Saturday, September 18, 2021

Scythian Bow - Flagella Dei

After several years of interest I finally decided to purchase a Scythian style of horse bow from Flagella Dei Archery based in Hungary.


Opted for a yew laminated bow #42@28 so it was a custom build but worth the wait. Feather light and simply beautiful. Build quality is great and pictures just do not give justice to the eye candy quality of the lamination, tip reinforcements and quality leather handle wrap.

Shipping was fast from Europe and bow was professionally boxed with bubble wrap and a nice bow sack. Included was a certificate of authentication complete with the bowyer's signature and warranty information.

Needless to say I was anxious to get it outside and loose some arrows. The rain held off on Saturday so it was a perfect opportunity to get out under the green.

I just love this bow. Not only is it lightweight with precious little hand shock but is amazingly silent as well. I was using bamboo and wooden arrows but the bamboo arrows definitely suited the bow better over the heavier wooden longbow arrows. Really nice draw experience capable to 30 inches before you start feeling any stacking.

There is no doubt why this bow remains a flagship model for Flagella Dei. Purchased for only 109 euros it is a beautiful and capable bow.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Viking Sword - Medieval Shoppe

Finally decided to purchase a Viking era sword replica to complete my Anglo Saxon/Viking  reenactment kit. It was the last major purchase that needed to be made to round out the ensemble.

Purchased from the Medieval Shoppe based in Australia after I saw they were offering an 18% discount in recognition of 18000 followers on social media. Factoring in the favorable exchange rate between the Aussie and Canadian dollars, the overall price of the sword at $208 plus the discount it was to good to pass up.

Arrived very well packaged and quickly with the blade and sheath being well wrapped and oiled. Initial impressions were favorable for a functional replica of a Viking age sword from that period of history. It possesses a type four blade design and a variation of a type S hilt design so it is historical but not a pure example of a type four blade as it is a little shorter and narrower than earlier blades of the period. Blade is sharp and tapers somewhat towards the spatulate tip with hammering marks but I like seeing that it was a hand forged blade. It adds character. A fuller runs almost the entire length of the blade and is done quite well with only a slight wavering. Not sure if there is a distal taper as I do not possess calipers. Overall weight comes in at two pounds, eight ounces with an overall length of 36.5 inches.

Fit and finish is decent for a $200 sword. Fittings of brass are well done, polished and tight with no movement on the guard and clam shell pommel. Wood core grip covered in leather with three cord risers. Leather grip is comfortable in the hand. Point of balance is about 5.5 inches from the guard so it is within historical ranges. Feels a little forward heavy but that is expected from a blade that was primarily designed for slashing while using a center boss style of shield. Handle is long enough to use a handshake grip which is nice, especially for making casting cuts.

Scabbard is very well done considering the overall price point of the sword. Decent well stitched leather over a wood core. Brass accents that match the pommel and guard. The mouth of the scabbard does not provide a firm hold on the blade so you will need to be wary of the blade sliding out if held below the horizontal while sheathed.

In terms of aesthetics this is a simple replica with no fancy scroll work, intricate detailing or embellishments. The clam shell pommel is well made but cast from a single piece of brass. The guard is simple and plain. In that sense it is representative of a munitions grade, no nonsense sword meant to be used.

There is some excess leather that needs to be tidied up near the pommel that looks a little sloppy and the center slot on the guard is roughly machined and larger than necessary but considering the price this is a nice affordable piece.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Rum - Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry

Quite by surprise during a hot summer bike commute home I discovered the NSLC had added a new Plantation rum selection to the shelves. Stopped enroute planning on picking up a couple cold beers but instead placed a bottle of the Xaymaca rum in the backpack instead.

Marketed as a traditional 100% Jamaican pot still rum exhibiting the classic "funk" of the island with the associated Hogo flavors of banana and burnt pineapple I was looking forward to getting home and sampling the rum. I am a big fan of the Plantation rums and, after having a few glasses of the Xaymaca special dry, can say this did not disappoint despite the flavor profile not quite being in my ball park.

Packaged in the familiar Plantation 5 year rum style of bottle the Xaymaca looks very familiar to it's cousin with the exception of some green highlights upon the label - no doubt paying homage to Jamaica's lush environment. The nose is intriguing with memories of the Original Dark or Bumbo but does let you know this is slightly over proof at 43%APV. As a result mouth feel is not silky smooth but is not overly harsh either. You do get tingling alcohol right away but with a little patience the flavors do emerge. The finish is ok but maybe a touch hot and lacking. I personally prefer my rum on ice so the finish definitely mellows with some ice cube melt.

I'm a caramel, butterscotch and baking spice fan so the taste profile of the Xaymaca is not quite to my personal tastes. You definitely get a complexity with some oak, a smattering of smoke, banana and other layers of flavor that go beyond my plebian ability to ascertain. This rum is definitely not of a sweeter variety. It's not objectional by any means and in a glass over ice I can still quite enjoy it.

As a mixer this selection is excellent in a classic rum and cola. The sweetness of the soda is offset by the dry oaky wood of the rum to create a delicious cocktail. I generally make a "grog" when I feel the need to mix to avoid the excess sugars in soda; rum and water with a splash of cola over ice for just a hint of sweetness. A twist of lime if I have any available.

Overall it is a decent rum both as a sipper or mixer especially at the retail price point of $34.99 CDN. A nice affordable addition to the bar cart to add some variety of choice.