Monday, June 25, 2012

Wolfhound Whiskey and other Irish ephemera

I recently picked up yet another Irish whiskey blend from the Cooley distillery.  Wolfhound Irish whiskey.  I think it is a good, standard Cooley blend.  Nothing unusual from Cooley, somewhere between Irish Manor, Millar's, and Michael Collins.  I like the price, it was discounted to 16.99.  I also like the labeling.  The wolfhound is the "gentle giant" (as the label declares), and the flavor is large but mellow.  So it works.  It is also classier than a lot of these blends.  Like Feckin' or Danny Boy.  It is also honest.  It states on the label that it comes from the Cooley distillery.  I would like to believe that this is the sort of bottling that will become a classic in time.

But it won't.  Because Cooley was bought by Jim Beam, who is closing the spigot to third party bottlings.  I understand the business decision behind it.  I just wish this label would survive because I thought it was a timeless classic.  Oh well.

Speaking of timeless classic Irish whiskey, Paddy Irish whiskey has lost distributorship in the US.  So if you are like me and you love it, and you find a few bottles collecting dust on a shelf in a store somewhere, snatch them up.  Who knows when Paddy will reach our shores again?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I am an alchemist

Or:  everything can ferment!

Of my many hobbies one of the most fascinating is brewing.  While I am slowly closing in on a good process for small batch beer brewing, that is not my main area of research.  I am primarily researching the exotic field of non-grape winemaking.  Right now everything is working simply, and aging gently.

I have one gallon of date wine, one gallon of mango wine, and one gallon of banana wine.  Today I will add one gallon of coconut wine to the cellars.  These are all fermented from fresh fruit blended and filtered by me.  The big exception is the coconut water, which I purchased at Costco and thus making it the most expensive wine base at 12 dollars a gallon.

The process of fermenting feels like alchemy, but the next step is the real magic.  The next step is blending.  Mango banana wine.  Banana coconut wine.  You know, like that.  My highest hopes are for the banana wine and various iterations:  a mulled banana wine brewed with cinnamon and vanilla (that's next on deck), and the banana wine blends.  I will share some of my best recipes with you boozehounds because you can't find these sorts of wines at the local liquor store.

Much like blending is the esoteric arts of whiskey distilling, wine blending is an art and one that I hope to master.  After all, who else is making grocery store fruit wine?  And who knows, perhaps this skill will port over into beer making.  Beer blends?  Why not?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Life Cycles

I know you've seen the lulz from the Onion about the Goth and the Metalhead overcoming differences:

"But at the end of the night, when I reached out to take Rick's hand, I noticed that his fingernails were painted black," Richardson added. "I told him how sexy it was, and he told me he got the idea from a Danzig video. That was the first time I realized we had something deep and eternal in common."

Sometimes I wish I could see into the Onion's hivemind.  It is like they know me too well.  Maybe they know you too well too?




Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Classical music oversite

We're all friends here, right?  I mean this little spot on the internet is a safe place, yes?  Can I share something with you?  It is a secret.  You see, recently I discovered a website.  It lets you download mp3s for free.  SHHHH!  Not so loud, they'll hear you.  Yes, I you heard me correctly.  They have thousands of them.  All classical music.  All those dead guys.  Even some living ones.  All for free.  I'm not sure about sharing this, though.  You know who might be watching.  So I tell you what.  Leave a comment if you are interested and I will drop the link in the comments.  After all, nobody reads the comments, even you-know-who.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Remember the 90s: Compact discs and Wesley Willis

You might say Compact Discs were bad.  An inferior disc.  Ooh vinyl, hewn from superior polymers.  Discus large and nebulous, it radiated warmth.  The Compact Disc was cold and sterile.  Vinyl was warm, it spat and hummed beneath the needle.  It was intimate.  The Compact Disc was distant and foreboding.  Too big to fit in your pocket.  Too small to sit on your lap and engage your afternoon.  Delight.  Poor Compact Disc.

But I loved the CD.  100 Compact Discs were smaller and cheaper than 100 vinyl records.  100 CDs fit in a wallet and went with you on vacation.  Your compact disc could play in your car stereo and would play 10,000 times and sound the same.  Scratches could be repaired.  Their apotheosis was in those glistening heady days of the 90s.  Back when Master P represented the new school of rap.  Back when pop music new how to charm with a little T & A.

Who will teach the children the old ways?  Will all our moments be lost in time, like tears in the rain?

The CD was the early democratization of music.  An intrepid musician could self release a box of CDs and sell them to the local hole in the wall used CD store.

I know.  I am a bum.  I am stupid for liking Wesley Willis.  I hear the voices.  All the time.

Yet I think this documentary should be submitted to the Library of Congress.  It gives you a window to the past like no other.  It gives you a look at a great artist of the streets working.  Will we ever see someone like Wesley Willis again?  No.  The hipsters won't have it.  They will love him and hate him and make us pay.  They always do.  There is no room for rock and roll next to hipster DJs.

Sometimes I wonder if we are suffering for our sins?

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.

Wesley Willis had several excellent documentaries made.  Take the time to watch them all.  Call it nostalgia if you want, but those were truly better times than these.