Saturday, January 29, 2011

Whiskey review: Origine and Jameson 18

Today you get a treat, a whiskey double header.  First up is Jameson 18, which was a lovely gift.  The first thing I noticed was the spicy flavor.  This has the same underlying flavor of Jameson, but a big oakey spicy flavor on top.  I think it is a good, smooth whiskey but with a big flavor.  Not mellow at all, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  I like the packaging a lot too, even though that is somewhat ancillary.  What matters is the liquid in the bottle.  It is definitely a different take on Jameson from the regular stuff, the 12, or the Gold.  In fact I'd say that Jameson Gold has the mellow flavor I expected from Jameson 18, and Jameson 18 the spicy fire I expected the virgin oak in Jameson Gold to impart.


The strap is held on top by a small Jameson logo magnet. When this bottle is finished years from now I will surely cut that magnet off and wear it as a pin of some sort. Why not? Would I just throw it away?


A fine whiskey with a big, spicy, oakey flavor.

Next up is Origine Irish whiskey.  I was intrigued by the claims to being a small batch whiskey.  However, I found it to have a sour flavor.  The sourness started before I even swallowed.  To be honest I don't really like Origine at all.  I mean I don't know if I will finish this stuff.  Maybe I'll mix it with Diet Coke, but I just don't care for the flavor.  I wish I would have bought another bottle of Old Fitzgerald instead.


So there it is, my new least favorite Irish whiskey.

Quite the ceremony of opposites, I'd say. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Life lessons learned the hard way

Many years ago I worked out at the gym.  I used a lot of exercise machines.  In hindsight I don't know why. I guess machines = superior.  I guess you can't blame me, after all I was raised on the 6 million dollar man.  I have since learned that machines are inferior to free weights.  Maybe that was the lesson from Rocky 4?  Well I learned this lesson from the Marlboro man.  Watch and learn.

So here is how Mr. Booze stays in drinking condition.

Step one is queue up some workout jams.  Lately it is 33rpm Metallica, Danzig II and III, and Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power.  That is pretty much as good as it gets.  Then it is all free weight exercises.  A 40 pound starter barbell set is pretty cheap at the sporting goods store.  And keep your eyes peeled for deals on Craigslist.  My weights are discs that are easy to store in my tiny apartment.

After a good workout I find it is important to have a glass of whiskey.  The alcohol opens the blood vessels which helps remove any lactic acid buildup*.  I also like the Lebowski ritual to help reduce stiffness and soreness.

So since this is the internet this is a safe place to share, right?  Ok, I'll share this with you.  I sometimes grab the wife's bathsalts and put them in a hot bath.  I find it also helps reduce stiffness and soreness the next day.  Don't tell nobody, alright?

In the 4 or 5 months I've been using this routine I've gotten more results than when I went to the gym and used exercise machines for weight training for 3 years.

File photo of Mr. Booze after a few months of lifting weights

Here are two of my favorite weightlifting tracks.  Since I started lifting again I've become a born again fan of the classic Danzig solo albums, especially Lucifuge and How the Gods Kill.  I could write an essay about how great those albums are, and really about the whole Glenn Danzig body of work (the Misfits will be awesome forever), but that's another time. 

Anyways, workout jams recommendations are appreciated! 

Good downbeat HERE (no embed WTF?)

*I am not a licensed medical practitioner so don't interpret this as medical advice.  Always consult with a physician or licensed medical practitioner before engaging in any physical activity, consuming alcohol, or any combination thereof

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Embrace your inner Goth with a pint of whiskey

It's cold and grey.  The sort of grey that is perfect.  The buildings downtown are silhouettes in the haze and a film of moisture covers my overcoat.  I want to drink Canadian whisky.  Or else a really "heavy" whiskey.  Maybe Old Fitzgerald.  Definitely something good and cheap and a little rough around the edges.

I can't embed this (WHY?) but I saw an 8 year old sing Love Will Tear Us Apart with the family band last weekend.  I can't decide if this is like the Partridge Family or Dad Rock or what.  They're not very good by the way.

Wait, where was I going with this?  Oh, while all the whimps like Morrissey you were probably listening to Joy Division on your walkman and taking shots of vodka from your locker because Morrissey is for the kids who get beat up in gym class and Joy Division is for the kids who don't go to gym class.

But when the rain stops and streets start to dry all your cities will turn to dust

Once upon a time I worked the night shift.  The most depressing thing wasn't sleeping through the day but being locked inside all night.  Outside at night is where the wicked spirits play.

Soon I'll put the wool coat away, and bring out the raincoat. Spring is right around the corner. Hope springs eternal.

Until then it is a long haul.

Just keep on walking, and remember that Goth is a state of mind.  And a rumbling bass guitar.

So you can take all your black eyeliner and black leather baubles, bangles, and beads and shove them up your ass.

Back when big hair meant something


It is like that video for Scar Tissues but not boring and whiny which is kinda weird when you think about it.  Maybe I'm wrong here.  After all I did eat the Carne Asada from Costco.

