Posts Tagged ‘Screamin’ Banshee Bread’

After our haunting Holland Happening experience (you saw how we turned out after exiting the Gravitron), it was time to get down to business…whiskey business.  I’m not much of a drinker – the occasional glass of wine, maybe a beer after working on the property in the heat of summer (that would be when the thermometer reaches the very rare (there are no fans left to be found at Home Depot) 80 degrees).  And here I was sitting at a table with bona fide sippers of the grain, expert in their assessments.  I, on the other hand, have never been a whiskey drinker; well, perhaps once in my youth, which is why I may be a bit put off by the spirit.  But that was a long time ago and I was willing to let bygones be bygones.

Whiskey-Before_edited-1The line up on the table in the photo to your left does not represent the order in which the whiskey was tasted, and some brands did not make the photo cut because I took the photos after the tasting when the bottles looked more like this (see below):


1)Jack Daniels Unaged Tennessee Rye, 2) Redbreast Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Aged 12 Years; Bulleit 95 Rye American Whiskey, Makers Mark 46, McClelland’s Islay 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whiskey, and Laphroaig Islay 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whiskey.

The tasters included William Bell, Bev Heising of Whidbey Island Distillery, Whidbey Island authors Mike McNeff, Mare Chapman, and Rowena Williamson, Bedford Cheese Shop Cheesemonger extraordinaire Nate McElroy, and me.  Oh, did I mention that William hosted us down at Local Grown?  Now I know how he stays so very mellow while drinking so much coffee.  (Note: This was a private party. No rules were broken.  Let me add here that the rumor Local Grown is installing a whiskey machine, like the one shown below, is not true.)

whiskeyAlong with the whiskey there were cheeses to sample and pair with the spirits. The finest among the cheese was a wedge of Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Dairy in Dodgeville, Wisconsin that Nate brought all the way from NY. You’re beginning to understand why he’s my favorite, aren’t you.  p-best-in-classWe also enjoyed Britt’s pickles out of Seattle, Fermin Iberic Salchichon, and Screamin’ Banshee Bread from right here on the island.

Nate was in charge of the pour so you know every taster had an ample sample.  Experienced tasters saw the sample to your left:9143738-whiskey-in-a-crystal-shot-glass-isolated-on-white

This is what I saw:The_simpsons_flaming_moes_02

There was a “dump it” bucket for those who wanted to walk out of the coffee shop, but I seemed to be the only one using it.  I’d like to be able to break down the descriptors used by the participants for you in accord with each whiskey, but after the first sip, I knew I’d never be able to match one with the other.  Here are a few of the words I do remember: Refreshing, light, vanilla, apples, cherry, oak, smooth on the tongue, lingers at the back of the throat, moss, smoke, hints of orange blossom (I may be making that one up).

Here are my descriptors: FIRE IN MY MOUTH! BURNING!  MY TONGUE HAS GONE NUMB! GOOD GOD, ARE MY LIPS STILL ON MY FACE?  Tasting the Laphroaig and the McClelland’s Scotch reminded me of standing in the middle of a debris burn I did my first winter on the island that lasted for a week.  Back then, I was sure I must be smoldering days after the burn was over, that’s how strong the smell of SMOKE around me remained.  I tried to listen as Mare and Rowena (the Scotch experts) talked about the peat moss used, the fire, the barrels, etc., but I was having a hard time doing that while gobbling down bread to calm my taste buds.  Thinking back on this, I’m reminded of Tom Hanks in Big when he tastes caviar for the first time.

I’d like to say I have a sophisticated palate when it comes to sampling spirits in their purest form, but I don’t.  So, here I sit weeks later looking at these near-to-full bottles of Redbreast and Bulleit Rye and the thought comes to me: I would probably like them a great deal if I used them to accentuate my chocolate truffles.  Now we’re talkin’.  I’ll let you know how that turns out.

whidbeyislandI’ll end with this note. Yesterday, May 17, marked my four year anniversary here on the island.  Thanks to all who have made my stay here some of the best years of my life.  To those who have followed my silly little blog during that time, hand-to-heart gratitude for riding along with me.


