Eau de Musc—leave it to beaver

My fellow inebriates,

If you think you’re seeing a lot of “aspirational” reviews from yours truly these days, you’re not wrong. My parents aren’t visiting our local booze shop as often as I’d like, so instead of drinking, I spend my time drooling over hooch on the Internet.

Except today.

You see, I came across HOUSE OF TAMWORTH EAU DE MUSC whiskey from Tamworth Distilling.

Eau de Musc Tamworth Distilling

Tamworth Distilling

Yeah, yeah, it looks lovely. But guess where the key tasting note comes from?

Guess…

Okay, I’ll tell you. It comes from a beaver’s ass crack.

It seems beavers secrete a substance called castoreum from a sac near the base of the tail. The flavourant supposedly tastes a bit like vanilla and berries, and its use dates back to old times. (How anybody got the idea in the first place … you really gotta wonder.)

As you might guess, this isn’t a voluntary donation on the part of the beavers. Somebody traps ’em, eats ’em, and sends the anal secretions to Tamworth Distilling to put in EAU DE MUSC.

beaver-1448390_960_720

Yeah buddy, I’d be scared as shit too.

Beavers remind me a bit of gerbils (which terrify me, but are part of our family). So I can’t get behind EAU DE MUSC even if butt-cavity-flavoured whiskey tastes like ambrosia from the gods. And luckily for all of us at LBHQ, it’s not on the table anyway. You have to go to New Hampshire (live free or die) to get this stuff.

Still, I’m curious. So if you’ve tried this whiskey, or even if you’ve just sniffed a beaver’s bunghole, drop me a line in the comments and I’ll add it to my compendium of hypothetical (if not aspirational) tasting notes.

THE GARDEN PATH SHIRAZ CABERNET SAUVIGNON (2006)—Good without animals

My Fellow Inebriates,

Transman reminded me today that the Canada geese are back. You can tell by all the green goose poo on the sidewalks along 64 Avenue and 201 Street, one of our habitual routes around Langley. The geese congregate by the liquor store, honking and shitting their assurance that spring is here.

Where the goose poo is in our hood

I had wild animals on the brain because of yesterday’s post about roadkill cuisine. It was a post that prompted a follower or two to discontinue reading Liquorstore Bear, perhaps because it espoused a roadkill diet (“freeganism”), perhaps because of a cynical link to Pascal’s wager, or maybe because somebody couldn’t handle the truth about the would-be payload on Noah’s Ark (We’re taking on water, Japheth! Jettison the dinos!).

I’m as much of a stats whore as anybody else with a WordPress blog, so I did wonder who’d left me (I couldn’t figure it out), and what the exact proverbial straw had been for them. They’d stayed with me through bestiality, animal porn, unorthodox comments on pregnant drinking, plus all kinds of misguided astrological advice. I pictured the reader muttering, “I just wanted to know what wine goes with chicken, damn it.”

As you know, I’m not a food guy, but I still appreciate the question. Chicken cordon bleu? Chardonnay. Pad Thai? Sauvignon blanc. Prime rib? Shiraz or cab. Wine/food pairing notions have achieved pretty good societal penetration; everybody’s got a loose idea of what goes with what. But roadkill poses a challenge. And if you’re still with me, I hope it’s because you won’t mind this handy guide:

Meat

Wine

Badger

Merlot

Beaver

Zinfandel

Frog

Pinot Blanc

Groundhog

Pinot Noir

Kangaroo

Shiraz

Cat

Gewurztraminer

Badger meat
huntergathercook.typepad.com

Social convention, and nothing but, separates such animals from the ones you find in Save-On Foods. That and the fact that they’re gamey, riddled with ticks and often carrying TB. But don’t let that stop you—just cook ‘em really well.

Of course you know, my fellow inebriates, all this comes with lashings of hypocrisy. I don’t eat meat myself, and I feel anxious on behalf of my fellow animals on the lower part of the food chain. (I couldn’t very well recommend a wine pairing with bear, for example.) The geese worry me especially with their frantic honking and sudden movements. What’s to prevent anyone from pulling over the car on 201 Street, putting on the emergency lights for a minute, and hacking a goose’s head off with a machete?

Such a person would need only make a 180° turn to find the liquor store. They could stow the spurting goose in the trunk and shop for a complementary wine—Riesling, Gewurztraminer, or even Barolo.

This isn’t something I picture either of my parents doing. They are totally boring people. But they do frequent that liquor store, where there is a very good consultant, who recommended THE GARDEN PATH SHIRAZ CABERNET SAUVIGNON (2006). Made with fruit from Australia’s well regarded Langhorne Creek vineyard, this oak-aged blend exudes ripe currant, berries, and floral notes—leggy and purple in the glass. Medium- to full-bodied, THE GARDEN PATH is lush on the palate, fruit-forward but delicately balanced: a lovely, controlled fruit symphony that rewards the drinker with a satisfying finish.

Such a wine deserves to be enjoyed for its own merits, and THE GARDEN PATH offers such an intriguing array of taste harmonies that the best thing to do would be to decant it, then focus on every sip. But if, just before you unscrewed the bottle, the scent of barbecued squirrel happened to waft from your neighbor’s yard, you might want to put the bottle under your arm and invite yourself to dinner. (You might.)