Enjoy a guest review from our Senior Gin Correspondent, Ben Winston

Broker, as in stock broker, as in corporate crony, as in a man who values status, appearance, and reputation. The bottle stands tall and proud, reminding the sipping sinner he’s suckling the World’s Best Gin, so says a committee who might know such things. The broker is arrogant, but  often correct. He is a man of the suit, of the bowler hat, clean cut and cut throat. A broker is precise, always precise, and its namesake doesn’t disappoint in its precision. A precise 94 proof, no more no less. Strong, warm juniper in the mouth, easing into a soft burn of the throat. A pointed gin, a gin with purpose. A gentlemen’s gin. Steady yourself with sips, or let yourself loose with gulps, the tainted water tingles every nerve, gives your taste buds a welcome overhaul and invites you to consider a higher class of living. Broker’s Gin: an elite peek for the every man.

Check out Ben’s blog at analogbananalog.wordpress.comImage

13th Colony Southern Corn Whiskey

To answer your first question, the 13th Colony is Georgia.  For those who are either geographically illiterate, or from another country (I couldn’t expect you to know where our states are) Georgia is in the south.  This is a whiskey review.  So there you go, whiskey from Georgia, 13th Colony Southern Whiskey.  As these Georgians refer to it as corn whiskey, we are led to believe this is a relative of bourbon, whiskey that is primarily a corn mash bill—my skimming research indicates the difference comes in the aging process as this is aged in used barrels.  I think.  Anyways, what matters is what’s in the bottle.  Oh, and that fact that it’s an awesome bottle–it kind of looks like a pot still.  But right the liquor.  Them Georgia folk are bold, and they’ve bottled this stuff at a Georgia hot 95 proof that’ll have you doing the Atlanta Strut until you’re tripping over yourself.  Maybe I’m already drunk, or maybe I’ve had too much Old Grandad 100 in my day, but I’m sipping this stuff chilled neat and, praise the lord, I can taste it!  My throat isn’t burning like a plantation on Sherman’s march!  This is a very well balanced whiskey, and you get a ton of sweet buttery corn taste right out front—like it’s straight from the cob. There isn’t too much complexity to this whiskey, it’s soft, sweet and leaves a wonderful numb and greasy feeling on your tongue.  It’s clear this is a young whiskey, but it’s not immature in any way, it’s just a little lighter and sweet.  If you’re looking to taste the charred oak of bourbon, you’re in the wrong place.  I’m probably wrong, but this seems like it’s been in Chardonnay barrels or something.  In the end, this is an affordable, hand numbered, small batch whiskey that’s light on the palate and warm in the stomach—and I think it’s a fine beverage.  The bottle is also awesome.  When I finish this one I’ll have two for matching candle holders.005

This here is a great video of Mr. Sonny Boy Nelson (relation unlikely) playing Blind Lemon’s great ol’ Matchbox Blues. While this song has been often covered, and perhaps is even better known for the rock versions of Carl Perkins and the Beatles, this iteration reaches down into the bowels of the blues and gives em a pull. Nelson’s finger-style guitar is absolutely perfect.  With the rhythm of a slow moving train accented by a spare lead that skips and hops across his worn guitar, Nelson gives us the real old acoustic blues the way it seems no one plays it anymore. The guitar playing is perfectly matched by Nelson’s weary and soft vocals, which it is obvious need not reach far for the emotions the song demands. This is a song for those who have nothing, and need a new start. This is a song for soothing the soul, so it can keep moving forward.
“I’m sittin’ here wonderin’, will a matchbox hold my clothes?”
“I ain’t got no matches but I still got a long way to go.”

Additionally, I’d like to note that this video came from the excellent Alan Lomax Archive on youtube. To me Alan is like the Indiana Jones of music, and without his musicological work much of the music I love would likely have been lost, swept away like so much silt by the passage of time in the Mississippi Delta.

This is an old Mose Allison jazz number. No really, I’m not shitting you. As perhaps your discerning ear has told you, it is a wailing sonic explosion. The original Entwistle / Moon rhythm section of the Who is rumored to have caused the great 1964 Alaskan Earthquake, and that’s before they went heavy. The song’s lyrics are spare, “the old man, he’s got all the money, and a young man, ain’t got nuthin’ in the world these days.” This is nothing new for rock ‘n’ roll, and certainly not for the Who. If you’ll recall in “My Generation” they politely requested the older generation “f-f-fade away.” This song is bigger than its words; it’s a montage of war. Pete Townsend’s guitar is a firefight in the jungle, it is napalm cooking human flesh, and the occasional daisy cutter dropped in for good measure. Roger Daltrey’s vocals scream with the anger and desperation of a man watching the mud under him stain red. The young man has been worked by the old man long enough, he’s sick of being robbed, sick of fighting the old man’s war. He’s sick of having to earn his dues in blood, just so he can one day be an old man with all the money so he can send young men off to shred each other to bits like scared pit bulls in a hole. To my friends in the service, I respect your willingness to sacrifice–I just hope you don’t have to make the ultimate sacrifice because those old men on the hill say so. So “happy” Memorial Day to all the young men, who ain’t got nuthin’, including their lives, because some rich old man told them that the young men from (insert country here) hate their freedoms. To the honored dead. Just remember, freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.

