Mar 022016
 

heart-of-darkness-by-joseph-conradLiquorature #080 – “Heart Of Darkness” (Joseph Conrad)

Date:  January 22nd, 2016

Host:  Steve

Whisky:  BB&R Bunnahabhain 1987 Cask #2447 26 y.o., Arran Single Cask 1997: Sherry Cask #712, Cooper’s Choice Port Charlotte 2001Cask #1015 11 y.o.

 

Well…we kicked off 2016 – year seven for the club – in fine fashion.  While our two newest acolytes were conspicuously MIA, we old vanguard kept ranks, did this one some justice and knocked the piss out of some sexy bottles of single malt.

Our host for the evening, Steve, was kind enough to offer up a ‘warm-up’ dram as we trickled in for the eve and waiting for the others to arrive.  This early palate workout was a sexy little number from the Roughstock distillery in Montana; the very same Black Label Jay had poured us on ‘Deliverance’ night (hear them banjos, boys?).  I said it then and say it now: a two year old malt whisky out of the northern US has no business being this good.  64+% of easy drinking goodness.

Though initially I thought this book would be met with some consternation from those in our ranks who tend to shy away from the early centuries’ offerings, there seemed to be a unanimity in terms of general appreciation and further, in regards to the criticisms levied.  Not often we all stand on the same side of the line.

Let’s talk about the malts for a minute or two.  Steve poured in a complete reverse order from the way I would have done it, but he nailed it.  While we started with richer, heavier flavours and worked our way into lighter, more complex elements, at the same time we kept climbing rungs in terms of quality, ultimately finishing with an outstanding 26 year old independent Bunnahabhain.  Great bottle find, Steve-o.  Hoping time and opportunity presents itself for me to impose myself for another dram of this one.  Additionally, the indie Port Charlotte we tried was the oldest I’ve yet met, at 11 years.  Neat.  I think I prefer it younger and with a little more sass.  Maybe that’s just me.  The others liked this one a lot.  And me?…yeah, of course I dug it too.

Great ambiance and atmosphere for this one.  Cozy little circle…lamplit…a brilliant background of old blues tunes…and exactly the sort of camaraderie we strive for.  Brilliant night, all told.

Random notes:  No Jesse or Eric … Roughstock warm-up … “salty dusty ****** nuts”

 

– Curt

Jan 282016
 

Liquorature Gathering #049 – “Lamb: The Gospel According To Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal” (Christopher Moore)Lamb

Date:  February, 2013

Host:  Bauer

Whisky:  Glenfiddich 21 y.o. Gran Reserva, Port Charlotte Peat Project, Amrut Fusion, Strathisla 12 y.o.

 

Ah…we love irreverent and good-spirited blasphemy here in the collective.  Nothing truly offensive (though that has its time and place on occasion), but intelligent interpretation and utilization of the subject matter in order to make us rethink our assumptions in this modern day, removed form the trappings of ignorance and orthodoxy.  Ok…now I’m bordering on offending, myself.  Let’s trend lightly.  -Ish.

I, like many others, had often walked past the pseudo-cartoony spines of Christopher Moore’s books in Chapters, without so much as stooping to pick one up.  Not sure why, except he simply never crossed my radar and the aesthetics were not really appealing to my tastes.  Alas, one of the most widely disseminated idioms we’ll ever here – ‘never judge a book by its cover’ – is more apt here than you can imagine.  ‘Lamb’ is a brilliant book.  One that punches well above its weight.  I thought a little of Robbins, maybe a little of Vonnegut.  More the former, but perhaps with a little less psychedelia and a little more natural narrative flow.  But let’s forget any literary debate and instead concentrate on the content.  I kinda think this book has enough food for thought (and tactful delivery, I might add) to make both atheists and orthodox bust a gut and make friends over a dram or two.  Enlightening, entertaining and critical (in all the right ways).  Good choice, Bauer, and one that led to great conversation.

But Liquorature is more than books, aye?  Bauer popped the cork on a couple old favorites, as well as being kind enough to open the proverbial cabinet doors to allow the unwashed to decimate his distilled stores at will.  Thanks, buddy.  Enjoyed the Ardbeg and Octomore immensely.

Drinks led to laughs, laughs led back to the book.  I think we were all high on this one.  But let’s face it…a book like this is meant to unite.  And tonight it did just that.

Randoms:  “Lex Lutheranism”…”Research the bejesus out of it”…Scientology…”He was born in a suit”…”You can’t kill a muppet”…”Guy On A Buffalo”…”Sabre toothed hamster”…”I’m sure that bear didn’t want to be shaved”.

 

– Curt

Aug 232013
 

Liquorature Gathering #024 – “Another Roadside Attraction” (Tom Robbins)

Date:  January, 2011

Host – Curt

Whisky:  Ardbeg Blasda, Ardbeg Ten, Corryvreckan, Ardbeg Uigeadail, Ardbeg SN2010, Kilchoman Spring 2010, Kilchoman Summer 2010, Port Charlotte PC6, Port Charlotte PC7, Port Charlotte PC8

Rum:  Robert Watson’s Demerara Rum, The Kraken, English Harbour 5 y.o.

