Morning with the new bear:

Noon with the new bear:


Dinner with the new bear:


Bedtime with the new bear:


It doesn’t stop. The kid is on all the time. Where he keeps his stash I hate to think, but he is electric, nonstop a-go-go. We’re ignoring his “Mr Bean” nametag and calling him “Speedy.” He is a total freak.

Not even a bottle of MONTES CLASSIC SERIES CABERNET SAUVIGNON (2011) slowed Speedy down. You’d think, at 14% alcohol, that it might have subdued him slightly, but no.

montes-classic-series-cabernet-sauvignon-colchagua-valley-chile-10122464The wine turned out to be another example of a wine that really should be decanted. Moreover, our bottle was over 25°C when we uncorked it, which unfairly rendered our first sips flabby and unappealing. So we let it breathe and put it in the fridge for an hour. If this bothered Speedy he didn’t let on; he was arcing like a Tesla coil; who knows what electric things he’d smuggled over from the UK in his ass—obviously Nana and Papa had forgotten to scoop them out before presenting him to my mum.

An hour is a really long time to wait, especially without a television show to love, and so we decided to join another party in progress and start watching Mad Men, Season 1, Episode 1. My parents and I were immediately hooked; Mad Men is an alcohol fest, and only Scary felt angered by our TV choice. He hated Mad Men; it did not feature one space ship or pirate or cop or time traveler or drug addict or convict. Scary spent most of the hour farting and trying to provoke Speedy.

montes-classic-series-cabernetBy Episode 2 the wine was ready and it had settled down nicely. MONTES is from Chile’s Colchagua Valley, oaked in American barrels and wafting a chorus of interesting aromas ranging from peppercorn to mint to plum. On the palate it is dry if not parching with oak predominating and the tannins noticeably firm. The finish is boozy and warm, echoing strong oak and some of the stand-out tasting notes, coffee among them. If anything, MONTES’s flavor profile seems a bit crowded—intriguing but somewhat chaotic. Before we cooled the wine to a more drinkable 18°C, these notes seemed offputtingly discordant, but at the lower temperature they played together quite acceptably, especially as the wine continued to open up. MONTES might even be better on the second day, however slim the chance of any wine making it to a second day at LBHQ.

The bottle notes also suggest MONTES as a candidate for mid-term cellaring (another slim chance at LBHQ where the booze dollars are spoken for in the here and now, thank you very much). But it would be intriguing to see what another year or two would do for MONTES.

As for Speedy, who knows what a year or two at LBHQ will do. I expect him to still look like this:


But at least we might get used to him by then.


Today’s Reason to Drink: that particular feeling you get when you’ve just binge-viewed a TV series in its entirety. It’s over, and you’re abject. That feeling of Now what will I love???

No, the series in question is not Arrested Development. Truth be told, we’ve been limping through AD2013 without much investment. The series I’ll miss is the 2006-08 UK series Life on Mars.

life on marsWe were late to the party with Life on Mars, but that’s what happens when you kibosh your satellite subscription and go with Netflix Canada. We weren’t even going to watch Life on Mars, but then my friend Scarybear wanted to because he thought it would be about the actual planet Mars; he hoped to see some cool aliens or spaceships. Scary was a little put out to find that Life on Mars was a cop show set in the Earth city of Manchester, but he quickly got sucked into it along with the rest of us bears.

In Life on Mars police detective Sam Tyler gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973. “Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time?” he asks. “Whatever’s happened, it’s like I’ve landed on a different planet. Maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get home…” Even Scarybear grudgingly admits that 1973 does seem Mars-like compared to 2006. You’ve got the fashion, the non-stop drinking and smoking, the sex, the violence. We loved Life on Mars, but it was only two seasons long, and we’re sad enough it’s over that we have to get drunk.

Luckily we have new booze at LBHQ. On their way home from Ireland my Nana and Papa went through the duty-free and got me some GREEN SPOT SINGLE POT STILL IRISH WHISKEY. Being sad because I’d run out of Life on Mars episodes, I really needed this sort of confirmation that Nana and Papa love me. Of all the crazy-generous gifts—three outfits apiece for the girls plus chocolate, a T-shirt and hat for Dad, and this

More on this later.

More on this later

for Mum—GREEN SPOT was the very best gift of all.

Green Spot IW

Blatant favoritism, right? I mean, I knew they loved me, but wow. They obviously love me best. I’ll have to be careful not to let the kids know.

GREEN SPOT has been described by whiskey writer James Murray as “unquestionably one of the world’s great whiskeys.”  A blend of eight- and nine-year-old single pot still whiskeys, a quarter matured in sherry, then bourbon, then Malaga wine casks, GREEN SPOT is a venerable whiskey that came into existence around 1920. Golden-amber and highly aromatic, GREEN SPOT wafts stone fruit, citrus peel and vanilla; it really doesn’t set you up to expect its substantial, creamy character or its abundance of toffee and caramel on the palate. GREEN SPOT is big and full-bodied, generously layered and nuanced, and caressingly smooth. The finish is warm and memorable.

We mostly enjoy Islay whiskies at LBHQ, so GREEN SPOT was an inordinate treat. While I love a good peaty Scotch whisky, the peat is often so dominant that the more playful subtleties get beat up like a suspect on Life on Mars. GREEN SPOT offers a lighter flavor profile without sacrificing any weight, so you get a luxurious sipper that fully satisfies the palate.

Should we binge-drink GREEN SPOT the way we binge-watched Life on Mars? I’m always in favor of binge-drinking any product that enters LBHQ, my fellow inebriates, but GREEN SPOT is so sublime that I have to say no: Do not binge-drink GREEN SPOT. You wouldn’t want to be half in the bag and miss out on its delectable attributes. And let’s face it, even a booze as wonderful as GREEN SPOT won’t taste as good coming up as it did going down.

As for this guy….


I thought he was just jet-lagged but he continues to look this way. Long after Scary and I were asleep he continued like this; he practically had electric sparks shooting out of him. We figure he’s a speed freak.