To the One Job I Ever Quit

“Fuck sleep.”
I said, as I poured another dram.
At 7 am I’ll roll onto my feet,
stumbling for awareness
hands feeling for my glasses
that won’t clear the sting–
of morning.
Tomorrow, I sip,
I am professional antagonist.
I harass, annoy, even frighten.
No, I am not a cop,
I am a marketer.
And I hate me too.

Farewell, midnight’s morals.
Farewell, dignity.
I am a broken man,
And work is all I need.

This is a rare track from one of the monsters of the blues. Howlin’ Wolf was a beast of a man with a voice like a dragon whose years of breathing fire had left his throat a bit parched. This video is strange for several reasons, one being the use of saxophone, another being the candid image of Wolf wearing glasses and sliding something fierce. This is classic number from a classic bluesman. Enjoy your Saturday, friends.

Review: Tuaca

Tuaca.  Yes, that is an I-talian name.  It’s liqueur, and that is rich person speak for flavored booze. According to ancient mythology and Wikipedia, some crazy 15th century guy under the influence of the art patrons the Medici’s took some brandy, added other stuff to make it sweet vanilla citrusy brandy, and boom, Tuaca.  The Medici’s probably needed a muse for their other starving artistic wards.  Let’s get to this fancy stuff.  In the traditional manner of tasting a fine liqueur I stick my nose deep in the stuff, to get a sweet burning up my nostrils not unlike a floral honey flavored nail polish remover.  Apparently I like that, because I dive right in.  This certainly is a fancy drink my friends, and yes, vanilla is all up in there.  But it’s not too heavy, and this is where things get good—the brandy is still a dominant flavor.  If my memory serves me well, which it sometimes does, Bushmills 10 year (which is whiskey, not some flavored fancy drink) actually has a more dominant vanilla presence.  There’s a lot swirling around in this little port glass.  There’s a touch of spice, then maybe some orange peel, a little something like nutmeg, and …garlic?  Damn, I contaminated the test with garlic bread.  Better double up to clear the palate.  What I like about Tuaca, is that it could pass for being regular liquor.  I’m drinking it neat, slightly chilled.  Usually with liqueurs, I need ice (melting) to cut the syrupy sweetness.  Not Tuaca. It’s better neat.  But enough rambling. Do I like Tuaca? Yes. I think it’s a liqueur for folks who have the cajones to drink straight liquor, and need something that sounds less alcoholic to drink before dinner.  Tuaca: It’s not brandy, it’s an “aperitif.”Image

Robert Allen Zimmerman–later resurrected as Bob Dylan in the form a rambling bard–was born on this day in 1941. The world was at war, while the sleeping giant continued a slumber to which it would receive a rude awakening. Fast forward to 1961 and you’ll see this re-branded youngster sleeping on couches, chain-smoking and half starving–driven to the brink by solitary obsession on unrelenting passion. Bowie called his “a voice like sand and glue,” one which his critics have always hated, and one which his faithful has always recognized as the voice of unremitting truth. He has been labeled a folk musician, the father of folk-rock,and even Judas. He has defied nearly all classifications. The one classification he can’t outrun is “genius.” Bob once said, “All I can do is be me, whoever that is,” and if this is all we learn from Bob, then we may be wise men. So happy birthday to you, Bob, whoever you are, whatever you are. You are a genius, a poet, an icon.

Junior Kimbrough’s brand of the blues may be the sexiest music to ever rock out of a midnight juke shack. His repetitive groove oozes the greasy sweat of a hard days work. These are songs for when Marvin Gaye doesn’t capture the mood. The driving bass and drums create the rhythm of a filthy carnal aural aphrodisiac. Then there’s his voice, which groans the words “I love you” with a smoky lust. Some may be familiar with Junior’s music through The Black Keys, who unabashedly copped his sound on their early records and even created the excellent tribute album “Chulahoma.” If you dig this video Junior’s records for Fat Possum records certainly don’t disappoint. Don’t hesitate, just turn the lights down low, and put on some Junior Kimbrough.