...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Way Too Many Westlands + a Movie, Part 2

While pondering the lack of dreamlike atmosphere in one of Jean Rollin's weakest softcore films the other day, I kept thinking about Mario Bava, one of the creators and masters of the Giallo genre. Bava uses the feature film medium as a canvas for visual moods and muscular depictions of violence. Colors, lights, angles, and pacing are primary concerns, with story being secondary at best.

So with my second pair of Westlands poured, I queued up Blood and Black Lace (1964, Italy / West Germany), an early Bava exercise in suspense and death awash in a Technicolor bath (quite literally in one scene).

pic source

I've seen Blood and Black Lace at least four times, and never fail to be seduced right at the opening credits by the film's immediate unreal color. The lusty reds, the warm pinks, scattered emeralds, and ghostly purple gels. Massive sets dwarf posed bodies, especially the men, who rarely stand taller than the women's shoulders.

Ostensibly, it's a tale of model murders in the 1960s fashion industry, but the plot is just a mannequin upon which Bava hangs oversized imagery. Almost all of the aforementioned towering women are quite independent for the era, and usually wiser than the males, until they go wandering into the dark after their friends have been slaughtered. The over-the-top murders are troubling to watch as the female actors (not stunt doubles) are forcibly manhandled in front of the camera. One wonders if Bava is playing out his own small male demons until the ending arrives and it all seems pretty ridiculous. I already want to see it again.

Verdict - Recommended, but beware the misogyny!



This was not the best film to watch because I couldn't focus on the whiskey, but I worked it out. The struggle is real.


Casks 801 and 685 are both Five Malt babies aged in new American Oak. Time to Taste Off!

Westland 4.year old 2014, cask 801, Distillery exclusive

Distillery: Westland
Region: Seattle, Washington
Age: 54 Months
Mashbill: The five-malt mix
Yeast: Belgian Saison Brewer’s Yeast
Fermentation: 144 hours
Maturation: Cooper’s Reserve New American Oak
Release: June 2018
Outturn: 192 bottles
Alcohol by volume: 56.5%

NEAT

The nose is full of new make, pine sap, and snickerdoodles, with occasional bubblegum and saline notes. It shifts with time as chocolate, apricot, and talcum powder appear. Chocolate malt and mocha arrive first in the palate, with pencil shavings in the background, and the tang and bite of Thai chiles. It finishes with the chocolate malt and pencil shavings notes.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whiskey

There's plenty of chocolate in the nose, but also meaty and mushroomy notes. Now the palate is packed with malt and vanilla. It's sweeter, but also has a salty and tangy side. After about 20 minutes, it's all vanilla. It finishes with salt, pepper, and malt.

WORDS WORDS WORDS

This cask reads like a louder, though simpler, take on the distillery's standard American Oak expression. Its fewer angles may be due to few casks types, and I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing here. Something is missing, and not necessarily more oak. More maturation time? Less maturation time? Different spot in the warehouse? It's a solid drink overall, a bit hot, though better when neat, yet I can't see one desiring more than a couple of pours.

Rating - 80



Westland 2 year old 2013, cask 685 for Wingtip San Francisco

Thank you to Team Westland for sending me the specs on this cask so quickly!

Distillery: Westland
Region: Seattle, Washington
Age: 30 Months
Mashbill: The five-malt mix
Yeast: Belgian Saison Brewer’s Yeast
Fermentation: 144 hours
Maturation: Cooper’s Reserve New American Oak
Release: 2016
Alcohol by volume: 56.3%

NEAT

The nose is very shy at first, requiring time and a warmer glass. First there's saline and oranges. Then blue cheese and crayons. Hints of metal, lemon, and chocolate stay in the background. A straightforward palate: vanilla, lemon candy, malt, and pencil shavings. It finishes similarly, but without the lemon candy.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whiskey

Vanilla and clove on the nose. New make with a tart/bitter edge hits the palate first, followed by curious notes of balsamic vinegar and vanilla fudge. Again, it finishes like the palate.

WORDS WORDS WORDS

This is another simple cask that shares plenty of notes with #801. I liked the quiet complexity in the neat nose, but the quirky diluted palate better. It wears its youth nicely, reminding me of the new make's quality. The whiskey won't amaze, but you'll drink it, trust me.

Rating - 81

Mario Bava won the night. Next up, a pair of flamethrowers. Gotta find a movie to match...

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