 

This had to be a big night.  It was the eve of our second anniversary.  Hard to believe this little collective has existed for two years already.  Though there have been a few changes since the inception, for most part things are cruising along as we put in place so many months back.

This gathering was at my place.  The pressure was double.  First…I’ve kinda felt like each time I’ve hosted, it hasn’t quite lived up to my expectations, and second…it had to be big and memorable to mark the milestone.  Months in the planning led to a hell of a soiree, I think.  Many facets came together to deliver a night that ranks up with my favorites, and I can finally rest a little easier knowing that it came off much as I had hoped.

First things first…I wanted a book that would wreak havoc on everyone’s preconceptions of what was possible in a novel.  A few authors came to mind (Vonnegut, Rushdie, Robbins, etc).  In the end, I elected to go with one I had actually considered as my first Liquorature selection last year:  Tom Robbins’ “Another Roadside Attraction”.  This one was bound to push some buttons.  Firstly, it would offend the purists (ahem…less artistically bent) in any ‘black and white’ take on narrative and structure or ‘A is A’ writing.  Secondly, it would finally target that hot button topic we’d barely scratched to date…religion.  And finally, it would divide the counter-culturalists among us from the more conservative.

Next consideration was beverages.  This had been something I had been working on since my trip to Islay at the end of September.  I found a rum there that simply shattered any ideas I had for presenting anything different.  More on this little gem momentarily.  With the whiskies I would choose to present, I wanted to do a more formal tasting.  I wavered between a couple of selections as I was buying bottles over the course of months.  This kind of bit me as I simply couldn’t decide between ideas so instead just went all in.  I made it an ‘Islay night’…enormous smoke and peat.  We worked our way through 5 expressions of Ardbeg, 3 Port Charlottes and 2 Kilchomans.  Yep…ten drams on offer.  Most at hefty 46% or higher.  Several in the 60% range.

Of course, all of this enormous peaty posturing was somewhat lost on the rummie, so for rums…a reappearance of the Kraken (which Surujbally mentioned needing to revisit) and one of the collective’s favorites…English Harbor 5 year old.

Finally…back to that first rum.  While wandering a shop on Islay last year I passed a bottle marked Watson’s Demerara Rum (cool, I thought…being as that is Robert’s last name).  Something made me stop however, and I simply couldn’t believe it when I took a closer look.  In smaller letters above the ‘Watson’s’ it actually said ‘Robert’.  This was a real ‘Robert Watson’s Demerara Rum’.  What are the odds of finding a rum with the name of one of our members on it?!  So blown away was I that I used valuable suitcase space and weight (which could have been another bottle of scotch) to mule this home from Islay.  It sat hidden for months until this event.

Needless to say, the gang was as utterly gobsmacked as I had been.  Tons of fun and lots of laughs.  And how was it?  Well…see Lance’s review.  The guys loved it.  Everyone tried it, but at the end of the night I sent it home with Robert.

With 13 bottles open, legs were a bit wobbly by the end of the night, but…it was damn good social lubricant.

In a throwback to everyone’s favorite Liquorature meal to date, I nabbed Pat’s recipe for ‘El Cid Chili’ and worked up a batch of this delicious man-meal.  Meat, jalapenos, spices and more meat.  That’s real eats.  Who needs vegetables?  Bah…filler.

On to the book…

There was some rather heated (in a good way) discussion on religion.  C’mon…about time we hit this one.  We’ve touched it briefly a couple of times (“Chrysalids”, “Atlas Shrugged”, etc), but never in a yay/nay type situation.  Rather predictably, I thought, lines were drawn in the group between the more/less conservative.  I think there was more appreciation than actual adoration from a few, but a couple loved it nevertheless.  Some…well…not so favorably opinioned.  Hey…Robbins is not for all.  We need these books that cause division among us.  Makes for a more enjoyable and lengthy discussion.  The few times all have been on board for a certain tale, we have been guilty of fellating the book for half an hour and then running out of things to say.

A final bit of fun…

I sent out a couple of pieces for the guys to give their input.  The first was a list of our books to date and a request that they rate them numerically (one to ten…in half mark increments).  Results were nifty.  It is quite eye-opening to see what resonates with some and what doesn’t.  I’ll put together a little post on the results in the coming days.  The second bit was a series of questions (‘what was your favorite character to date?’, ‘what was the best gathering to date?’, ‘biggest disappointment to date?’, etc).  Again, quite enlightening.  These results I believe I’ll keep to ourselves.  Hey…what happens at book club stays at book club.  The one detail I will share is that the biggest disappointment to date was overwhelmingly said to be the loss of Bauer.  No surprise.  (We miss you, buddy).

All in all…a good night.  I think we made some memories.

 

Randoms:

The reception to Robert Watson rum (and the fight over whether the rummie or Watson would take it home)…’hippy dippy’ book…Pat’s dad living this book…the Stoned Masons…Weasel Jesus…the thumb of Christ…Scottish karate…’with modern technology we finally got ‘er done’…spiritual Darwinism…”safe bet he pees his pants”…revealing all of the survey results…peyote-totin’ honey…the Schneider’s hot dog of rums…the department of redundancy department…the universal sadness over missing Bauer.

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DSC_0064-1DSC_0065-1DSC_0073-1The three stooges
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– Curt