Jeezus that article is so spot on.  My wife and I couldn't decide if we would be better off to just vomit that shit up after we made the mistake of swallowing it down.  Where was I going with this?  Oh right, rumbling bass guitars...

Right.  So just remember that even Robert Smith finds some redemption every now and again, even though he probably spent his share of time getting shoved into lockers he probably spent just as much time smoking in the boys room and kissing girls behind the bleachers.  He probably snuck a pint of cheap Canadian whisky to the pep rally and wandered off alone above a raging sea...

Ok that last one might get you shoved inside a locker.

Sometimes I think it's too bad that cigarettes have been outlawed...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Go folk yourself

This is America

the sad sad game

Here's your chance to step out of time

Beware the eagle

It isn't a good life but baby its mine

restless as the wind

I think it is a 100 proof bourbon weekend...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Morbid Angel: What happened?

The other day Sergeant D had an excellent post about Morbid Angel, which got me to wondering just what the hell happened to that band.  I mean really.  I am not going to argue about the technical skills of Pete Sandoval.  Rather, I'll concede that Pete is merely good and not great.  I'll also agree that the talent of that band was Trey.  But I'll also make the argument that Morbid Angel has been pretty mediocre the last few letters.  Let's compare:

This was Morbid Angel arguably at their peak.  Yeah, some people only dig the fast stuff.  But man, this is a song that sticks with you.  And has a pretty unique sound in my opinion.  Domination was pretty good too, maybe not quite as good but to me Covenant was the masterpiece so whatever

Not bad at all.

After David Vincent left albums F-H were pretty boring.  I mean there wasn't one thing bad with them, like the vocals or the solos.  They were just boring.  So why did they get worse?  Was it Pete's fault because he is mediocre?  Was David Vincent so important?  I don't think so.  I think what happened was Trey became a lazy video game junky.

What did I tell you?  Boring.

So why do I think it was the video games?  Well certain things jump out.  Blessed are the Sick was dedicated to Mozart.  By Heretic the thanks list starts "Whiippieee Whaahhoooieee I Want My MOON MEANIE, Girls Can Rail Too, I Melt My Face Off With You".  So yeah.  Aside from shout out to his video game clan in the liner notes, there is this interview

"That type of stuff, my group - my gamning team "The Sailor Scouts" and "Flamebat(!)" and watching it. A lot of stuff I'd watch just to spectate, just watch the game, watch my player's playing while I'd be playing the guitar and watching the game. Some of the stuff came from that."

And if you are intrepid you can dig up all sorts of interviews were Trey talks about how he plays guitar while playing video games, writes music while playing video games, and even records solos while playing video games.  So basically instead of being a hungry musician he is a lazy video gamer that doesn't focus enough attention on the guitar.  So we've had a bunch of boring Morbid Angel albums.

Hopefully we can test this theory, because David Vincent is back and they are recording a new album.  I hope it is good, but I actually bought F-H hoping they would be good too.  I mean look at the cover art to Heretic.  How could it be so flat and boring?  And also why is there no bass on that album?  The last Morbid Angel album came out in 2003 and it is now 2011, so that is plenty of time for mind melting guitars.  Does Trey still have it in him?  Does David Vincent still have the "it" factor?  Will having a different drummer make the band better, as Tim Yeung will be handling the drums on this album?  If not I'll always have Covenant.


Kinda lame cover art, but one of the best death metal albums of all time.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

You may have missed it: Siebenburgen

The weather has been grey and rainy.  Too warm for a nice snow, enough precipitation to be miserable.  With that you may want to uncork your Eastern European wine/brandy and put in some Siebenburgen.  I know, I know this band is from Sweden not Eastern Europe, but whatever.  I loved their first album, Loreia.

Maybe not your style. Maybe the violins and the chick were too much?  I thought the violins blended with the guitars perfectly.  The dude sounds like the guy from the Leprechaun movies.  I imagine it actually is the Leprechaun saying "want me gold coins, want me gold coins".

I know what you're going to say.  You're going to tell me that this is wimpy gothy bullshit.  Well maybe you're right?  I guess this will have to be my next coat purchase.

For vampires, before they went soap opera.

Loreia is solid from beginning to end.  The next album, Grimjaur, was ok but not as good.  Less of the chick singing and no violin.  Delictium was better than Grimjaur, and a good swansong for the band.  Except they put out another album that I haven't heard.

I thought it was a haunting album with great melodies and solid riffs, but what do I know?  I am a grumpy old man.

File photo of Mr. Booze approving of Loreia.

What do you think?  Is this a solid winter doldrums album?  Wimpy crapDoes Mr. Booze have a mangina?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Travelogue: Saint John

If you should ever find yourself planning a trip to the Caribbean, and looking to maximize your experience of nature, then you might want to consider St. John's US Virgin Island.  I was there, and here's some peculiar things of note.

The most important thing you might want to know is what to drink on St. John.  When in Rome, do as the Romans is always a safe axiom to follow.  Here the thing to drink is rum, and the rum to drink is Cruzan.  Made in nearby St. Croix, Cruzan is both cheap and easy.  I bought a fifth at the village market for around 5 bucks.  Cheap!  And it goes down easy.  It is a far better than your usual cast of Bacardi and Captain Morgan.  I drank the stuff aged for maybe 2 years in oak.  Maybe not quite as good as Rhum Barbancourt, but at 5 dollars a fifth it is a definite "buy".

