Chris KelleyThe Drink: The Macallan 12 Year Single Malt Scotch

The Comic: Stay Bullets #1 published by El Capitan Books

The Drink
Barley Farmer and school teacher Alexander Reid founded The Macallan Distillery, originally known as The Elchies Distillery, in 1824. Located in Moray, Scotland in the Speyside region, it is one of the largest and most famous distilleries in Scotland. It was also one of the first distilleries in Scotland to be legally licensed. In those days, it was common practice for farmers in this region to use the surplus barely they amassed to distill whiskey during the cold, slow winter months. The Macallan Farm was no different. Thus, Macallan was born.

The Macallan is driven by what they call The Six Pillars: Spiritual Home, Curiously Small Stills, Finest Cut, Exceptional Oak Casks, Natural Colour and The Macallan itself. These are the foundation stones for the character and fame of the distillery. The Easter Eliches House from which the distillery was originally named, was built in 1700 and lies at the heart of the Macallan estate. The estate covers 390 acres with 90 of those acres being used to grow their own barely. They are one of the last remaining distilleries to use a strain of barely known as Golden Promise. It is said to be the perfect barely to use to distill whiskey. They use 14 very small copper stills to distill their whiskey unlike most of the distilleries in that region. This gives the whiskey more contact with the copper and provides for the rich taste.

As with all aged whiskeys, the cask selection is very important. At Macallan, this is the single greatest contribution to the spirit. They use three types of casks to age their whiskey: Spanish oak sherry cask, American oak sherry cask and American oak bourbon barrels. This is also where it gets it’s beautiful natural color.

This Macallan 12 year is aged in a seasoned sherry oak cask.. It has a deep, rich golden color. The nose is sweet and fruity with hints of vanilla and just a touch of smoke. It has a smooth palate with notes of vanilla, apricots and oaky smoke. It has a long, sweet finish with a subtle hint of smoke.

I tend to lean more towards the peaty, smoky scotches, but if I want something a bit sweeter, The Macallan 12 year is perfect. This is a very easy to drink scotch that will appeal to most fans of the spirit. A bottle will set you back about $40-$50. The Macallan has an impressive list of expressions that I can’t wait to delve into further. If you’ve never tried this before, do yourself a favor and order one next time you’re out. You won’t be disappointed.

The Comic
Once again mother nature has kept a lot of us here in Omaha, NE from getting our weekly comic fix. The book that I very much wanted to write about this week is in a truck on it’s way here from Tennessee. So, I dug into some digital comics that I needed to catch up on and decided to give Stray Bullets #1 a try. The title was originally published back in 1995 by El Capitan books and ended in 2005 with it’s 40th issue. This past December, writer and creator David Lapham along with Image Comics announced that it would return in March of 2014 with it’s 41st issue. As a way to celebrate and garner new fans, they decided to give away the first four issues for free. Again, a free comic. So, naturally, I downloaded all of them.

Up until the announcement I had never heard of this title. I was somewhat familiar with David Lapham through his Big Two and Dark Horse work, but had no idea this book was out there. The first issue introduces us to Joey and Frank, a couple of not so bright criminal errand boys out on a mission during the summer of 1997. Frank is the older, more experienced man in charge. Joey is younger and seems to be struggling with the current task. We learn that their boss, Harry, had a “misunderstanding” with his “girl” recently and she is along for the ride…in the trunk. They pull over to change a flat tire and it all goes horribly wrong from there. We quickly find out that Joey is very emotionally and mentally unstable.

Lapham’s art style is absolutely gorgeous. It’s very reminiscent of Gabriel Hardman or Chris Samnee. The book is entirely in black and white aside from the covers which adds so much to the dark, gritty, noir feel of the story. The way he conveys the emotional state of the characters through their facial expressions is a thing of beauty. His detail from the items in the trunk to the background at the restaurant is incredible. He does not cut corners and makes every panel a joy to look at.

Lapham does an amazing job of introducing the characters and the world of crime they live in without too much exposition. At the end of this book I found myself with my mouth agape itching to read the next issue. Which, thanks to Lapham and the fine folks over at Image, I don’t have to! Now, I only have 37 more issues to buy and read before the return. Now, stop wasting time and GO BUY (or download the first four issues for free) THIS BOOK!

Thanks for reading,
Christopher Kelley

Chris Kelley is Matt Baum’s cousin. We try not to hold that against him.