Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Super Pretentious Scotch Party!

The line up for my first scotch party.

A brilliant notion crossed my mind this summer. Thanks to Dan the Tax Man, I decided to host a scotch party. In preparation, Suz and I got snooty Jazz CDs from the library, and some nice food. The invitation went out, and 3 of the 5 couples arrived Saturday night, each with a bottle in hand.

Jazz was classic, covers, modern and latin-infused. Food was crackers, dark chocolate, almonds and Swiss, provolone & brie cheeses. And most importantly, the scotches were Glenfiddich 12, Ardbeg 10, Singleton 12 and Macallan Select Oak.

Due to this facade of organization, I created the illusion that I knew what I was doing. When I began pouring the scotch it was clear that I was in over my head as my hooligan friends, desperate for a dram, cried regularly, "What's a guy gotta do to get a drink around here?"

Fear not, the glass was empty when it broke, and no scotch was wasted.Fearing for my life my hands began to tremble as I poured. The resulting casualty was swept up, but fearing a beating if I went off-schedule, I skipped the eulogy.

We took a vote and decided Glenfiddich 12 would be first. After my disappointing experience with the Special Reserve, I was glad to be able to try the regular expression. Group consensus: very nice and worth buying.

Next up we went with a heavy hitter. When we popped the top, non-chill filtered Ardbeg 10 filled the room with smoke. I got more than just a hint of smoked ham! Three out of four agreed: too strong, too smokey.

Third was the Singleton 12, aged in bourbon and sherry casks. None of us could detect the effects of the sherry cask, but agreed it was super duper. All four of us concurred that it was extremely similar to the Glenfiddich 12.

Finally came the Macallan Select Oak, with no age statement. Due to aging in five different casks, it was quite complex and by far the fruitiest of the bunch.

Overall favourites were a bit of surprise to me. Just before everyone drove home in their Bentleys and Ferraris, we put on our monogrammed smoking jackets, had our portraits painted, and took a vote. Results:

Glenfiddich 12: 2 vote tie with Singleton - too similar to choose
Ardbeg 10: 1 vote
Singleton 12: 2 vote tie with Glenfiddich - too similar to choose
Macallan Select Oak: 1 vote

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Nature's Grilling Gourmet Mesquite Charcoal

Nature's Grilling is so gourmet, a dude in a tux should carry it to your car.Most people wouldn't complain about our blistering, record-breaking summer this year. But due to the intense heat, the Stay Puft Marshmallow man has melted into an oozing pile of ant-food. Also, I have not been able to grill as much as I would've liked to.

Let's focus on that.

It has taken me a bit longer to go through my next bag of charcoal: Nature's Grilling Gourmet Mesquite charcoal. I bought this 6.6 lb. bag on sale at Canadian Tire. It was regularly $11.99, but for $7.99 it was worth a try. However, the joke was on me, as they later lowered the REGULAR price to $5.99.

Now this is a nice bag full of great information. The bag states it's 100% natural, and that it is a product of Mexico. "Nature's Grilling Products", however, is located in Louisville, CO. In addition to safety information the directions contain some nice graphics. They also boldly state their #1 Mesquite Charcoal ranking by The Naked Whiz, and explain their commitment to reforestation and fairness to employees.

Inside the bag I found absolutely no scrap bits. It was, essentially, all useable. A typical handful looked like this. The pieces were all good sizes, with only one that needed to be broken into smaller pieces.

Some of the pieces sparked and popped in my chimney but once I poured it into my grill it all settled down nicely.

The smell was quite strong and it was clear immediately this was a mesquite charcoal. I was worried it would be too strong for my food, but I was wrong. It added a nice flavour to my Juicy Jumbos, hamburgers and sirloin burgers that was almost delicate.

The only downside to the Nature's Grilling Mesquite charcoal was it was very similar to my Kingsford in taste. Too similar, actually. With Kingsford I can get quite a bit more bang for my buck. I would not pay $12 for this charcoal, but if the price remains at $5.99, it's a very good bag to have around.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jim Beam Red Stag Black Cherry Bourbon

PhotobucketI don't really live a life full of vice, but one of my kryptonites is cherry-flavoured beverages. Cherry Coke, Wild Cherry Pepsi and for the love of God, the best of the best, Cherry Dr Pepper.

Unfortunately I live in Canada, whose importing authorities see cherry-flavoured drinks as a sort of deadly violation of the Canada Food Guide and avoid it.

When a friend told me the LCBO was carrying Jim Beam Red Stag, I jumped on it. Why? Red Stag is Jim Beam's Black Cherry flavoured Kentucky bourbon, aged four years. Not only did I get one, but I got it on sale: $25. (It was a limited offering in 2011 and is currently not available at the LCBO.)

I like bourbon and adding cherry flavour to it would only deepen our bond, I was sure. Did my fingers tremble as I cracked it open? Maybe a little.

The nose was strong. Alcohol, medicinal cherry and bourbony. Not so promising.

There's a tired line I've avoided all my life. It's so effortless to say something "tastes like cherry cough syrup!" I tend to really like cherry cough syrup, so this descriptor doesn't work for me. But the taste was so medicinal that I couldn't help but think, "Now I know what people are talking about when they say cherry cough syrup!"

My wife gave it a try and to my surprise thoroughly enjoyed it. Based on this I gave it a second chance. And a third. Fourth. Fifth. Nope. It was awful. It tasted like two separate drinks in my mouth, one being some sort of Robitussin product which came close to overwhelming the second, bourbon.

Did I get a bad bottle? I'll never know.

I would liken Red Stag to a DeLorean barn-find. It's exciting to discover it, but there are just no redeeming qualities about a DeLorean with a rusted frame, dented stainless panels and gummed up fuel injectors.

LCBO sale: $25
750 ml
40% (80 proof)


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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Steam Trains & DeLoreans: BTTF 3!

It's BTTF 3 all over again.

On Canada Day 2012 I travelled through time. Right back to 1883. It was "the Coolest vehicle of the 1980s meets the coolest vehicle of the 1880s" in Tottenham, north of Toronto.

Our car club, which includes one Time Machine DeLorean, gathered at the South Simcoe Railway and rode the only functioning steam powered train in Ontario: Canadian Pacific engine 136. It is among a very small handful of steam trains still operational in Canada.

The boiler was warmed up the night before, and the engineer began stoking the fire around 6 a.m. Four hours later the DeLoreans began rolling in. We admired the engine, built in 1883, as crowds gathered around our cars beneath clouds of steam and smoke.

A sight to behold, everyone loved the combination of cars and trains. But a battle was brewing as the Time Machine silently faced off against the steam train. It was the power of the future vs. the power of the past, as Mr. Fusion's supreme efficiency taunted the coal-fed locomotive. Black tears rolled down the front of #136 as she pulled away from the station.

All this action really gave me a yearning to watch Back to the Future 3 again.

This hobby really is amazing. The people I've met are so interesting and fun. It's not just car-guys - the steam train is a perfect example of that. The South Simcoe Railway is run by volunteers who are doing essentially the exact same thing I am doing. They are preserving a piece of history, a piece of beautiful technology from the past. And they're doing it because they love it.

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