Chrysta Bell makes a scene Credit: Ralf Ehrhardt, Wikimedia Commons
Chrysta Bell makes a scene
Credit: Ralf Ehrhardt, Wikimedia Commons

Neat Stuff 22: Chrysta Bell and David Lynch, Kentucky Derby bourbons and ryes, and Dublin’s top whiskey bars

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Texan triple threat: Chrysta Bell takes direction from David Lynch

We’ve always loved David Lynch, especially at his most cryptic. Chrysta Bell has a soft spot for him, too. A singer-songwriter and model, Bell also plays FBI Agent Tammy Preston in Lynch and Mark Frost’s 2017 reprise of their cult TV series Twin Peaks. Texas Monthly recently caught up with the San Antonio native when she returned to her hometown from California.

Bell, who has cut two dream-pop albums with Lynch, explains how the famously eccentric director helped fire her up for a performance. “He would say things like, ‘It’s midnight. You’re driving to your lover’s house, and she’s been real bad. You’ve got a fifth of whiskey in the glove box and a gun on the seat. There’s a full moon, and you’re driving way too fast. Now go!’”

David Lynch. Who else? Credit: Pixabay
David Lynch. Who else?
Credit: Pixabay

Turn off your mind, relax and sip a dram

Attributing his own success to twice-a-day Transcendental Meditation, Lynch has never been shy about promoting its purported benefits. In a 2006 interview with the New York Times, he noted that Charles Bukowski took up meditation late in life, but it never slaked the late author’s thirst for a dram. “Well, maybe in time, it would have,” Lynch said. “In the meantime—just more enjoyment of the whiskey.”

Maybe the whiskey world could use some Lynch. At Scotchwhisky.com, Richard Woodard suggests that the auteur’s refusal to explain his often puzzling work—leaving viewers to do the math—would be a good model for tastings.

All too often, the host is telling us what flavours we’ll ‘get’ before our glasses have even been filled—the infuriating whisky equivalent to David Lynch nudging you throughout a screening of Blue Velvet and saying: ‘You’ll like this bit.’” Sound familiar?

Attention! A seasoned veteran Credit: Buffalo Trace Distillery
Attention! A seasoned veteran
Credit: Buffalo Trace Distillery

Off to the races: 19 bourbons and ryes for Kentucky Derby

We’re spending our money on bourbon and horses—the rest we’re just wasting. In the leadup to Kentucky Derby Day on May 4, Karla Alindahao of Forbes.com bets on 16 bourbons and three ryes chosen by Robert Cate, F&B manager at Hotel Covington in the Bluegrass State.

Cate calls Frankfort, Kentucky–based Buffalo Trace Distillery’s Colonel E.H. Taylor Seasoned Wood his No. 1 bourbon, ever: “Bottled in bond like all E.H. Taylor products, this is like subtle fireworks on tongue and caramel gold on the finish.”

That’s a cool drink of rye Credit: Heaven Hill Distillery
That’s a cool drink of rye
Credit: Heaven Hill Distillery

A cherry cola rye and some 103-proof human catnip

He’s also taken a fancy to Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey by Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky, which won double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2015. “This is a hidden gem,” Cate maintains, comparing it to a “spiced cherry cola. Something to really cool you down on a hot day.”

Or how’s about a Fighting Cock? “This is human catnip if I’ve ever tasted it,” Cate says of the 103-proof bourbon, also from Heaven Hill. “Proofy to start, smooth as butter on the finish, and packed with flavor.” As they say in Kentucky, keep your friends close and your bourbon closer.

Dingle Whiskey Bar rings true Credit: Dingle Whiskey Bar @whiskeydingle 
Dingle Whiskey Bar rings true
Credit: Dingle Whiskey Bar @whiskeydingle 

Show us the way to the next whiskey bar: 7 great Dublin watering holes

With Irish whiskey on the upswing, we think it’s time for a trip to the Emerald Isle. Marcus Parmenter of The Whiskey Wash has Dublin covered with this no-nonsense guide. First he steers us to Dingle Whiskey Bar, an offshoot of Dingle Distillery in County Kerry, known for its innovative young whiskies. “For something different, try the Dingle Batch 3 Cask Strength, and then sit back and watch Dublin go by,” Parmenter suggests.

Whiskey, wood—what are you waiting for?

And don’t miss Bowes Lounge, pouring since 1880, which apparently serves most Irish whiskies. Need more motivation? “The wooden interior stretching out in front of you, a snug to your right and sturdy wooden bar perfect to lean against while having a dram and chat.”

Another must-visit: Teeling Whiskey Distillery, whose 24-year-old Vintage Reserve took Best Single Malt at the 2019 World Whiskies Awards. Before Teeling, Dublin didn’t have a working whiskey distillery for more than 50 years, Parmenter notes. It’s never too late.

What’s wrong with this picture? Credit: University of Manchester
What’s wrong with this picture?
Credit: University of Manchester

Rats! When whiskey isn’t exactly as advertised

Pick your poison just took on a whole new meaning. A Massachusetts man recently found himself in hospital after opening one of several “antique” bottles of “whiskey” he scored in an online auction, the Daily Mail reports. His throat and hands started burning, and wouldn’t you know it—the bottle contained strychnine, or rat poison.

Always read the label

To help you avoid the same fate, World of Buzz offers these tips for spotting fake booze. A few pointers: check the spelling on the bottle carefully, sniff before you drink, and take a good look at the liquid’s texture and color. Words to live by.

Just another day in the Hebrides. Also: Scotch Credit: Pixabay
Just another day in the Hebrides. Also: Scotch
Credit: Pixabay

Over the sea to Skye: Hebridean Whisky Festival kicks off

Quick, how do you pronounce Hebrides? The picturesque Scottish islands of Harris, Raasay and Skye already have the 115-mile Hebridean Whisky Trail; now local distilleries are launching the first Hebridean Whisky Festival, taking place May 21-25.

As David Leask of The Herald explains, free tours and tastings await anyone willing to brave multiples ferry rides in the North Atlantic. Besides a visit to Skye-based Talisker Distillery, whose single malts are among our go-to smoke shows, the festival offers access to the fragrant cask warehouse at Isle of Raasay Distillery. There, you’ll find Scotch maturing in Bordeaux, virgin oak and rye barrels.

It all wraps on Skye with more tastings, plus cocktails, craft beer and the local pipe band. The Hebrides can be a tad wet and windy, but remember the Scottish proverb: Today’s rain is tomorrow’s whisky.

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