Yoshimi and the Yamazaki

The Yamazaki 12 year old Single Malt Whisky
& 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by the Flaming Lips

Do you realize that everyone you know someday will  die?
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes
Let them know you  realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun don’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning ’round

So I’ve had a run on pairings the past few days but today was my birthday and I got this awesome bottle as part of the celebration so what better way to finish out the evening than to do a little work? Right? Well, it is a Monday night birthday, so we decided not to paint the town. Who am I kidding? This isn’t about work, this is all about the things I love, so on with the pairing!

Tonight, I’ve paired another Japanese whisky. This is the second in my sampling of fine whisky from the land of the rising sun. The Yamazaki is a single malt barley based whisky that I must say, even though it’s price is a bit less than the Hibiki I paired a few months back, it has a more buttery, peppered flavor that seems to be resonating with me much more than the Hibiki did. It’s sultry and it’s silky, much as the Hibiki was but with this rich and buttery under current; well it has me wishing I could fairly sample the two side by side. Since I can’t do that, I think if I had to pick between the two 12-year-old versions of these whiskys from memory, I’d probably have to go with the Yamazaki right now. Of course, it is the one that’s sitting in my glass in front of me at the moment, so I think that may be swaying the favor in its direction for sure.

This edition of Yoshimi and the Pink Robots has been issued on a beautiful red colored vinyl and sounds absolutely fantastic. It’s truly yet another one of those vinyls that I can’t imagine not having in my collection. I’m super thrilled every time I pull this album out and place it upon the platter. The Lips have a way of stretching the dynamic range of a composition to the point that you think your system is bound to start distorting and the speakers smoking at any moment. It truly rocks! The synth sounds on this album alone are worth the audiophile experience of playing it through a decent system on vinyl. Not to mention the freaking great songs that are on this release. Always one of my favorites from the Lips, Yoshimi certainly seems to coincide beautifully with the Yamazaki SIngle Malt.

All in all, it’s been a wonderful birthday and I have much to be thankful for. As I head into another year, I’m reminded of all of the experiences, joys and journeys this life has to offer us all. I truly hope you are all savoring it up like a whisky refined and aged for a decade or so to be sipped and enjoyed on a special occasion as each day is.

Many would say this blog is a fluff piece that has nothing to do with nothing but I suppose it’s all in how you look at the leisures of life. Are they fluff or are they inspiration? Are they necessary or are they distraction? For me personally, the pleasures such as wine, spirits, vinyl records, art, music and love are the things that inspire daily and remind us all of what we are here for. Believe me people, it isn’t politics and self-imposed borders that matter.

Matters of the heart get us through the day. It’s not bank accounts, jobs or family lineage that define us; it’s about how we choose to live our lives day by day and how we choose to treat each other. This is what defines us. It is what becomes us and it is what we reflect into the rest of the world about who we are, what we want and where we come from.

To me, it’s all just the stuff of life, which I truly hope we all have a chance to taste and enjoy, each and every day of our lives. The time is now because… do you realize…?

Until next time my friends! Cheers!

Bohemian Highway

A Bohemian Highway 2008 Merlot and the 1967 Cream Classic “Disraeli Gears”

Tonight’s pairing takes us for a ride, reminiscing down the Bohemian Highway with an album in true bohemian form. The second album released from the British supergroup featuring Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce & Ginger Bruce. They deliver what has always been one of my favorite vinyls. Featuring such pivotal tracks as Strange Brew, Tales of Brave Ulysses & Sunshine of Your Love; this album still stands up amongst the best of classic rock albums. In 2003 the album was ranked number 112 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.VH1 also named it their 87th greatest album of all time in 2001.

The Bohemian Highway Merlot is an inexpensive bright ruby-red merlot that truly pleases the palate. As with any wine it’s better to let it breathe in your glass for a period to allow the wine to truly aerate and present itself. By allowing wine to mix and mingle with air, the wine will typically warm up and the wine’s aromas will open up, the flavor profile will soften and mellow out a bit and the overall flavor characteristics should improve. Once the Bohemian Highway catches some air, the resulting wine is quite fine indeed.

Paired with classic Cream the two make for a Friday night combo that hits the spot. After a long week at work, many of us are ready to dream about a weekend journey down the Bohemian Highway to sites unseen and destinations unknown. Happy weekend everyone! Cheers!

 

Purple Haze

 Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced &
a 2010 Alex Elman Malbec from Mendoza Argentina

There are lots of Malbecs out there that I find a bit too strong. They have me reaching for the antacid before I can even finish a glass. This particular Malbec is one that is quite pleasing and so well rounded without the harshness or acidity of many Malbecs. Still, it’s a very hefty wine with a pleasingly smokey grape nose that once it opens up, truly just screams “yummy”! There’s a haze of licorice and currants that runs deep but the grape always rolls out on top in the end.

Perfect for gaucho style Argentinian grilled cuisine this is truly one of the better Malbecs in its price range that I’ve experienced lately and it is just that, an experience ;).

So without further ado, let’s get to the vinyl for the evening. Without a doubt it is one of the most quintessential rock albums of all time. Truly an album that changed the game, changed history and laid the groundwork for what rock and roll was to become. Along with the likes of Jim Marshall, James Marshall Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix) reinvented the nature of what is expected from the electric guitar as an instrument of rock and roll. He was a master of the blues and a purveyor of the infinite universe. The man had soul and he knew how to pour it into his music.

When Jimi came onto the scene he changed the game and influenced everyone else that was making the scene at the time. He became the scene.

This 180 gram reissue of Are You Experienced is a true treasure for any Jimi fan with a turntable. The sound quality is pristine and the track list of this album, well, as many of you well know, every song is a classic, start to finish. An encyclopedia of rock guitar.

As a guitar player myself, I’m a bit surprised that there hasn’t been a Hendrix pairing yet, there are surely many more albums by Jimi in my collection that are worthy of a pairing but it seemed appropriate to start at the beginning.

Released in 1967 this album was #2 on the charts next to Sgt Peppers. In March 2000 a poll from Guitar World Magazine named Are You Experienced the greatest album of the Millennium. Later, in 2006, a reader’s poll from that magazine placed the album at #3 on a list of the greatest guitar albums of all time. “The Jimi Hendrix Experience are a musical labyrinth—you either find your way into the solid wall of incredible sound, or you sit back and gasp at Hendrix’ guitar antics and showmanship, wondering what it’s all about,” a review from the article “Walker Surprises” by Keith Altham from the New Music Express Magazine on April 8, 1967.

All in all, this album and a tasty bottle from Alex Elman is truly a safe bet for stirring up the haze and getting the emotions flowing. Third Stone From the Sun, we should be so thankful for such awesome wine makers and master musicians that allow for such evenings as this.

Until next time! Cheers! Salud!
Enjoy!