Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Whiskey Wednesday: The Big Guns - Brora & Port Ellen

Brora and Port Ellen, Port Ellen and Brora. The names are spoken with reverence in Scotch circles. Distilleries that made great whisky but for some seemingly unbelievable reason were shuttered long ago. The remaining bottles sell for exorbitant prices and the whisky experts sing their praises. But are they worth it? How much of the reputation is hype? Are the high prices merited or simply a product of speculative collectors banking on a scarce product? Are they really that good?

I've tried whiskies from these distilleries from time to time, but within the last few months, I've had the opportunity to do some rather intensive tastings of both Port Ellen and Brora and thought I would share my thoughts. All together, I tasted seven Broras and twelve Port Ellens. These included a few official bottlings (Diageo inherited the stock of both distilleries and annually releases "official" bottlings), many indies and a few specialty bottlings that are not available to the general public. I won't list them all here, but you can find all of them on the LA Whiskey Society website.

So what did I learn from these intensive tastings? Here are my impressions.

Port Ellen

The twelve Port Ellens I tasted ranged from 26 to 30 years old and were all distilled between 1979 and 1983; all but one were independent bottlings. That's a fairly narrow range, but a fairly representative sampling of what is currently available on the retail market.

All of the Port Ellens were very good and the best were excellent. They ranged from mid-level peating to quite heavily peated, but the flavor profile was fairly narrow (which may of course be accounted for by the narrow range of distillation years I was trying). While these are very good, they aren't particularly unique. There are lots of great peated whiskies out there today, and the profile is similar enough to other peated Islays that it's hard to imagine a Port Ellen cult would exist if the distillery were still open today; rather, it would more likely be considered just another smoky Islay whisky like, say, Caol Ila. That being said, the best of these, particularly the Diageo 7th release and the bottlings by Old Bothwell, rivaled the best of other peated whiskies and were indeed quite special. And while Port Ellens are expensive, the prices on the indie bottlings don't seem that far outside of what you might pay for other similarly aged Islays.

A brief check of some of the major retailers shows that there is still a fair amount of Port Ellen out there. In fact, it may be the most plentiful of all the closed distillery whiskies, so while it won't last forever, my guess is there will still be plenty available for the next few years.


I tasted seven Broras in two separate tastings. They ranged from 22 to 30 years old and all were distilled between 1972 and 1982; three of them were Diageo's official releases. As a bonus, I also tasted a Clynelish made at the Brora distillery when it was the old Clynelish distillery.

The Broras varied much more than the Port Ellens and had a much wider flavor profile. While Port Ellen was always fairly peated, the Brora distillery varied its peat levels and reduced them quite substantially in the early '80s. In addition, both the peated and unpeated Broras have a quite unique flavor profile that is hard to compare to other whiskies on the market today, particularly the rich and densely flavored late '70s peated malts.

Overall, the quality of the Broras varied more than the Port Ellens, but the best Broras were absolutely phenomenal. My two favorites were the heavily sherried Brorageddon, a 1972 Brora bottled by Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask for the Plowed Society and my old favorite, the 2007 Diageo release, which is a 30 year old. The Brorageddon is long gone, but it is still be possible to snag a 2007. Yes, it goes for $350-$375, but this is one of those fairly rare cases when I do think a whisky is truly worth a price like that.


Comparing the two based on this admittedly limited sampling, Port Ellens seem more consistent then Broras, but while Brora may be a bit more of a crap shoot, the best Broras are among the best whiskies I've had. In both cases, I would say that these whiskies do deserve some amount of the hype. They won't be around forever, and Broras, in particular, seem to be fading rather quickly, so if you want to try them, start saving up now.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dodger Blues - Stadium Eats

I'm not sure what's worse, the Dodgers or the food at Dodger Stadium. I know the team is bankrupt and game attendance is in the high dozens, but let's be honest. This is the twenty-first century. There are stadiums out there with full food courts, BBQ, local specialties and other things. And what do we get? Stadium food frozen somewhere in the mid-1970s (hey, is that Steve Garvey on the field?)

Dodger Dogs are a disgrace to the institution of baseball. These skinless wonders taste of baloney more than any hot dog worth its sodium nitrate. The newest innovation is the Doyer Dog, a Dodger Dog with nacho cheese glop on it. Are they really saying that the best way they thought they could improve Dodger Dogs was to throw congealing yellow goop on top?

The sad thing is that the Dodger Dogs are pretty much the height of cuisine at Dodger Stadium. I nearly chipped a tooth trying to bite into one of the churros. The state of these churros really should become an international incident. Costco and Disneyland can get churros right so why can't the Dodgers?

The garlic fries may be the one redeeming food at the stadium, but they're just okay.

