peat than I’d expect.  Next, the first Isle of Jura I’ve ever really been able to sink my teeth into, the Prophecy.  Large, smoky and as it says on the bottle, ‘profoundly peated’.  Finally, my personal highlight for the night, BenRiach Solstice.  A port finished peat monster.  VERY different and utterly winning.

The rums, uncertain though he was as to Ruminsky’s attendance, were Iceberg and Gosling’s.  I can’t speak to either here, as I neither tried them, nor had any inclination, but I have a mate who swears by the Gosling’s.  These bottles were hardly dented.  Mild fender-bender perhaps.  Gotta say it…the stunning whiskies stole the show.

But wait!  There was one more whiskey this eve.  I managed to track down a bottle of The Kid’s ‘happy crappy’ (You believe that?  Don’t tell me, I’ll tell you.), Rebel Yell.  C’mon…I had to.  Soon as I found it I know it would be good for a laugh.  Though expectations were justifiably low as we popped the top, it actually turned out to be a fairly palatable bourbon.  No stunner, to be sure, but not bad at all.

With the G7 gathered and quenching thirsts over their redneck juice, we kicked into ‘serious mode’ (as serious as it ever gets anyway).

First things first, the gang wanted to know whether or not $80 worth of motivation was enough to coax Bob (he of the compromised schedule and busier-than-hell lifestyle) to the end of the tale in time for our gathering.  He and Lance had laid down a $40 wager last month on whether or not he’d finish.  Though unable to attend this one, looks like Lance has a payday waiting for him come next meeting.  Good times.  Lots of laughs about this.

The book, Stephen King’s opus, “The Stand”, was either loved or appreciated by all, I believe.  A couple members of the collective are King junkies and have worked their way through this one multiple times.  It simply doesn’t get old.

The greatest criticism was reserved for slow development and meandering passages.  The point was countered by saying this was a somewhat sociological tale that was meant to depict the rebuilding of civilization, and not simply blow sh*t up.  This ended up as a polite ‘agree-to-disagree’ type scenario.  Fair ‘nough.

The characters were liked (some loved), the dialogue and setting praised and many, many favorite scenes pointed out.  The attention to detail and speculative nature were also lauded.

Thematically, we delved into religion (the primary contention centering on where the other demographics were?  Did god wipe out all the Muslims?  Hindus?), politics, crime and punishment, sociology, inherent nature, metaphysics, economy and survivalism.  Though I could share details, I prefer to let the imaginations run and keep these conversations private as the ‘intellectual property’ of Liquorature.  Let’s face it…we’re frickin’ brilliant lads!

We spoke to the reasons for King’s success and post-apocalyptic fiction as genre.  We touched on all of the ‘what would you do’s?’ and what each of our personal roles would be in a similar ‘rebuilding of society’ situation.  Of course, we also briefly touched on the Dark Tower.  Finally, I should note…for sh*ts and giggles…it was ME who gave the guys their obligatory mentions of the ‘Taboo 3’.  Yep…all three were courtesy of yours truly.

As this book is about to see its second screen adaptation realized, some fun was had playing the casting call game.  A few of us who have seen the old made-for-TV version agreed a few of the actors from the original series should reprise their roles, but several new suggestions were bandied about.  Fun exercise for a book like this, and relatively easy as the characters are so well-defined.

All in all…a bloody great night.  One of my top 5 now for sure.

Well done, Buddha.  Drinks, book and all.  Good picks.

The randoms:  Rebel Yell…”Sold!” Auction Bob…the throbbin’ 8…Clint’s ten minute two minute summary…Rob Lowe: “You actually know he’s a handsome man”…”What’s the point of Flagg, other than to be a d*ck?”…saddle up a cow…”saved by the grace of god, a dog and a ******”…”if you’ve had one pistol in the butt, you’ve had ‘em all”…The Hoff ‘Ooga Chaka’ing…”Wake up!  Wake up!”…”Rebel Yell ranks right up there with the abolition of slavery”…”you didn’t write down ******, didja?”