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

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Royal Oak Star Grill Charcoal

Royal Oak Star Grill charcoal is everywhere. Is it any good?It is spring, it is hot outside, and I am happily grilling again in the good old fashioned way.

I am continuing my charcoal and charwood experiments this week with a small, relatively inexpensive bag of Royal Oak "Star Grill" charcoal that I bought at a local grocery store.

Good charcoal has a nice description on the bag, usually of the kind of wood and where it came from. Royal Oak has neither. But that's okay because as you know, expensive doesn't always mean better. And to get back into the swing of things, I was starting off on a budget. My 5 lb. bag cost $5.98. Was it a deal?

Good sized chunks of Royal Oak charcoal!Upon opening the bag the pieces were all very good sizes. Nothing was too large and almost nothing was too small. It appeared to be a surprisingly good bag of American charcoal.

I also had two nice surprises that I wasn't really expecting at this price point. The first was that there was only one piece of scrap; a golf-ball sized chunk of concrete. Not a big deal at all. The second was the smell, the delicious campfire smell. I was excited.

Over the course of a week I used up the bag making the usual things that I make. Sparking and popping was minimal, and once I poured it into the grill it ceased entirely. Very good. Corn isn't really ripe in Ontario yet, so my grilling didn't go further than hot dogs, hamburgers and veggie dogs.

So what was the verdict? Unfortunately the taste did not mimick the smell. I did not like the flavour it added. Not one bit. This week-long experiment just goes to show that it doesn't matter what charcoal looks or smells like. It all comes down to the flavour in the food. Try it yourself. You may really like it.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

CDG Duty Free Wall of Whisky

CDG Duty Free selection of whisky.

Shopping for scotch at Duty Free locations isn't as easy as it sounds. Few Duty Free shops have a website where they list the different whiskies they sell. Many Duty Free locations have a very poor selection of whisky. Travelling to Paris, I wanted to know what whisky is available at the Charles de Gaulle Duty Free.

I wanted to come home from Paris with something special. I wanted something unavailable in North America, or Canada at the very least. I knew I was making a trip to La Maison du Whisky for one bottle most certainly. But I didn't know if I should buy a second, or take my chances and pick up my 2nd bottle at the CDG Duty Free. What if their selection was terrible?

My CDG Duty Free internet searches came up empty, so I asked on Tripadvisor. One fellow was aware that they sold the Macallan, but nobody else could offer anything. In fact, other people in that thread also began wondering what was available. I decided I'd help everyone out by posting some photos.

The Charles de Gaulle Duty Free was actually surprising. Their selection was the best I'd ever seen in a Duty Free store. Tags showed the price and compared it to common prices paid elsewhere in France. Glenlivet 21 y.o. was €94.40, compared to €107.50 elsewhere. Glenfiddich 12 was €34.90.

Here are some more from CDG, as of May 2012:
Balvenie 21 Portwood: €122
Chivas Regal 18 €80.10 (750ml) and €134.30 (1L)
Dalmore 18: €99
Highland Park 1990: €105
Johnnie Walker Double Black: €37.50 (1L)
Johnnie Walker Green: €48 (1L)
Johnnie Walker Gold: €60 (1L)
Johnnie Walker Blue: €166 (1L)

If you're looking for something I haven't listed like Jura, Cragganmore or Talisker, take a look at these photos I took. Photobucket will not allow me to upload a high quality image, so I've done my best to show as much as I can. Click on the links and you will see what's available and, in some cases, the price.

CDG wall of whisky 1
CDG wall of whisky 2
CDG wall of whisky 3
CDG wall of whisky 4
CDG wall of whisky 5

The biggest surprise for me was The Balvenie 40 year old. I'd photographed it earlier at Les Halles. Check out that hefty price tag. It was available at the CDG Duty Free at the bargain price of €3000.

So world travellers, there you go. I hope I've been able to help.

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Thursday, May 03, 2012

La Maison du Whisky, Paris

Inside La Maison du Whisky, Paris, France.

The LCBO's Whisky Shop is a valiant effort to duplicate what France's La Maison du Whisky perfected decades earlier. The Paris shop opened in 1956 and sells extremely limited, special and rare bottlings of whisky along with many regulars.

After an hour or so of walking in the rain, I found LMDW tucked down a little street north of the Champs d'Elysees, just west of La Madeleine. 20 Rue d'Anjou to be exact. It's a beautiful corner store filled with beautiful rare bottles, with a beautiful custom "MW" push to open the door.

Dorking it up outside La Maison du Whisky.When I entered I spun around, a la Julie Andrews, to take in the views of all that was on offer. I guess my excitement was apparent. Despite being dressed in my laziest pair of jeans and grungy old running shoes the amazing staff seemed genuinely happy I was there. Like I was an old friend.

I realize how cliche that sounds but it's difficult to explain the feeling when I was allowed into their private collection room to take photos. It's a small room with bottles to the ceiling, so I used my wide angle lens to capture a few that meant something to me. I can only assume they were for sale, but I didn't ask.

Although a small store by North American standards, La Maison du Whisky is full of incredible bottles. How incredible? What do they have? How about a Glenfarclas Family Cask 1965 just shy of 500 Euros? Or the 1957 Auchentoshan 50 year old? Or Glenmorangie Pride?

If you want it, La Maison du Whisky (probably) has it. Unless you happen to be looking for the 1975 Auchentoshan 35 year old.

Sorry. I bought the very last one - the display bottle.

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