Another solid island drink is the mojito.  The airport in Puerto Rico makes a very solid mojito, worth the horrible airport prices.

Now you might think that Mr. Booze was drunk the whole time.  Sadly, I was not.  I was shocked to learn that they don't have a subway system on the island.  Not even some sort of commuter train.  Instead, one had to drive a jeep through winding mountain roads.


Now a great portion of the whole island is a national park.  If you really want to be in "the nature", the Estate Concordia offers a unique "in the nature" setting.  The whole lodging system is built on stilts and connected by stairs in the middle of the nature.

If you are lucky you'll wake up to this:


However I was less fortunate.  It rained nearly every day the whole trip.  Though I suppose luck is a matter of perspective, for the rains were caused by a hurricane that hit nearby Haiti.  After the hurricane landed the winds dispersed the rains throughout the region.


Rains can be beautiful, but after a while one wishes to see the sun just a bit.  Apparently December is the dryest month.  I wish I would have known that, and planned my trip for December instead.


The nature was as picturesque as you could want, despite the rains.  Just to compare though...


This was the first day and then not again until the last day.  For real.

 One of the advantages of the lodgings is that being in the midst of nature is that there was no division between yourself and the wild, but still retaining all the amenities of civilization.



Lizards slunk around, and we were often greeted by a black and green hummingbird I name The Green Flash.  Most impressive to me, however, was the nighttime symphony.  At dusk the piping frogs began to sing their tune.  No bigger than my thumbnail, they blew a mesmerizing tune.



During the day they hid, and I could not find a single one in the light of day.

Not only was the staff of the Estate Concordia excellent, they had some of the best eating on the island at their cafe.  I wish I could say the same about the rest of the journey.  However I felt that the locals were looking to sink their hooks in my wallet at every chance available.  Definitely be on your guard, especially regarding transportation.  Ferries, taxis, and car rentals all proved treacherous.  This was the case when getting from the airport on neighboring St Thomas to our lodgings at St John.  The taxis, ferris, and car rentals all seemed to be looking for a quick buck, so watch out.

Of course one of the main attractions of the island is the snorkeling.  Again the rains put a damper on things as the runoff from the island clouded the waters, making visibility low for some of the dives.


For me personally, seeing a sea turtle was a highlight.  I have to say that the experience of being face to face with a large turtle underwater was surreal.  I tried to be as non-threatening as possible.  The turtle, for his part, seemed a bit curious at first.  Though keeping his distance, he did not shy away at first.  Eventually he left.

Another memorable moment was seeing the squid.  The locals call them reef octopus, but as you can see they are clearly squid.


Or should I say were squid, as nature's cruel vicissitudes were on display.


While I was trying to swim closer to the squid, a camouflaged fish sprung up from hiding.


Yada yada yada circle of life.  A split second before the bite the poor squid sent out a jet of ink, to no avail.  Such is life on the coral.

Life on the coral is easy to find.  When diving you simply follow your ear to the crunching noise of reef fish feasting on the growth.


Swimming in the ocean was a new experience for me.






As you can see, the view from the water was fantastic.

Overall it is hard for me to say much more about St. John.  Sadly I haven't much experience with the Caribbean.  I found it to be a trip full of ups and downs, both figuratively and literally as the roads on the island were mountain roads.  Overall I think that if you are seeking a Caribbean experience that involves staying in nature, then St John is a good bet and the Estate Concordia is as much in the nature as you can get without pitching a tent.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Brandy Review: St. Julian brandy

St. Julian is a winery in Michigan. They have billboards in Michigan advertising Grey Heron vodka. “Vodka made from grapes”. WAT? I thought that was brandy. I thought vodka was from grains. Well I guess you can make it out of potatoes, so why not grapes? But labels are subordinate to taste.

Anyways, they do have brady. Hey, if they have a still they might as well put some of their “vodka” in a barrel for a few years. Each bottle is hand numbered, and if memory serves me correctly costs about 35 dollars. I can’t remember if they sourced the oak someplace special like in the state of Michigan. They might.

Unfortunately I left my bottle in Michigan, so no pictures. But I did drink a fair amount. The verdict?

St. Julian has a good base for the brandy. It doesn’t have a lot of fusel oils and it won’t give you a hangover. It has a peculiar sweetness that is a bit different from other brandies. It is hard to describe, but almost an acidic or citrus sweetness. Unfortunately the best way I can sum up this brandy is “needs more time in the barrel”. The flavor is rough around the edges, a bit thin, and a rough finish. I think they have a good start, and if this were priced more reasonably – say ten to fifteen dollars a fifth – I would call it a buy. But priced around Hennessey I am going to say that, until they age it more, it is a pass. Hopefully in a few years they will have a product that is worth the price tag.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Embrace your inner Goth - part 1

Nothing in life is so much like wrist cutting 80s music as college football.

Just turn the lights out to hide your tears in the dark.