d_trektone_w: (out of formation)
Hee ...

St. George Spirits officially released their "Absinthe Verte" today. It originally caught my attention because I wanted to send a bottle to Poppy Z. Brite, but she gently informed me she didn't care for absinthe. Well, no problemo - a bottle for me! I'm fond of other St. George Spirits products, including their Hangar One vodkas, so I look forward to trying this out.

San Francisco Chronicle article
d_trektone_w: (orchidO)
Last week I went to Phoenix on business. Haven't been doing a lot of business travel the last several years. Think I'm averaging once a year.

The night I got there I gave a call to [livejournal.com profile] uoggb. Maybe we'll connect IRL my next trip out your way. Or even give you a call again in the not-too-distant future. :)

Though I have several friends in Arizona, I decided to spend time with one who's also a co-worker. D works in Chandler (where she moved a couple of years ago) and she drove to downtown Phoenix Thursday night to have dinner w/me and a couple other folks. Matador had okay food and good margaritas.

On the way to her place D apologized profusely that her air conditioning had broken down and she wasn't able to get someone to fix it (she rents a house) until the next morning. I think it was the coolest night in a week, but it was still over 80 degrees F at 11pm. I didn't have much trouble getting to sleep, though.

We didn't have a plan for the weekend (both D & I had taken Friday off) except to relax and catch up. Some thoughts were to go up to Sedona or down to Tucson. Didn't do either during the weekend. Watched DVDS: "Hannibal Rising," "American Dreamz," and "Children of Men." Did some urban hiking (malls) -- eye candy! -- and I even accomplished some clothes shopping.

I hadn't been outside downtown Phoenix in a long time. I still remember when there was only one freeway. There are many, many big box stores in addition to malls, which I suppose isn't surprising since I think I read the Phoenix area is one of the fastest-growing in the U.S. Public transportation seems to be minimal at best where D and I drove around.

Within easy walking distance of D's place (and we did walk!) was A.J.'s, a more upscale supermarket line of a larger grocery chain. The coffee and baked goods were yum, and as we walked through the wine aisle I was amazed at the California presence, including a couple I had specifically looked for and couldn't find in shops where I live. We ended up speaking with Sharon, the store "cellar master" who turned out to be from Sonoma (right next to Napa). Wine talk fun ensued! And yes, the night before I left for home I went back to get a bottle of California wine.

We also went to Kokopelli Winery & Bistro, where we tasted some fun and some not-so-good locally-made wine. The best part of that experience was the opportunity to speak at length with the owner/winemaker, Dennis, who happened by and gave us an extra taste of a not-yet-bottled Cab Sauv (it was good; I hope that means the quality is improving). Dennis was enthusiastic and charming; D and I later agreed we found him easy on the eyes as well.

D & I talked and talked and talked. It was great. I helped her w/her iMac and she was thrilled to be able to use iTunes again. We also dined at Pita Jungle (mediterranean - good, not unique or extraordinary), The Good Egg (standard brunchy foods were decent, biscuit & gravy was good), Priya (generic, not bad Indian) and Voodoo Daddy (seemed more cajun than creole. Jambalaya & fried green tomatoes were uninteresting, alligator sausage was good, both seafood & non-seafood gumbos were very good as was the red beans & rice and the housemade potato chips. I'd definitely return!).

Lastly, I was very happy to visit Changing Hands Bookstore!
d_trektone_w: (bop)
Glad to get to the end of the week. Hasn't been much fun. Working too much because I've been feeling guilty about not accomplishing much for a new project. Sore throat on Wednesday, sniffling-turned-to-head-cold yesterday. Bleah.

A friend at work, JD, whom I've known for at least a decade, has been having a tough several months. An only child, she's been taking care of her parents who've been having more and more health issues. They all live in San Francisco, but she has her own apartment. Her mom was diagnosed with lung (?) cancer in July and went downhill very quickly. JD had gone on a family leave just before Thanksgiving. She called me on Tuesday to let me know her mom passed that morning. I hope JD is able to take her time for herself now, since she'd been trying to do so much herself, despite her circle of friends volunteering to help.

For me, last weekend was very enjoyable. Took mom up to spend several days with sis at her place in the Sierra Foothills. All things considered, the drive up and back was okay (despite traffic in both directions and icky rain on the return). We mostly just hung out and ate and talked. Mom is definitely slowing down, sleeping more, and forgetting recent events, which I mentioned before.

We were in good spirits the entire time and, in a surprise us kids, agreed to see not one, but two movies in theaters! She had not wanted to go with us the last few years. Her assisted care group was taken to "March of the Penguins" last year and she grumped about being forced to go even as she said she ended up liking the movie but remembering the sad parts more than the happy ones. We gave mom a couple of choices and she opted for another penguin extravaganza, "Happy Feet." Afterward she said she it was too loud in parts so she covered her ears, but it was still fun. Yay! And mentioned she'd go to the other one we suggested, so we Bond-ed the next night! (Yes, [livejournal.com profile] debmats, I saw it again, but this time without the alcohol beforehand and still really liked it, though the slow parts felt slower. Daniel Craig, though, definitely works for me. Hee!)