Thanks wipwapweb.com for the “whisky” machine.

Moe’s flaming drink from images4.wikia.nocookie.net


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So I went down to Local Grown awhile back to see what was up with the guys and found Texas-Zen Rick (by way of Mississippi through Oklahoma) reminiscing with Lew about the good old days at the University of CA, Berkeley; you know, the sit ins, People’s Park, S.I. Hyakawa.  Now I won’t give away another person’s story, but the way Lew’s you-gotta-love-the-ACLU face was lit up, I knew Rick had hooked him with a fine stickin’-it-to-the-man tale.  As I said at the beginning, this was awhile back – more than a month ago – before the frost was on the mushrooms.   Somehow, and I can’t say just what that is, their conversation took a turn, and perhaps, I’m not saying  this is so, but perhaps at some point someone interjected their opinion on the rise and fall of the stock market, which, in turn, and mind you, I’m not a coffee drinker so I can’t keep up with the fast paced, intellectually stimulating discussions (many simultaneously) that go on around the table, but even with a cup of Calm rendering me nearly catatonic, I took note when talk turned to the rising price of peanut butter.

Fast forward to present day and lo and behold the outrageous rise in price of peanut butter came up again.  Seriously, I had no idea how many people were being affected by this lowly, yet costly, nut.  DZ, Texas-Zen Rick (by way of Mississippi through Oklahoma) and Lew not only chewed on the sharp rise in price, Lew was as disheartened to find the “chunky” variety had far fewer bits of peanuts and those he did find were much smaller than those in the good old days as I am about the decline of my bone density.  And then, I hope I’m not blowing DZ’s cover, but I heard her tell Texas Rick that she had his peanut butter in the car.   What?  Had DZ become an underground supplier offering drop bottom prices on the much-loved gooberous spread until she got her “clientele” hooked (at which time she’d jack up the cost)?  I waited, listened.  Like any good dealer, DZ tried to sway Lew away from his Skippy brand, like it was bad crack, over to her primo brand – the all natural peanut butter that you get at the co-op where the peanuts are piled in a hopper just waiting to be turned into a mass that looks more like…um, uh, ever changed a diaper?  The more I listened, the more I learned that peanut butter had been a staple in the lives of most folks; that sandwich they yearned to find in their school lunch box turned soggy mass from their leaky thermos; that peanutty spread they slathered on crackers; the necessary sap for ants on a log; the go to food for the 99%.    It was then I had to face a hard fact: I was an outsider .

You see, I didn’t grow up on peanut butter sandwiches, plain or with jelly (no, do not fret, it’s not because I was raised by the 1%).  Bologna (a luncheon meat of questionable content was the go to food my parents of the 99% relied upon).  I was the other side of 21 when I had my first peanut butter and jelly sandwich.   It was the wee hours of the morning.  I was in a happy, happy frame of mind, as were my friends, as we held these ancient massage gizmos to our foreheads and watched slides (Google it youngsters) of their side-of-the-road chapel wedding (I don’t recommend this – the massage gizmo to your forehead or the chapel).   In the midst of this happy, happy time, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich magically appeared before me.

Back then, I wasn’t as impressed with the peanut butter and jelly sandwich as I was with the brownies.   Today, however, though it may not make me want to jiggle the inside of my head with electric equipment,  a slather of peanut butter with a little honey and cinnamon on a  toasted slice of Screamin’ Banshee Rustic Bread, alongside a cup of chai is a great way to start my day before heading out to the woods to do a little hoein’.

So, DZ, if  you’re reading this, call me.  I’m jonesin’ for the good stuff!

Next:  The Red Tail Hawk and the Little Black Bird.

Warning:  Don’t even think about copying my original art work.  You know you want to.

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