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Lagavulin Offerman meets Shirtless Bear Fighter

  • The Whiskey: Lagavulin 11 – Offerman Edition
  • Cask Type: Refill American Oak and Rejuvenated American Oak
  • Strength: 46% alc./vol.

The Whiskey – Lagavulin 11 Offerman Edition:

Ron Swanson, one of my favourite sitcom characters, and actor Nick Offerman who portrays him so brilliantly on Parks and Rec, are probably as big of fans of Lagavulin 16 as us here at Whiskey Geeks. You will never catch me without a bottle of Lagavulin 16 in my house, and it remains my go to recommendation when someone asks for gift ideas for the whisky drinker in their life.  But we are saving the Lagavulin 16 for another day. Today, we are drinking the special Offerman Edition, Lagavulin 11 and reading the hilarious, epic tale of Shirtless Bear-Fighter.

“I have traveled the world and sampled many attempts at pleasing nectars, but it is solely this distillation of Islay; a tiny, charismatic Scottish isle, that has claimed my palate.

Nick Offerman
Nick Offerman at the Lagavulin Distillery.

Nestled on the South East coast of Islay, and home of the best whisky tasting experience of my life (a tale I will share another day) lies the Lagavulin distillery.  Arguably the most well known, and more often than not top ranked distillery from Islay. Their core range consists of 8, 12 and 16 year old expressions, along with various limited editions like a 9 year old (Game of Thrones special release) as well as annual Distillery, and Feis Isle (Islay’s annual whisky festival, and bucket list trip) exclusives.

The Offerman lands perfectly in the middle spending 11 years in Refill American Oak, and Rejuvenated American Oak casks, and comes in at a comfortable 46% ABV.  For anyone familiar with Lagavulin whisky, the nose of this special edition hits just right (at first).  The initial smell of this whisky brings me right to that gorgeous peatiness that only true Islay whiskies deliver, but the more time I spent smelling the Offerman, I started to get a real clean grass smell with some fresh floral notes, almost as if a Highland distillery had released a special peated whisky.  Could it be that something from Lagavulin wouldn’t taste like a Lagavulin???  

What’s more relaxing than watching Nick Offerman sip Lagavulin by a fire?
The correct answer is nothing.

Fear not my dear reader, one sip and there is no mistaking where this whisky comes from.  It’s classic Lagavulin peat the instant it touches your tongue.  The peat and sweet smoke flavour is delightful, but the most interesting part of the taste of this whisky is the finish.  This is a spicy scotch with lots of black pepper and steak spice.  If you have ever had a pepper rubbed steak, or prime rib, the finish reminds me of the charred peppercorns on the edge of the meat.  There isn’t the same depth of flavours that I am used to with other Lagavulin’s, but this is a very easy drinking whisky that would pair incredibly well with red meat, or something sweet like pancakes with maple syrup…Enter Shirtless Bear-Fighter

The Comic Book – Shirtless Bear-Fighter:

After being betrayed by the bears that raised him, the legendary SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER wanders the forest he’s sworn to protect, fist-fighting bears, eating flapjacks, and being the angriest man the world has ever known! When wild-eyed, super-strong bears attack the citizens of Major City, Shirtless ventures into the human world to do what he does best…PUNCH THOSE BEARS IN THE FACE! But all is not as it seems. Someone is manipulating Shirtless…and only by confronting the demons of his past can Shirtless hope to save his future! A heart-filled, hilarious tall tale for the ages…you don’t want to miss SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER!

Why reinvent the wheel…the above description from Image sums up Shirtless Bear-Fighter perfectly. Released in 2017 by Image Comics, Shirtless Bear-Fighter is pretty much exactly what you think from its title.  “After being betrayed by the bears that raised him, the legendary SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER wanders the forest he’s sworn to protect, fist-fighting bears, eating flapjacks and being the angriest man the world has ever known!”  

This 5 issue mini-series is loaded with bear puns, flapjacks, bear-punching, and censored full frontal nudity. It is non-stop laughs and action from start to finish, and if they were to ever turn this story into a television show or film, there isn’t a man on earth better suited to play the role of Shirtless than Nick Offerman.  You could tell me that the character was loosely based on Offerman, and I would believe it.

How did we find this book?

I discovered this book while at my local comic shop a few years ago (Heroes, in London ON), I was talking to the manager about my latest read “Death Vigil” and was expressing how much I loved it.  After gushing for what was probably 5 full minutes (I really love Death Vigil) his head slowly tilted and he said in a slow questioning tone “Have you read the tale of the Shirtless Bear Fighter??”  The blank stare I gave him was answer enough and he basically shoved me aside to grab a copy from the Image shelf.

When overly angry bears are attacking the citizens of Major City, the FBI turns to the only person they can think of, Shirtless to do what he does best, Bear-Punch and Bear-Kick his way through wave after wave of oursine fury.  The story takes a twist when we find out who is behind the bear attacks, and their plan for Shirtless.   Shirtless must face his past and the writing team of Lehup and Girner weave a tale of family betrayal and love that make this book more than just a punch-tastic romp through the forest.

BEAR PUNCH!!!

While the writing and overall story is great from start to finish, the combination of Nil Vendrell’s art and Mike Spicer’s coulouring is what really makes this book a must read.  Vendrell captures action and fight scenes better than most, and the decision to use really bright colours make the none Bear Fighting scenes jump off the page.

Whisky and Comic pairing:

As fun as this mini-series is, and definitely a book that I would recommend everyone read, it’s nothing life changing that you are going to read over and over again, but it is best enjoyed shared with friends, and is great if you are looking for something a bit different, which is exactly how I feel about the Offerman release from Lagavulin.  It’s a fun release from an amazing distillery, but not something that you are going to keep away from your friends.  Crack it open around a fire, or in your garage/woodshop and always remember: 

“Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets” – Ron Swanson

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