I look forward to seeing more movies with mom (& sis) in the future!

(And speaking of booze, mom surprised sis & me again by happily partaking of a flight of red wines we shared one dinner out. It used to be that mom would take one or two sips of a regular red and then ask for something sweeter. Not sure what to make of this development. She was pleased with an ice wine I brought as well. I'm sure we'll deal.)

Anyway, back to bed to get well.
d_trektone_w: (headshot)
(cross-posted with slight differences between my lj and [livejournal.com profile] singlemalt)

Here I am on the eve of a local Bruichladdich tasting and I'm finally getting around to a brief post regarding the Signatory tasting I went to a couple of weeks ago.

The presentation was by Ed Kohl ("North American Marketing Manager, Signatory USA") and I found it informative and interesting. He had us swirl and taste, then again after adding a bit of water. Our tastings were grouped as follows:

(1st group)
Rosebank 14-year
Edradour Un-Chillfiltered 10-year
Glen Grant 15-year

(2nd group)
Pulteney 16-year
Macallan Un-Chillfiltered 14-year
Ledaig 10-year

(3rd group)
Clynelish Cask Strength 15-year
Laphroaig Un-Chillfiltered 7-year
Laphroaig Cask Strength 13-year

This was my first formal tasting and I found the experience fun, though overwhelming to the senses. I took notes, but in looking at them now, they seem vague. So far I don't have strong likes or dislikes (before the tasting or now) and I continue to try to be open to both the familiar and the new.

My comments, sadly, are fairly basic and minimal. While I'd try any of them again, my least favorite during the tasting was the Ledaig. I didn't pick up anything interesting, but maybe I was starting to get fried by then. The Laphroags were big and intense; the cask strength was too much for me and there was something about the 7-year that caught my attention, but I don't recall what. I had no clear favorite. Enjoyed the floral aroma/flavor of the Rosebank. The Edradour had a toffee-ishness and fullness I enjoyed. The Clynelish had, for me, an almost-pear brandy aspect. I was most surprised by the Macallan as it didn't taste much like the Macallan 12-year I've had, and I think I prefer this un-chillfiltered expression. The Glen Grant had a spiciness in the middle and finish I liked. I have no memory of the Pulteney but my note was "Aroma!" so I guess it was good at the time. LOL!

Mr. Kohl asked how many in the room (~40?) were fans of the peaty style, over half raised their hands, which surprised him a bit as he noted his typical U.S. audience was around the 25% mark. Several friends of mine love that flavor (including [livejournal.com profile] filkerdave, right?). I find it interesting (that word again!), but don't love it.

Onward to the Bruichladdich! I'm not sure how well I'm going to be able to switch gears, having spent the weekend in Napa for a friend's wedding. Why yes, I had a bit of fermented grape juice! I think I tasted over fifteen different wines. We'll see how it goes tonight.
d_trektone_w: (jpLVchoc)
With mom's health situation stabilized for now (and at least somewhat known, I hope), I've been trying to catch up with folks and stuff in general. So here's some lj catch-up:
Dating? And ketch-up? )
d_trektone_w: (Default)
Knowing [livejournal.com profile] debmats was going to have a full couple of weeks, I wanted to celebrate her birthday early. Last year was goofy because I put her birthday announcement in a newsletter during the Boston Worldcon (hee!). Oh, and at later time we dined at Chez Panisse.

We went to Farallon in San Francisco. Here's Deb's view of our dinner on Wednesday. The main reason I suggested this place was for the ambience and figured she'd like the underwater theme of the place. While the food is excellent, there are other places in San Francisco that serve equally good seafood, but the venue is fun.

food pics, etc. )
d_trektone_w: (Default)
Classic Malts of Scotland miniature set

Round 4: Cragganmore 12 yr vs Lagavulin 16 vs Oban 14 (8/6)

In this three-way taste test the Lagavulin stood out as so different from the others, I took it out of the side-by-sides altogether. The smokiness and salt/bitter was very distracting for comparisons, especially in trying to clear my senses in going back and forth, but still interesting. The Oban was the clear winner, having more depth of flavors and finish than the Cragganmore, which I liked on its own.

Laphroaig 10 yr (8/7)

Busy day so I opened the bottle, leaving the miniatures taste test to another time. While I'd had Laphroaig before (only the 10 yr), as I paid more attention I found it to be very big, even more smoky, salty, and bitter than the Lagavulin. It was fascinating to taste and retaste, but for the moment I would kick it out of bed. Maybe I should save the bottle for when/if I see [livejournal.com profile] singlemaltsilk next year, or something like that. I'm still trying to get a handle on the descriptions/language of single malts. I keep reading about the "seaweed" aroma and flavor, but having grown up eating seaweed in more than a few forms, I found almost none of those attributes in the scotch experience (right now anyway). I'm trying to find other words. Like so many people have advised, I won't give away bottles I don't love; I'll keep retasting over time. Did join the Laphroaig "club" or "plot owners" or whatever the interest group is called via their website.

