Thursday, August 28, 2014

Finlaggan - Cask Stregth

It's been a while since I posted any whiskey tasting but being in Europe gives me the chance to taste whiskeys that are not normally available in the States. Finlaggan is one.

I wanted a whiskey last night and the waiter confessed that, while he knew wine, he did not know whiskey but he invited me to look over their selection. The Finlaggan immediately stood out as I had never heard of it before.

It is a pale amber in color and has a very strong iodine smell. In fact, it was so strong that I was worried that the whiskey may be a bit harsh. On the first taste I was pleasantly surprised. The taste is smooth and invites you to swish it around in your mouth for a longer taste. It goes down with a pleasingly warm glow and leaves a nice finish. Even my wife, who does not normally like straight single malts, liked this one.

Finlaggan is an Islay malt sold by the Vintage Malt Whiskey Company, Ltd. It is named for a ruined castle on Islay that was once the home of the "Lord of the Isles". Its distiller, however, is a secret. The only thing its maker will say about it is that it will always come from the same distillery. This has led to endless speculation among whiskey snobs about its origin. Some say it is a younger version (less than 10 years) of  _______ (pick your Islay distillery). The one thing they all agree on is that they like its cheap price, and the mystery of its origin.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Morning Commute

This is what I see when I walk to the train in the morning.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pens, Pens, Pens

I have added another website to the right hand side. It's called "The Pen Enthusiast". It's all about fountain pens, the ink they use, and the paper they write on. If you like writing implements from the old school, give it a look.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Aug 6 Flashback

Here's an Aug 6 post from a few years ago.....

http://peripateticengineer.blogspot.co.uk/2008/08/my-nuclear-troika.html

The Sights of Paris

Saw this last night down in Montparnesse. It was outside of the now closed Prison de la Sante (ironically, the Prison of Good Health). It's the last one of its kind. Can you guess what it is?

Patrol in the Train Station

Today the patrol I saw in Paris' busiest train station were paratroopers wearing the distinctive red beret. If I remember their shoulder patches, they were from the 17th Regiment of the 11th Paratrooper Brigade. All three carrying their FAMAS assault rifles at low port arms. Each of them can send thirty 5.56 mm rounds downrange in a matter of seconds. They patrolled in a triangular formation with good separation and clearly were not a group to be messed with. They were not there to answer stupid tourist questions or to engage in idle chit chat. But if someone starts yelling "Allah Akbar" I imagine they would respond most effectively.

It's sorta like having your neighborhood patrolled by the 101st. There must be some sort of alert that nobody has told the public about.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Security in the Train Stations

I have notice that in the last week or so that security in the RER stations has been stepped up. I commute through the largest station in Paris (Les Halles, which also includes an underground shopping mall) and I have been seeing fire teams of 3 soldiers armed with FAMAS assault rifles casually patrolling in both common areas and track side. These guys are lean and fit. They walk with their rifles slung diagonally across their chest with the barrel pointed down, their right hand is on the grip with trigger finger ready for action. Sometimes I see them deployed in a triangle formation to cover more area but still support each other. When they stop someone for questioning, usually two of them will question the person of interest while the third stands back and provides over watch. They seem to be mostly in transportation zones as I don't see them in the tourist areas, including the Metro stations.

Strangely, I do not feel threatened by this show of professionalism and firepower.