Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Boondock Saints (1999)

Poster by Chadtrutt
The Boondock Saints (1999) is one of the most entertaining movies that I have ever seen. I only watched this movie a few months ago for the first time and have since watched it a number of times. Its one of those movies that are a "go-to" flick when I'm bored and need a few laughs. In addition, since I am wearing my SiscoVanilla at the movies rose colored booze filled glasses, it gives me another opportunity to go back and re-watch the movie for the sake of "research".

The movie starts on St. Patrick's Day in Boston (South Boston?). Now all of us who work in bars know what happens on St. Patrick's Day: DRINKING. So the plot is set in a local bar called McGinty's where the protagonists, fraternal twins Connor MacManus (Sean Patrick Flaherty), Murphy MacManus (Norman Reedus) are joined by their buddy Rocco (David Della Rocco) and other bar patrons who are putting back pints of Guinness and shots in celebration of the life and efforts of Irish patron saint Pádraig aka St. Patrick. The movie jumps back and forth in time to move the story along and after we're introduced to Federal Agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe), we have more of the story fleshed out to us with a meeting between Smecker and the MacManus brothers, It is at this point that we find out what happens in the bar after closing hours.

The bar is empty with the exception of the MacManus brothers, Rocco and a few other friends sitting at the bar with the Tourette syndrome suffering bartender Doc (Gerard Parks).

Doc lets them know that he has to close the bar since the Russian mob has been buying up all the buildings in the area including the one where the bar is located.

Almost on cue, a trio of Russian mobsters come in led by Ivan Checkov (Scott Griffith). Checkov tells everyone to leave. After some back and forth banter, the MacManus brothers come to the conclusion that they need to do something about Checkov and his backup. They proceed to do a shot together and then the donnybrook starts.

Now, based on assumptions and personal experience with St. Patrick's Day here in New York City, I would have thought that the brothers were shooting an Irish Whisky of sorts. Possibly a Jameson or a Powers. As I did with my post on The American (2010), I decided to go back to the source material for more information. I found the script to the movie on the Daily Scripts website. After going through the script, I found the part that describes the fight and found something very interesting:
Connor: Calm down, Doc. I'm sure they're reasonable fellows.

He and Murphy each grab a Guinness and a shot of Hennessey and they approach the Russians with the peace offering.
After the peace offering is rejected by Checkov and it seems that the proverbial line was crossed:
They clink the glasses together, throw back the Hennessey, ball up the thick glasses in their fists, drop to one knee and both deliver a devastating blow to each of Checkov's quads. Murphy on the left, Connor on the right. He's down for the count, writhing on the floor.
Now some of you might be thinking, why would these good old Irish boys be drinking Cognac on St. Paddy's Day instead of some Irish Whisky. Allow me to elaborate on that. Back in 2012 in a post entitled Threesome at Isla Verde Cafe, I wrote the following paragraph about Hennessy cognac:
I would hope that you would know what Hennessy is, aside from a popular girl's name here in the Bronx (I kid you not), one of the leading Cognac brands in the world and has been in existence since 1765 when Irishman Richard Hennessy built the first Hennessy distillery. See that is interesting, an Irishman created Hennessy. Gotta love the backstory.
This is the right time to elaborate on the backstory. According to the Hennessy family name page on the Irelandeye.com page:
Richard Hennessy (1720-1800)
Hennessy brandy was first distilled by Richard Hennessy (1720-1800), who was born in Ballymacmoy House near Mallow in north Co. Cork. He went to France in 1740 and became an officer in Dillon's Irish Regiment in the French Army. In 1765, he went to the Charente departement and set up the distillery that produces Hennessy brandy. The distillery continues to this day, as does the Hennessy line in the company. The Hennessy house at Killavullen near Mallow, overlooking the River Blackwater, can still be seen today.
In addition, history page on the Hennessy webpage states that by 1794 Hennessy was shipping his cognac to the recently independent American colonies plus the following countries: 1818 Russia, 1819 India, 1855 Australia, 1859 China, 1867 Malaysia, 1892 South Africa, 1925 Czech Republic.

Based on the fact that Hennessy was created by an Irish officer in the French army, it really isn't that surprising that the MacManus brothers would be shooting and using Hennessy to burn the arse of Checkov while tied to the bar on St. Patrick's Day.

The label is different but it looks like a Hennessy bottle
At a later part in the movie, the MacManus brothers and Rocco are planning their future in crime fighting, when I notice that Connor is swiging from a bottle. I was able to get a screen capture which shows that the product is Wiser's De Luxe.

I have never heard of any spirit known as Wiser's De Luxe so off I went to research it on the information superhighway. What I discovered was that Wiser's De Luxe is a Canadian Whisky distilled by a man who went by the name of John Phillip Wiser aka J.P. Wiser. According to the Wiser's Canadian Whisky's website:
John Philip Wiser, or J.P. as he was fondly known, was the son of a Dutch farmer from New York State. Like his father, J.P. was a man of integrity, strong values and an exceptional work ethic.

In the late 1800s, Wiser set out in eastern Ontario at a deliberate and steady pace to build a company that was known for its quality, craftsmanship and premium products...Wiser's ambition for his distillery was simple - to produce the highest quality whisky "that pleases the nose, tongue, and eye".

In the hands of J.P. Wiser, this process was one that could not be sacrificed by rushing. According to J.P. Wiser, "Quality is something you just can't rush. Horses should hurry, but whisky must take its time."

Using only superior ingredients, he aged his whisky to distinction in premium white oak barrels. Over the years the tradition has been passed down, and even today, Wiser's whisky is the same whisky envisioned and developed by J.P. Wiser himself. It is still handmade using traditional methods to ensure that the final product still lives up to the standards set out by J.P. Wiser almost 150 years ago.
In terms of the Wiser's De Luxe whisky, the website describes it as such:
This full-flavoured Canadian whisky offers a rich aroma with a body that is complex and perfectly balanced. It is an exceptional blend of oak, toasted grains and rich toffee, with a finish that is smooth and enduring.

COLOUR: Rich amber
NOSE: Full, rich fragrance of dried fruits, caramel and vanilla. Well balanced mature oak
BODY: Full and round
PALATE: An exceptional blend of oak, toasted grains and rich toffee
FINISH: Full, warm and enduring, smooth finish
It would seems to me that you can only get this product in Canada since there was no option for the United States in the age verification process on the website. In order to get an opinion on Wiser's De Luxe, I decided to call on the Whisky Lassie for some information. I reached out to her on Twitter (@whiskylassie) asked what she thought about Wiser's De Luxe. Here is what she said:
It's marketed as "premium" but IMO, it falls a bit short of that.. Same price as AP dark horse (Alberta Premium), not same quality. I prefer small batch if comparing prices. they changed it a few years ago, now a NAS (No age statement), not as good as it used to be. At one point I recall it was a 10 yr old.
To further illustrate the point of it being a 10-year old whisky. I've found some images like this one here that has the number 10 on the label (on the left) to illustrate it being a 10-year old whisky. While the picture of the bottle on the website (on the right) has no such designation.

I guess I'll have to keep searching to resolve this mystery. Well, that's all for now for SiscoVanilla at the Movies. I have a bunch of movies in my queue that I will be writing about. Again, if you have any recommendations on what I should watch, feel free to drop me a line Siscovanilla@gmail.com, to my Twitter @SiscoVanilla, my Google+ at SiscoVaniila and at my Facebook Page SiscoVanilla

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla