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  • 27th
    March

    Laphroaig Quarter Cask

    Laphroaig Quarter Cask

    Laphroaig is renowned for dealing a whopping, smokey punch to the palette, and perhaps the punchiest expression in their range is the Quarter Cask. It's a young spirit – barely 6 years matured, and at 48%vol it's fiesty too, then famously, it's the quintessential peat monster – the poster child of heavily peated, phenolic Islay Scotch Whiskies. If that's not enough the Quarter Cask has a rich, malty, lemon pie sweetness cutting through the more medicinal notes. The overall effect is remarkably complex in such a full-flavoured, young whisky.

    To be clear, this is not a good introduction to Scotch for a first-time whisky drinker, but it can be a life changer for someone who has tried a few of the more "accessible" single malts (think Glenfiddich) and is looking for something more challenging.

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  • 19th
    September

    Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

    Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

    It's a shame Absinthe is sometimes looked upon as a bohemian curiosity. There's no reason why a discerning drinker shouldn't chase the green fairy[1].

    There's a marvellous ritualistic process to preparing Absinthe. Pictured above is an Absinthe fountain. It's used to deliver a precious few ice cold drops of water into a measure of Absinthe below. This helps open up the subtle herbal flavours and initiates the louche process which transforms the liquor into it's opalescent milky colour.

    Absinthe also contains wormwood which can be mildly terrifying or slightly thrilling depending on your mental state.

    If you need any further proof that Absinthe is cool, then consider that way before Don Draper was throwing back CC on ice, none other than Earnest Hemingway was known to enjoy an Absinthe or two along with some of the greatest artists of our time.

    1. I have it on good authority that an Absinthe that is green in the bottle is probably of inferior quality and may simply be coloured green for commercial effect

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  • 24th
    January

    Mast Brothers Craft Chocolate

    Mast Brothers Craft Chocolate

    The Mast Brothers1 are the world's best Chocolate Makers in the category of men with beards measuring in excess of 10 inches.

    Warning: If you are a sufferer of Pogonophobia (fear of beards) a visit to their wondrous bean-to-bar chocolate factory in Brooklyn may induce breathlessness, excessive sweating, heart palpitations and an inability to speak or think clearly.

    Warning: For lovers of high quality craft chocolate you may experience breathlessness, excessive sweating, increased heart rate and an inability to speak or think clearly.

    In either case, we recommend immediate consumption of 1 handmade, custom wrapped almond and sea salt Fleur de sel chocolate bar2.

    1. The image above was captured from an excellent short film by The Scout. There is a special moment at 3m50s when the brothers don beard nets - must see.
    2. Recommendation is not actual medical advice!

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  • 17th
    January

    The Fassbender's advice on Scotch

    The Fassbender's advice on Scotch

    We had to look this up, but we were fascinated to learn that "Fass" is German for "barrel", particularly with regards rifle barrels, so Michael Fassbender (Henceforth: The Fassbender) heralds from a proud lineage of um... rifle barrel benders? Is this a uniquely German occupation? What does it accomplish? The mind boggles.

    The Fassbender is pictured above in his super-cool role in Tarrantino's Inglourious Basterds. He remains unruffled despite just stuffing up German-style finger counting 101, but he leaves us with this sage advice "There's a special rung in hell reserved for people who waste good scotch". Well said sir!

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  • 15th
    January

    How to Make a Rusty Nail

    How to Make a Rusty Nail

    People, you're all making your Rusty Nails wrong.

    First, use Lochan Ora instead of Drambuie. Lochan Ora has a wonderful heathery, honey quality without the medicinal aftertaste of Drambuie. Also for goodness sake use a decent scotch. Finally, don't put a slice of lemon in it or anywhere near it.

    One more thing, pictured above is an 8.5 ounce Bodum Pavina Double-Wall Thermo Glass, you caaan use them for coffee, but you'll find that when used for your Rusty Nails the ice will melt at a far slower rate, there won't be any condensation on the outside of the glass and you'll look super-cool.

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  • 13th
    January

    Nespresso Pixie - Electric Titan

    Nespresso Pixie - Electric Titan

    An Electric Titan Pixie sounds like some sort of cartoon network super-hero, but it's actually a coffee maker that helps you make a great cup without taking a barista course. We've tried various Nespresso models, but found this one to be just the right balance of small benchtop footprint with sufficient water volume. Keep an eye on the the spent capsule bin though as it isn't particularly large, and it is a bit fragile.

    Nespresso have taken on the same model as printer manufacturers like Hewlett Packard: sell a quality machine for a reasonable price but setup an exclusive market for the consumables which locks the consumer in for life, Nespresso's system has a further advantage in that it dispenses a measured shot of a legal drug. This is definitely the easiest way to make consistently great coffee at home.

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  • 7th
    January

    Nood Noodle Bar, Balmain

    Nood Noodle Bar, Balmain

    Many locals consider Nood to be the best of Balmain's asian restaurants and it's hard to disagree. It's a favourite of the staff at Quintessential Cool, particularly for the weekday lunch special - most things on the menu for $9.50.

    Nood excels at doing the simple things well: Singapore Noodles, Pad Thai, Laksa, Tom Yum. The service is friendly and efficient. Extra points too for using Eurostile in their logo.

    As an added bonus, after lunch you can duck in next door and browse the gorgeous furniture and home accessories at Eclectic by Illiana.

    Nood Noodle Bar, 388 Darling Street, Balmain, (02) 9555 6990

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