Limited Edition Paradox

I worried about when to open it. It was so pretty, so perfectly black. What occasion could match it?

I wondered– could my bottle of LE Paradox 004, 10%, aged in 1968 Ex Duncan Taylor Bowmore casks, the most expensive beer I have ever imbibed, this bottle numbered 141 of 200 made, be its own occasion?

And then all at once things conspired against my niggard’s caution. Today is Lughnasadh, the Celtic festival that marks the beginning of the harvest– really the wrong time to count beans. And it’s beer blogging friday, hosted by The Barley Blog, who’s asked us to make tasting notes on a an anniversary beer.

(Plus, this week I got a job in the City, and that’s something to celebrate.)

I was reading the wonderful Boak and Bailey who participated in the session by cracking open a Fuller’s Vintage Ale, “You need an occasion to justify it, and what better occasion than raising a glass to fellow beer-bloggers across the globe.”

Genius! Of course. I have met so many wonderful beer people since starting this blog; it’s truly remarkable to be in such good company. At first I worried about opening a special beer all by myself and then I realized, hey, once you’re in the beer-blog-o-sphere you never truly drink alone.

So cheers, all you warm, funny, brilliant beer-folk– here’s what I’m drinking– Limited Edition Paradox, released for BrewDog’s first birthday:

Limited Edition BrewDog Paradox, bottle 141 of 200

Limited Edition BrewDog Paradox, bottle 141 of 200

The label is gorgeously florid– screen printed in gold laquer on matte black paper by Johanna Basford Designs. Out of the bottle it’s a perfect inky colour. The head is flocked, tea-stained and lovely. (There’s a beer p0rn moment where the black stream nests in the head perfectly, but of course I didn’t capture this on camera. I’m not that kind of girl.) The notes that predominate are a mysterious woody note, kindling in the nose and carpentry on the palate. There’s chocolate, too– but it’s only a shadow. The first taste is sweet but brief, prunes steeped in black tea. This glows to bitter smoke, tarnished metal and a bit of blood, and ghost-flashes of the whisky whose cask it’s shared. Five sips and it’s already warming.

Aztec Skull depicting Tezcatlipoca, from the British Museum.

Aztec Skull depicting Tezcatlipoca, from the British Museum.

It reminds me of a concoction made by the Los Angeles perfumer, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, who make a scent named after the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca, or “Smoking Mirror”– it shares the same notes of chocolate, armour, blood and fire.

Drinking Paradox has made me contemplative. There’s an autumnal memory surfacing– late summer watching fireflies with my cousins who would break out their Barbies when I would visit (the older, creepy Barbies from the 50s–) while the adults cooked things with fire. My uncle had built a new deck and it’s the wood smell that’s bringing it all back. My hands smell like that now, in a truly Proustian fancy: the Paradox reflects this Indian Summer night from my childhood in its smoking mirror.

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9 Responses

  1. I’m about as envious as humanly possible of you for having this beer.

  2. Sigh. Couldn’t save me one, could you?

  3. What do i have to do to get one of these?

    Nice skull!

  4. Virgil– I’m really envious you got to try the Ardbeg one! I think they still might have some you can order from the brewery, but shipping might be expensive.

  5. Hey Dan– I only had ONE. If you could get cracking on that beer replicating machine you keep promising to build, this wouldn’t be an issue.

  6. Hi Boak.

    I had to go on a pataphysical obstacle course to get mine. (Don’t blow my cover, but I think they still have some at the brewery here: http://www.brewdog.com/product.php?id=25)

    And, whenever I see those Aztec skulls I think, yeah– Damien Hirst ain’t got nothin’ on you!

  7. Oh and well done on the job. Are you going to be a stockbroker?

  8. Thanks, Boak. My official title is something like the Broker’s Organ Grinder’s Monkey.
    When Churchill said, “Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room,” he was talking about me.
    Or maybe, if Stonch is correct, he just finished off a few pints of Calsberg Special Brew.

  9. Gorgeously florid prose, I couldn’t be that poetic if I tried – nice one.

    Oh and the beer sounded good too!

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