Wednesday, February 4, 2009

(Fake) Spirits Review

Ansia Mescal comes from Guadalajara, where the Sanbenito family has been distilling it for 13 generations (or since 1972l). The first thing I noticed about Ansia was the heft of its bottle. The 750 ml bowling pin-shaped vessel was fully 6 pounds dry when I placed it on the scale this morning. Throughout the previous evening, I discovered that it is virtually indestructible. This feature, coupled with the handy wrist-lanyard attached at the bottle mouth, made the bottle an invaluable tool for dealing with the ill-effects of drinking a bottle of mescal (i.e. by allowing you to drink water, fend off neon wolves, bludgeon apart a bedroom door that may or may not be your own, et cetera).
Ansia's taste is akin to pueblo ash and salty tears. Straight, it has a nose capable of stunning a man, or stunning a room full of men (angry men) when regurgitated. Unlike most mescals, the maguey worm is not dead at the time of bottling. I discovered this soon after finishing the bottle. Presumably, this had something to do with the night's subsequent events (real or imagined), although the reader is encouraged to discover for himself just how far the fabric of reality will stretch before snapping back violently into a strange, horrible new morning.

Rottersand Beer is brewed in Bremen, and is unique for being the only beer exported to America in the notorious "Panzerfass" 3 L can. The taste is industrially advanced, with nuances of iron, charcoal and diesel. Originally developed by a Romanian firm to stretch dwindling oil supplies at the end of WWII, Rottersand invariably became the most popular beverage of the Third Rich's pit crews, causing suicidal breakdowns in even the sturdiest of motors.

Edgar Allen Porto is bottled somewhere between Baltimore and Philadelphia according to the sticker. It comes in a re-purposed half-gallon plastic milk container, and can be purchased from select few distributors (namely Crowman Zeke down by the tracks). When purchasing EAP, it is important to be either armed, a bit mad, or a bit suicidal.
The taste is violent, like grape juice mixed with some very bitter stimulants/opiates, and the "trick" (according to the seller) is to get it all down without stopping. I held it down for about six seconds, but the derelicts accompanying me were able to stomach an entire half gallon at a time, "time" here meaning six days of agitated wakefulness ending inevitably in the police cooler or at the bottom of a ditch, dead or not yet dead.

Sueur du Cheval Champagne is a domestic sparkling wine from Champaign, Illinois. It comes in a 2 L Glassic (R) bottle, and features artwork by famed Polish artist Zdzislaw Beksinski (see above). It is noted for its unusual carbonation, which gives each bottle an estimated internal pressure of 53,000 psi. Uncorking the bottle is best done outside in a relatively isolated area, as the .50 caliber Cheval corks have been known to travel up to 43 miles at speeds exceeding 3,000 mph (at time of uncorking).
Cheval is a favorite among sportsmen, who use it for both ballistic and pheremonal purposes. The secret ingredient in Cheval is rumored to be the menstraul blood from a mare whose mother has died in the process of foaling. Although this is only a very provocative rumor, it does explain Cheval's strange red colloration. As it is currently denounced by the Catholic Church and banned by numerous consumer advocacy groups (including the Knights of Columbus, the NSA and the Klan), getting hold of a bottle might be a difficult task.

What L'France Absinthe lacks in identifying bottle features (a label, for instance), it makes up for in character (it glows in the dark--actually, just glows all the time). Absinthe has recently been legalized in America, but this concoction hearkens back to the old days of "chasing the green fairy" and "gibbering from shadowy corners". Exported from an undisclosed port somewhere near Bucharest, L'France is not actually French absinthe, but an unholy relic of the Ottoman Empire. By the time L'France had become popular in Constantinople (1914), there was very little the already-crumbling imperial government could do to contain the epidemic; and like the plague 500 years before it, L'France was soon knocking on the doors of all Europe's poor. Nor has the ghastly specter of L'France entirely vanished. INTERPOL is currently working on stemming distribution, with mixed results.

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