Wednesday, August 29, 2007

One Bourbon, One Cognac, One Beer

The English don't know whiskey. Granted their ales are bar none, but when it comes to whiskey they are all whistling in the dark. In particular bourbon seems to mystify them. If you ask an English chap if he likes bourbon, he will probably reply that he loves Jack Daniels . . . if this occurs don't even try to explain the difference as it will be like trying to teach a pig to sing (it frustrates you and annoys the pig). I have walked into bars with a selection of different bourbons and requested a single of bourbon and been served everything from single malt scotch (not that upsetting) to Courvoisier (very disconcerting).

Thus I found myself camping in Wales with a group Northerners (North England that is, Hull to be exact). Like a good Southern boy (Georgia that is, Thomson to be exact) I brought along a bottle of bourbon (Jim Beam to be exact). This was a handy thing. You see, living in London I have become quite use to the London accent, but apparently if you drive a few hours North the entire language changes. I was sitting in the midst of a conversation that sounded like it was being being spoken in old Norse. I decided my best plan of action would be to pass my bottle around and attempt to slow down this thick gravy like speech. I also took great pleasure in watching these English boys make little sissy faces every time they turned up the bottle of elixir. Anyway my plan seemed to work, as the next morning the language was more decipherable (although there was still some vocabulary confusion) and most of the bourbon was missing.

It was a camping trip, so bourbon for breakfast seemed to be in order. The dregs of the bottle began to circle again. Until, that is Mike took a swill to go with his black pudding and found that some lovely Welsh insects had taken a liking to the beverage. Unfortunately for Mike, this involved him ingesting one of the creatures

"No, worries mate we've got another bottle in the car." No worries? Seems to me there is plenty to worry about. First I know what you people consider to be bourbon. Second, Mike just ate something that looked as though it was out of Alien and if his chest explodes on me its going to ruin my trip.
The reason we were in Wales was for a wakeboarding and music festival called Wakestock. Attending such an event is a way to feel old (for those of you looking into this sort of thing). Generally, I don't feel old, I'm not old, I'm still shy of thirty, but here i am at a music festival that is populated by primarily 17-18 year olds. There were moments when I would have like to have felt like the old wise man that can still hang, but instead, more often than not, I just felt like the old dude. This was not helped by a conversation with a girl from a tent nearby.

"Hey," she said.


"Are you from New Zealand?"

"No, I'm from the United States."

"Are you Peter Jackson?"

Yes, that's it you've found Peter Jackson camping in the rain at a music festival. Now I'm old and fat. Actually I'm old, fat, and bitter as I'll never forgive that girl.

So, there I am old, fat, bitter and soon to be depressed. Not a real depression, more like a depression that a teacher feels when her student still can't add. The depression started when I was handed the reserve bottle of bourbon. It looked cheap from afar, so I just turned it up without reading the label. My mouth was filled with the flavor of rotten cool aid. Taking the bottle from my lips I read the label to discover that this was Aldi Brand American Bourbon Liqueur. Yummy. Grocery store brand Southern Comfort knock off. I said "Thanks, I'll stick to the beer." I thought, teacher like, "I'm disappointed in all of you. None of you paid attention to last nights lesson." But we'll try again tomorrow.

The next day. It rained. All day. The ground turned to a slushy mud substance. It was the rave night at the festival. After spending the day out in the country side of coastal Wales (which by the way is not to be missed if you are in the area), we decided to head back to the festival site. "I'd like to run in here and grab some bourbon," I said. I'll go in on the with you a couple of voices said. We walk up to the counter. There is no Bourbon.

"There's no bourbon, would y'all rather have . . . "

"Yes there is. There's J.D. right there."

What the..."Yeah, you're right." Hey, its better than Aldi Brand So-Co imitation with a twist of booger.

When we got back I settled into some Jack Daniels (which still isn't bourbon) and prepared to feel very old at a rave. But I didn't. I sure that as I danced, I looked very old, very uncoordinated, and probably a bit like I suffered from a debilitating disease. But, thanks to another girl I didn't feel as old. She walked directly up to me and asked if I was 21. Apparently she was being chatted up by one of our group who told her we were all 21.

"Sure am," I replied.

"I'm 29, that makes me pretty old to be here, huh?" she said with a flirty little smile.

I raised my hand and pointed in her face: "HA, HA, HA. I'm only 28. YOU'RE older than ME. HA, HA, HA." (Lt. Blount's friend making tool #21) Rolling someone over in their own misery will sure improve a night of dancing in the mud. Later I was overheard trashing Liverpool (which I've never been too) to Liverpoolians and being derogatory about London to Londoners.

Day two of the festival was called off as the entire festival ground had apparently flooded. The mud was ankle deep, and the bridge to the parking lot could be seen floating in the middle of an impromtu lake. This was probably a good thing. You see, we were all wet, muddy and miserable, but also we were not quiters, and if the show had gone on most likely we would have, too. We piled into cars and moved on down the road, leaving the land of the teeny boppers behind and moving towards a more mature business like existence.

Later that day I was dropped at the North Greenwich station in London. I boarded my bus with a full garbage bag, the scent of a homeless guy, and the looks of a muddy Peter Jackson. I am the essence of maturity. The older guy in the seat facing me says something.

"Whats that?" I say.

"Nothing," he mumbles, but then decides to explain "I sometimes talk to myself, you know the pressure gets to be to much. . . self. . ." he trails off, and I give what I hope appeared to be a knowing nod, but probably looked very patronizing. We ride in silence after that, except for the sound of him pulling a new fifth of Wild Turkey out of his satchel, opening it, and taking a few big pulls every now and then. Don't worry fella, you've still got taste.


Roy said...

I get tired of explaining bourbon to AMERICANS. "It's all whiskey, right?" Wrong.

Then I launch into an explanation of the corn content of bourbon, what makes Jack Daniels a Tennessee whiskey and not bourbon, how cheap blended American Whiskey is mostly grain alochol, and then if I haven't totally made them walk away from me, I explain how prohibition had a lot to do with American's tastes shifting from the previous big seller in America - rye - to bourbon.

Bless you, Blount. I'm hooked on your freakin' blog now.

Melissa said...

Yippie! I'll have another please.

オテモヤン said...