20 June 2013

Impromptu Whisky Tasting (Cabal free)

I remembered I had a few tasters and a few new whiskies lying around, so since it's that kinda of evening...tasting!There's also a cabal meeting next week so expect a larger writeup of stuff then.

Inverarity 14yo 40%
N: v sweet, parma violets, caramel, leather, strong,
P: very sweet, citrus tang, dry sherry feel, not hugely complex, possibly too much sherry as it hasn't allowed much else to develop
F: med-long, dry,

This is the house blend for LFW. It's very drinkable, and would be an excellent intro whisky, or a useful dram to have lying around the house. I'm not convinced the balance is quite right, my mouth seems full of cotton wool after drinking it - possibly too dry?
Any way, it's worth trying and if you need a reserve malt for under £40, it gets my vote.

Clynelish Signatory 58.3%
N: earth, musty, honey, fresh opened pea pod, sweet tobacco, citrus
P: warm, honey, chilli?, oil, hint of salt, pepper, chewy, tobacco, caramel fudge
F: med-long, spicy tobacco

You all know my love for Brora, so Clynelish has often been a disappointment. This isn't. Signatory have a reputation for delivering damn fine drams, and this is great. I maybe a little harsh with the 8, it could be higher.  It's a weirdly chewy dram, and doesn't feel like cask strength (oh dear), the tobacco hints keep growing with sips and on the finish.
Yup, I like this.

Glenburgie 14yo 60.5% 
No link for this one as it was a gift, it's from LFW if you do want it.
N: earthy, sweet, honey (clover?), lemonade, fresh cut lawns, oak sap?, marshmallows, icing sugar
P: fizzy homemade lemonade, caramel, sweet, delicate, floral, parma violets?
F: short-med, but tingly afterwards - nice
Google informs me Glenburgie is near Moray with most of their production heading to blends. I do have to link to the distillery homepage as it's brilliantly bad, 1995 calling...
The whisky is light, delicate and yet interesting. It's very very smooth - smoother than a 14yo at 60.5% deserves to be. Rather too quaffable. Actually its bloody nice and warm and drinkable at cask.

Add water
N: all of the above, but the spritzic lemonade becomes more promient
P: levels it all out, bringing out the sweetness and very very smooth honey flavours (and yes, it seems clover-ish),
F: med-long? more tingly and hint of pepper

I don't think the rating changes And the flavour smoothes out, it's good with and without water. Huzzah - and thanks :D


Movie Day 1 : Maniac Cop

Nominally live blogging today. First up is Maniac Cop.
Bruce Campbell, Richard Roundtree and a high body count. Cop is killing people, he's called the Maniac Cop by the press. No one believes there's a rogue cop, the public kills cops, New York has gone feral (can anyone tell?).
Cop is arrested (Brucie baby), what a jaw, what a goddamn jaw.There's quality time in dive bars, loner cops, piss weak looking beer. And most importantly, cheesy 80 electronic drums. Brilliant.
"Fuckin' A I'm a cop, whadya fuck are you?","Fuck you".

They've found him! they've shot him, he's not dying!!! OMFG. And she's got crimped hair, 80s FTW.
Things have slowed as they try to work out how the rogue cop is getting info, but now it's picking up, there's a slow car chase. Although there's been no death for a good 10 minutes, which is a downer.

"do you always take a leak with a gun in your hand? that's a good way to blow ya balls off"
there has been an extended sequence about finding out the supposed dead cop is not actually dead (imdb informs me that the coroner was the directors real-life doctor), and convincing other cops that this is the truth. Dramatic times in New York. Thankfully the body count is going up again, Bruce (and his jaw) are still suspects, but crimped hair blonde is on the case.

Is it possible for a US cop to start a car without wheel spinning? That maybe a rhetorical question. Blonde has shotgun, there's a denouement a'comin'. And a sequel.

Well I enjoyed that, cheesy, rubbish, and thoroughly watchable. Huzzah !!

15 June 2013


Just because.

9 June 2013

Cooking with Bruce : Chicken and mango curry

This should work with anything, fish, tofu, whatever.

Spice Paste

1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2½ tbsp sambal oelek
3 medium-heat red chillies
30g fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2-3 lemongrass stalks, either whole (sliced) or paste
1 tsp ground turmeric
12 small shallots
10 garlic cloves

Combine all in a blender, drizzle in oil to make it a paste.

