...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Way Too Many Westlands + a Movie, Part 4


Death Laid An Egg (1968, Italy/France)

And Ewa Aulin sat on the potty?

With a sexy international cast to give the film some heft, and a title that answers why the chicken crossed the road, Death Laid an Egg offers up some promising themes and ideas that are trampled by its own filmmaking. Oh, but the chickens. There are so many chickens.

Egg begins with a dizzying, half-intriguing, half-nauseating burst of cinema and sounds that suggest we're in for an experimental film. While that visual style never again resurfaces, the soundtrack remains filled with dissonant avant-barf irritations throughout. Ultimately, the direction is more of a mystery than the story itself.

Jean-Louis Trintignant's poker face in The Conformist worked wonders as it masked the character's struggle with fascism and sexuality, but in Egg it's a heavy-handed choice that leaves one wondering whether the actor is suspicious of the director, or the character is a sociopath. The latter can't be guaranteed, but with the layered auditory cacophony, and purposely misleading editing, the film screams, "This guy is nuttier than a Panettone."

You see, dear reader, Marco (JLT) and his wife, Anna (Gina Lollobrigida), are automating their chicken business, but there may be something screwy afoot, and maybe Marco has a habit of murdering sex workers, but not murdering the company's secretary, a Swedish teenager (Ewa Aulin) who really just serves as a sidepiece (for both spouses?). Then some corporate intrigue unwinds, chickens eat a lot of feed, women's bellybuttons see a lot of sunshine, and the police get involved. There's death and an ending.

While proud in its shaming of unchecked greed, Egg only briefly tosses a bone to the plight of the worker, so it never goes full commie, just Marx-ish. Its pseudo-intellectual dialogue gets unintentionally funny, but its chickens, oh its chickens, thousands of chickens, are a delight. The anxious wiggling, strutting, and clucking birds underscore horrifying capitalism better than the characters (and filmmakers) do. They are also deeply funny, until they're not.

When the film concludes, the viewer may be most fascinated by the magical feed machine that somehow grinds up bodies (both human and canine) without anyone noticing. Perhaps that machine is a symbol of the true inhumanity of consumerism. Or it's just another plot hole, in a story so packed with gaps that it nearly gets swallowed up in its own vacuum.

I'd watch it again on mute.

Verdict - Watch it for the chickens, not the people

Oh yeah, there were a pair of whiskies too:

These two Westlands were paired together because they were most likely the sugariest of my dozen samples. But were they really sweeties???

Westland 5 year old 2012, cask 4274

Distillery: Westland
Region: Seattle, Washington
Age: 70 Months
Mashbill: The five-malt mix
Yeast: Belgian Saison Brewer’s Yeast
Fermentation: 144 hours
Maturation: New American Oak for 60 months, then an Amaretto cask for 10 months
Release: March 2018
Outturn: 155 bottles
Alcohol by volume: 49.5%


It's like single malt candy on the nose. Honeyed malt, white chocolate, and baked apples arrive first, followed by french vanilla ice cream, cinnamon, cloves, and a dash of rum. The palate is sweet, simple, and hotter than expected. It's just sugary apples, lemon candy, vanilla, and caramel. It finishes with soooooo much caramel, with a little bit of sour apple candy somewhere in there.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or ½ tsp of water per 30mL whiskey

The nose retracts to just three notes: honey, brown sugar, and 100% rye (think Alberta distillery). Wash down white chocolate macadamia nut cookies with some apple cider vinegar, and you have both the palate and finish.


Had I known about the amaretto cask, I wouldn't have gone in on the but bottle split, but this was not as cloying as expected, and if not for the caramel flood, the whiskey would kinda work when neat. Not a bad experiment and (SPOILER ALERT) I liked it better than its sparring partner.

Rating - 80 (neat only)

Westland 3 year old 2015, cask 2479 for K&L

Distillery: Westland
Region: Seattle, Washington
Age: 38 Months
Mashbill: Washington Select Pale Malt
Yeast: Belgian Saison Brewer’s Yeast
Fermentation: 144 hours
Maturation: Pedro Ximénez Hogshead
Release: November 2018
Outturn: 292 bottles
Alcohol by volume: 59.0%


Wow, this was a dirty hoggie. The sulfuric nose is packed with earth, pepper, and stinky feet. It's very close to the line between gunpowder and rotten eggs. With more than 30 minutes of air, the nose becomes very raisiny, with brown sugar in the background. Sulfuric, savory, and ureic, the palate takes a long time to find its prunes. It finishes with umami, pepper, and prunes.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or 1¾ tsp of water per 30mL whiskey

The raisins move forward in the nose, with walnuts and honey peeking out. But still, the gunpowder and stinky feet won't leave. The palate also opens up a little with more sugar and citrus. It finishes tangy and jammy and umami.


I don't mind a dusting of sulfur in my drink, and I often adore imperfect sherry casks, but this particular whiskey proves difficult, leaving me with a furry-feeling tongue and a gunpowder aftertaste. Dilution saves it a bit, though it's still a palate-wrecker.

Rating - 72 (diluted only)

I guess the chickens win today. At least there are no more sherry casks among the final four Westlands.