Book review: The Aviators

The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight
The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight by Winston Groom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Aviators is a good read for the detail-oriented reader with a passion for history and personality. Groom did an amazing job researching his subjects and the result is a very satisfying portrayal of three very driven, talented and certainly lucky men. From their beginnings in various motorsports to military (or adventure) flying, each had a track from field to flight which echoed the others, and Groom points out the similarities as well as divergence of their fates and fortunes. I really enjoyed the view into the cockpit — of Lindbergh’s Spirit, Doolittle’s experimental windowless cockpit, Lindbergh’s biplane fighter. Highly recommended.

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Whisky and Words Number One: The Macallan

Whisky & words, why not mix them up? Some of the greatest writers have drunk whisky. I’m not advocating that for anyone — I never write unless I’m sober, and responsible imbibing is the message here. But I think they can go together. I often have a dram while I’m reading. Both I do at the end of the day to relax. I’ll be writing about whisky to relax, too.

Note: what I won’t be doing is getting overly-wrought in my descriptions. I do not pretend to be a super-taster, capable of discriminating upon which Caribbean island my toffee was browned. And that’s OK as most likely, you aren’t either.

Whisky Review: The Macallan 12

So let’s start with a standard and safe selection, a dram no one will criticize you for buying and everyone will enjoy (no overpowering peat, smoke or oil). The Macallan 12-year-old.

Whenever you see a whisky that’s ‘the’ something, you can bet it has been around a long time. But it does not necessarily mean it is good. ‘The Glenlivet’ 12-year-old, for example, has been around for ages. The Glenlivet is the first single-malt many (such as I ) tried and it has admirers, but to me, the cost/benefit just is not there. The Glenlivet to my palate is uninspiring — just not a lot of ‘there’ there. For a bit more you can get Highland Park 12, which has more character, or Ardbeg, which has character and load more smoke.

But back to the Macallan 12. You have to give those folks at Macallan credit. They use barrels that have been used to age sherry. But not just any barrels — they¬†buy the barrels themselves, from wood they select, then essentially rent them to the sherry producers and get them back after a single run. So Macallan guarantees a steady supply of sherry-aged oak in top condition.

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