The Glenlivet 12 yr (8/8)

After finding baby snake dead I wanted a less challenging taste, so I went with The Glenlivet. It was not as light as I'd expected, pleasant, sweetish and had some interesting stuff going on.

As for baby snake, I'm doing okay with it. I'm sad, but as a possible product of a brother/sister mating, it may not have been very healthy. One thing on my to-do in the next few months is to separate all three cornsnakes, or determine which two are the females and keep them together to save space.
d_trektone_w: (Default)
Classic Malts of Scotland miniature set

Round 1: Cragganmore 12 yr vs Glenkinchie 10 yr (8/3 okay, so I started early)

I preferred the Cragganmore, but I found myself thinking both smelled like whisky, but not getting much else. The Glenkinchie was more tongue-numbing without having much of a finish. Eventually I was liking the smell of the Cragganmore and the leather (?) in the middle, and slight smokiness at the end of the aftertaste.

Round 2: Lagavulin 16 yr vs Talisker 10 yr (8/4)

These seemed somewhat different and liked both. Lagavulin was smoky, tangy, a bit salty and bitter. I liked it with a little water. Talisker was smoky in the middle, though the aroma was a bit sweet (?). If I had to choose, it would be the Talisker.

Round 3: Dalwhinnie 15 yr vs Oban 14 (8/5)

Much preferred the aroma of Dalwhinnie, and the finish of Oban. I found I couldn't discern much taste of either, other than whisky most of the time. The slight smoky of Oban was nice, but overall I liked the Dalwhinnie.

Need more practice tasting this stuff. :)
d_trektone_w: (Default)
It occurred to me the way I could have done this was to get a bunch of the miniature bottles. A wine & spirits store (okay, liquor, but they're trying) several blocks from home has a decent selection of regular (~30) as well as little bottles (~20). Still a possibility. I went there yesterday afternoon to window shop.

I also realized I had a bottle or two stashed away and pulled them out last night: Macallan 12 year and St George Single Malt (yeah, I know, not Scotch).

Based on the wonderful feedback posts and various conversations, I decided to get a few more for variety: The Glenlivet 12 yr (as a baseline), Laphroaig 10 yr, and Highland Park 18 yr. Hey, all three were "on sale" at K & L, a short walk from work, and I got to talk with a nice salesman who had given me good wine advice in the past.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sleigh, I am going to use the method he suggested, at least with the miniatures. To start. If I don't get carried.

Will let you know how it goes -- the first day of Worldcon in Glasgow is tomorrow!
d_trektone_w: (Default)
An inventory of the box of "Classic Malts of Scotland" had, instead of the previously-mentioned four bottles, there were six (50ml). With four I figured I'd taste them all in one sitting, but with six maybe I should have three one night and the other three the next? Or all in one tasting?

Oban (14 yr)

Glenkinchie (10 yr)

Cragganmore (12 yr)

Talisker (10 yr)

Dalwhinnie (15 yr)

Lagavulin (16 yr)

Recommendations for the order of tasting?
d_trektone_w: (Default)
Not that I have a new obsession or anything, but I was going through some newspapers that had stacked up the last couple of months and saw this article about single malt Scotch.

Thoughts? It seemed like it was an attempt to scare people into buying up older releases. If it's reality, maybe I should pop over to some nearby stores and pick up some 12+ year single malts.
d_trektone_w: (Default)
James Doohan was one of the original cast members I'd met and heard speak on several occasions. In the mid-to-late '70's before ST:TMP there were some Star Trek - Science Fiction conventions that came to the SF Bay Area where it seemed the same group of celebrities were presented. Not that I complained because it continued to be a thrill. Mr. Doohan was among that group (George Takei, Walter Koenig and Bruce Hyde were the others). He was always the moodiest, but so polite with children who were brave enough to ask questions. After the first movie and TNG, of course, Star Trek (re-)emerged as a big deal and the original series actors were in greater demand. I recall with great delight the way Mr. Doohan went on and on one time about the stupidity of "The Simpsons" tv show and wondered if he ever changed his mind.

([livejournal.com profile] allisona: does this count as a remembrance?)

Over the last few years I've had some opportunities to drink single malt Scotch whisky, but I'm still really into wine, at least for now. Part of what I was looking forward to this year was the chance to have some single malts where they're made. Since I cancelled my Scotland trip, I'm planning to have some single malt Scotch whisky each day of the convention. Early this year I bought one of those sampler packs that has four miniature bottles and was going to have a one-person tasting in preparation for the trip, but I kept putting that off, too, so it'll be a good start.

For those of you who are fond of single malts -- and I know you're out there -- which are your favorites?


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