As discussed in a previous blog, cigar smoking on television or in the movies always captures my attention. That is especially true when the cigar is an important prop in the action and it is used more creatively—and positively—than the stereotype of popping a perfecto in the character's mouth to make it clear that he is a gangster or some other villain. Cigars in the negative were done to death using Edward G. Robinson and then later in the Courageous Cat cartoon with Chauncey Frog, who was clearly based on Robinson. (I will admit, however, that one of the greatest cigars scenes of all time is in a gangster movie: Albert Finney shooting up his rivals with a submachine gun between puffs in Miller's Crossing.)
I didn’t end up making the aforementioned trip to Kentucky to see the cooperage operation for Brown-Forman, but I also didn’t go to Niagara Falls as my wife had schemed. Where the family actually went (after much begging from my daughter Grace, who is fascinated by all things historical) was Mystic Seaport. At the other end of Connecticut from where I live, it was an easy day trip into a time that occurred many days ago (more than a century would be closer).
When I was invited to meet Angus Winchester, the global brand ambassador for Tanqueray gin at Raines Law Room for a drink, I was expecting anything but something basic. First, the peripatetic Winchester is a loyal soldier in the cocktail revolution, seen seemingly everywhere, from bars to television to books, promoting excellence in drinking. Second, Raines Law Room is a saloon so far out on the advance guard that it doesn't even sport a sign. And furthermore, Tanqueray’s current slogan is “Resist Simple.”
I have just received a document deeding me a lifetime lease on a square foot plot on the island of Islay.
For those of you who are ill informed: Islay is one of the cardinal whisky-making regions of Scotland (the one that makes all the really smoky Scotch); and my master plan is to one day own a distillery.
And I don't.
It’s an argument that I won’t win, but it goes something like this:
"But, honey, Niagara Falls is for honeymooners and we're already married with kids."
No, it's not my own pickled skull or that of some wayward guest whom I beheaded for drinking too much of my Chivas Royal Salute. It's a bottle of vodka.
I just received a press package from Knob Creek and tore off the brown paper wrapper with some anticipation, only to be greeted with a foreboding message on the lid of the box: "Thanks for nothing."
When Jim Beam announced its Red Stag, Bourbon infused with black cherry flavoring, the purist in me was horrified. What lunatic would want to take something so noble as Bourbon and sweeten it up with fruit? After all Bourbon is the purest of all spirits, strictly produced as a straight whiskey, no flavoring, barrels only used once, no coloring. It isn't vodka for goodness sakes. And what would it taste like anyway? Cough syrup?
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