Score some chicken breasts, then put half of the paste on them and leave to infuse for a couple of hours, turning occaisonally.

Fry chicken at very hot temp to sear on each side (2-3 mins)

Add remaining paste, cook for 10 mins (ish) until it turns a deep brown/red colour. Add in some veges (carrots, beans, capsicums), mango and 150ml coconut milk, cook for 5 mins, chop up the chicken and add that. Cook for 5 mins.

Flick some lime juice through it, and serve on rice.

Gigs wot I has seen: Enid, Phoenix Foundation, Mark Knopfler, Handsome Family and Iron & Wine

May had set itself up as a big gig month, well big in terms of numbers of gigs.
First up were the Enid, a band who have gone from strength to strength over the last few years. It's the second or third time I've seen them in the last couple of years, and whats become clear is that their vocalist (Joe Payne) has taken over effectively conducting the band which has made them much tighter. He's also a brilliant vocalist, with an excellent range and very smooth transition into his falsetto.
Excellent gig. and I their most recent album, Invicta, is a superb combination of symphonic with hints of rock. Buy it from the band.

Next up was a brace of Phoenix Foundation gigs. We trundled up to Liverpool, discovered good coffee and great beer around Parr Street. The venue, Kazimier, is small, quirky, and throughly recommended. James was support, or rather Lawrence Arabia, who was on fine form - crowd seemed to enjoy him, except the rather pissed Liverpudlians.  I can thoroughly recommend his new album, The Sparrow, it's quirky, interesting, and sweet. BBC review here. So to the Phoenix lads, my major issue with their recent gigs has been their professionalism - an ironic thing to complain about - but I do love the early gigs where the excitement was added to with (a) are they all playing the same thing and (b) will they all finish at the same time?
The Liverpool gig was similar to this, although not by the boys' choice - a bunch of rather inebriated chaps were wanting specific songs, and ruining their setlist, but adding to the cool vibe. Enjoyed it.
Pottered along to the Glam show at the Tate Liverpool the next day, it seemed to lack focus and context, but enjoyable.
The PB London gig was in a larger venue, no Lawrence (sadly), but by god did they go off. Strong kiwi contingent, but seemed a large number of locals - huzzah.

Next up, Knopfler in Cardiff. I've raved about his new album, Privateering, and I like Cardiff. Good pubs, inclduing The Goat Major, who do a very good line in pies (hear that Mr Thompson?). And the Cardiff Art Gallery, really is superb.
So the gig, I've seen Knopfler a few times now, first time with Dire Straits, and the others as a solo act. This was a seated stadium gig (Arena Motorspot in the Cardiff central area), and sadly it showed. The band, who were brilliant, weren't really given their lead and so seemed to lack passion - except for a couple of pieces where they could do what they wanted. Some of it was sublime, and the new album sounded good and bluesy brilliant, but over all I felt it was a bit flat. Enjoyable, but not memorable. Not enough to make me buy a copy of the concert at £25.

Back to Lboro, and across to Leicester for The Handsome Family. Again, a bit of a favourite live. And this time they had a real drummer, rather than the *dodgy* drum machine they've had previously. This made a difference, stopping Brett playing with the machine was a good move. The banter is still brilliant, and the songs are dark, twisted, funny and great. Really enjoyed the gig, and it looks like I might pick up the new album shortly...dammit.

And down to London for Iron and Wine. Pottered along to the Bowie exhibition at the V&A, which was crowded, and enjoyable, but to be honest I'm still not taken with Bowie as a musician, but came away with appreciation of his contribution as an artist (does that make sense?). But probably worth getting the V&A membership for, particularly as I pottered along to the treasures of the Russian and English courts exhibition, which I enjoyed far more than the Bowie (to be honest).
So iron and wine, hmmm, grumble, he had a big band with him almost trying to swing the songs - and having seen him before, I don't think it worked. I thought the intimacy of the songs was lost. The newer stuff worked better, but songs such as Jezebel, was a nightmare for me.
On the strength of this concert, I didn't buy the album. I will spin it on Spotify, but I'm not rushing. Felt a bit grumpy after this gig for the lack of vibe I'd had from the albums, and the gig I'd been to.