Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Iron Man (2008)

A number of you have asked me why I didn't choose Iron Man (2008) as the movie to use for my last SiscoVanilla at the Movies installment commemorating the San Diego Comic Con which ended last weekend. Well to be honest, doing so would be easy. How so?

The movie opens up with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) sitting in a speeding humvee traveling through Afghanistan. He is holding a glass of scotch before we even get to see his face. Though to be honest, who else would be such a player. And this is in the first minutes of the movie. LOL. Focusing on this movie first would be a bit of a gimmie. Or so I thought.

As a starting point, I decided to focus on three gritty comic book based movies: Constantine (2005) here on this blog and Watchmen (2009) and V for Vendetta (2005) on my Tumblr page SiscoVanilla at the Movies. Feel free to check out what I thought of the last two movies on Tumblr. Now I'm ready to look at Iron Man.

We all know by now that Tony Stark is a playboy millionaire who is the face of Stark International. By the end of the movie Tony goes through a change of heart (literally and figuratively). At first we see him as an arms manufacturer which is why he's in Afghanistan to start the movie. The movie does a flashback to right before the opening scene where we see why he is in Afghanistan.

Stark is in Afghanistan testing a series of Stark International missiles that he's trying to get the military to purchase. After what he believes is a successful showing, he opens up another metal case. This one carries all of Stark's essentials...for having a celebratory cocktail. It is an impressive case to say the least. The glasses are cold, enough ice is found even in this hot environment and I notice that Stark has a couple of interesting spirits to choose from.

I recognize a bottle of both Johnnie Walker Blue Label and Johnnie Walker Black Label and a bottle of Jose Cuervo Tequila. Jose Cuervo Tequila????

Ok, let me stop here for a moment to let my booze snob out. There is so much suspension of disbelief that I can have before even I question why the hell a drinker of Tony Stark's caliber has a bottle of Jose Cuervo Tequila sandwiched in between Johnnie Walker Blue and Johnnie Walker Black. I can see him having a bottle of Clase Azul, Don Julio, Herradura, Espolon and I can go on and on without even mentioning the truly high end tequilas. There is no way at this point in time Tony Stark drinks that rotgut (maybe he'll drink that if they ever do the Demon in a Bottle storyline). But I digress. Getting off my soapbox.

There is a bottle that I don't recognize and I decided that I wanted to look some more into.

I notice that the label says Old Malt Cask and has a 17-year designation with the vintage year being 1987. I can make out that it says LaPhroig Distillery. Upon further inspection online, I find out that this particular bottle is the LaPhroaig 1987 Old Malt Cask single malt scotch whisky. This spirit was distilled in 1987 and bottled in 2005 by Douglas Laing & Co. LTD. I wasn't able to find anything specific about this whisky on both the LaPhroiag and Douglas Laing websites. So I decided to find other views on this whisky.

The World Beverage 400 has some information on where the LaPhroaig 1987 Old Malt Cask is from and how it is bottled. In terms of where it comes from:
The award winning family of Laphroaig Whiskies ranges from the rich pungent, earthy aroma of the blue peat smoke to the sweet nuttiness of the barley and the delicate, heathery perfume of Islay's streams. Like the islanders it may seem a little aloof at first, but make the effort, broach acquaintance and we can guarantee you'll have a warm and genuine friend for life.
In terms of its bottling:
This now rare single malt is distilled in 1987 and bottled in 2005 by Douglas Laing. 

The Glasgow-based Douglas Laing & Co is an independent bottler and blender. The Old Malt Cask is an intriguing range that emerged in 1998 with a caveat that the single cask bottling would only offer limited numbers to the connoisseur or anyone else with good taste for that matter. Getting your hands on a bottle from their coveted Old Malt Cask range, for example, can prove a pleasant adventure. The OLD MALT CASK offerings are not chill filtered, leaving in each bottle all the oils, fats and enzymes that combine to give the quality of the nose, palate, mouth-feel and finish.
They list the bottle to have a price point of $109.00

The website for Whisky Magazine has a tasting review for the LaPhroaig 1987 Old Malt Cask from Whisky Magazine Issue 44. Here is some basic information about this bottling. It is a 17-year old blend that was distilled in 1987 and has an ABV of 50% which is a potent 100 proof here in the United States. Two reviewers state the following about this bottling:
Michael Jackson rates it an 85
Nose: Very dry smoky phenols.
Palate: Lightly oily. Firm. Then exploding with dry, peppery flavours.
Finish: Warming, digestif.
Comment: Confident. Slightly austere.

Marcin Miller rates it a 70
Nose: Attractive and harmonious. Lavender. More bed linen when reduced. Creamy.
Palate: Peanuts (with skin on), soft mocha and chocolate. Pistachio nuts.
Finish: Pistachio ice cream. Good length.
Comment: Good complexity, weight and mouthfeel but lacking balance.
The Royal Whisky Mile website also has a listing and a review for the LaPhroiag 1987 Old Malt Cask. Here is how they describe it:
Nose: Burnt rubber, pencil erasers, mint choc chip ice cream or toothpaste, some sweet elastoplast character. With time some buttery brown sugar.

Palate: Syrupy to start, then medicinal and with a suplhury woody-dry and ropey finish

Overall: Interesting but you must like your whiskies dry!
Tasted blind by RMW staff, 2005
One last review comes from the Whisky Fun website that did a review on the LaPhroaig 1987 Old Malt Cask on December 26, 2004. Here is how they describe it:
Laphroaig 17 yo 1987/2004 (50%, DL OMC, cask # DL 1217, 256 bottles, 6 month rum finish). Two stars.

Colour: white wine.

Nose: wow, how fresh, how floral at first nosing. Alas, some grassy notes of white rum and even tequila are soon to emerge. Freshly mown lawn? Crushed leaves? Green tea? Even vodka… I feel it’s been that ‘muted’, that it doesn’t really smell scotch whisky anymore… It’s nice, but it’s a little weird. I’m wondering what’s the story behind this particular cask and why they’ve finished it like that.

Mouth: again, we have quite a strange mixture here. Some peat and smoke, sure, but also some tequila, over infused tea, cod-liver oil… Bitter orange, marzipan, bitter almonds, walnut skin… Well, I understand variety is good, and something different from time to time is great, but this one is off the limits for me. The finish is rather long, on liquorice, turpentine and orange zest. 70 points.
Anyone out there ever give this scotch whisky a taste? If so, what did you think. Let me know. Enquiring minds want to know.

I leave you with Tony Stark, victory whisky in hand approaching the humvee that would take him on his path to becoming Iron Man. To Peace!!!

Until Then Happy Drinking,