Monday, October 27, 2008

The Black Oil

God, I love this planet. Where else in this spiral arm of the galaxy are you going to find a decadent item like this?

I'm a sucker for any beer that takes itself so seriously that it comes in a box. And if each bottle is individually numbered - as this one is - all the finer. And the price definitely commands attention - I never dreamed I'd ever pay eighteen bucks for a tiny eleven-ounce bottle of beer.

So what is this elixir, and what's so special about it? It's a whiskey-cask-aged brew called Ola Dubh, which is Scottish Gaelic for "Black Oil" (As an X-Files aficionado, I couldn't pass up a name like that anyway). Its monicker is an apt one: the box actually describes it as "gloopy and viscous", and their website actually likens it to "used motor oil". Now THAT'S my kinda beer!

And they wasn't kiddin'. The dark beers don't get no darker than this here dark beer. Guinness, by comparison, is simply dark brown, but Ola Dubh really is BLACK, blacker than Coca-Cola, blacker than 10W40, blacker than a goth chickie's hair. The taste is a delicious punch in the snozz, but it's deceptively silky smooth since it's actually an ale; it just looks like a stout.

The packaging is slightly misleading, I have to say - Ola Dubh is offered in 12-year, 16-year, and 30-year variants, and I first thought that meant that the ale itself had been maturing in a whiskey cask for 30 years. Alas, such is not the case - the age refers to that of the whiskey whose cask the ale was in. Fair enough; it's still amazingly amazing.

Partially because of the intensity of the stuff, and partially because it's too expensive not to savor slowly, I sipped it from a shot glass. You want "notes"? I'll give you "notes". I tasted hints of moldy firewood, grill scrapings, carburetor buildup, pork rinds, lighter fluid, charred gristle, streethooker backwash, livery stables, box matches, attic dust, Old English furniture polish, and a burning doghouse.

I dug it.

I only got one bottle of the stuff, so I can't really speak at length about its buzz factor, but I get the feeling one could get powerfully and mystically endrunkenated on the Black Oil if you had the scratch to splash on several boxes worth. Next time I get some, I think it would be cost-effective and buzz-enhancing to stretch it out by doing boilermakers with shots of Black Oil and something like Ommegeddon. (But strictly old-school "beer and a shot", Bunk-and-Jimmy style, not those "depth charge" frat boy party tricks.)

- - JSH

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