Someone please tell me that there is some hidden window where I can get decent eats at this disgrace of a ballpark.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Huge Tree Pastry

I mourned the closing of Dumpling Master for a long time. When a new restaurant with the unlikely name of Huge Tree Pastry opened in its space I was curious, but not until I saw a good Thi Nguyen review in the LA Times did I give it a try. C. Thi Nguyen, who is one of the contributors to the "The Find" column in the LA Times is one of my favorite food reviewers. He has an engaging writing style, a good nose for sniffing out new finds and excellent taste. If Thi likes something, I'm pretty sure I will too.

Huge Tree is a Taiwanese breakfast spot with all manner of pastries and dumplings. Scallion pies, fried daikon cakes, beef rolls (wheat cake with beef and mustard pickle) and something called salted rice ball, a Chinese doughnut wrapped pork and pickled mustard greens and coated with sticky rice.

The secret to a lot of these dishes is the "mustard pickles," pickled mustard greens. These greens were a great mix of tangy, sour and salty and enhance pretty much anything they go on, an all-purpose relish. I even waked out with an order to go.

Also good was the sweet tofu, which went especially well with the crullers, churro sized fried, unsweetened dough sticks that taste like Indian fry bread.

The only dumplings we got were fried pork but they were quite good and next time we'll try the Xiao Long Bao and as many dishes with mustard pickles as we can find.

Huge Tree Pastry
423 N Atlantic Blvd
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 458-8689

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Whiskey Wednesday: Classic Whiskey Cocktails - The Whiskey Sour

Most of the whiskey cocktails I've played with are pretty intense alcohol on alcohol concoctions like sazeracs and Manhattans, but on a warm day, it's nice to have something a bit lighter. It could be a mint julep, but another good alternative is the whiskey sour.

The whiskey sour was a precursor to all of those popular sour drinks: the margarita, the daquiri and the sidecar. It's an easy drink to make and a fun one to sip. The ingredients are such:

2 oz. whiskey (I usually use a good mid-level bourbon)
1 oz. lemon juice
3/4-1 oz. simple syrup (to taste)
1 egg white

As with all drinks containing egg white, do a dry shake (without ice) first, then shake again with ice. Strain into a rocks glass with ice. The traditional garnish is a cherry but I dispense with it and usually also add two or three drops of Angostura bitters right on top, which looks cool as well.

Some people drop the egg white out of squeamishness, but I would encourage you to leave it in. I love the frothy, foamy nature of the drink; without the egg, it's just whiskey and lemonade. Yes, there are risks to using raw eggs. I use only eggs I get from the farmers market, but hey, what's life without a little bit of risk, as long as your immune system isn't otherwise compromised.

Now what would happen if we made on with Laphroaig? Hmm, maybe I'll try it and report back.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Papaya King: The Ten Year Old Perspective

When I lived in New York, I used to eat at the papaya hot dog places, so I was excited to hear about Papaya King moving to Hollywood (though I was more of a Grey's Papaya guy). I fully intended to get there and review it, but my ten year old daughter got there first, so I thought I'd let her review it and compare it to her other favorite hot dog spots. Here she goes:

As a hot dog lover myself, I heard about Papaya King, a new hot dog place that sold hot dogs and juice. I thought that I should try it because I love hot dogs and juice, but I found it quite a disappointment.

We were the only people there (not that there was any space for anyone else), and they gave us the wrong food, and they don't have onion rings, only curly fries in enormous servings.

The food was not special. The hot dog was plain and dry. It tasted skinless. The bun was warm and crispy so it was okay, but it is very hard to mess up a bun. The chili was not the hot dog chili I am used to having. It was juicy and full of whole beans and there was hardly any meat. Juice and whole beans is not what you want on your hot dog. You want a big, chunky, meaty, greasy chili.

The curly fries were good. They were greasy, curly and good.

We got strawberry and pina colada juice. The pina colada juice was good. The strawberry was a little bit too foamy but it tasted good, like strawberry, sugar and foam.

After Papaya King, we went to Pink's and Carney's to compare [Eds. note to Department of Children & Family Services - this was not all on the same day!]. They were as good as always and Pink's is defending its title as my favorite hot dog place. The chili is big, chunky, meaty, greasy hot dog chili. The bun was not as crispy, just the way I like it. The onion rings and fries were also good. It was yummy!

Carney's also had good chili but the fries were as ordinary as any fries you would get at any place like McDonald's. Carney's has the best actual hot dog, but if you put everything together, Pink's is the best.

At Pink's and Carney's, you can get most things and be eating very good food. At Papaya King, if you go there, you really only want to get the fries and the pina colada juice.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Going Wako for Fried Pork: Wako Donkasu

It just so happened that while I was on a fried pork binge (albeit a Oaxacan one), Jonathan Gold published a review of a Koreatown tonkatsu restaurant. I'm a big fan of tonkatsu, the Japanese, panko breaded, deep fried pork cutlet. The stuff is ubiquitous here in Koreatown, but most of it is sub-par - tough, dry meat, fried to death and buried in goopy sauce. But not so Wako Donkasu.

Wako Donkasu, on Olympic a few blocks east of Normandie, is a mostly Japanese style donkatsu. The only trace of Korean cuisine are two very small but very good panchan: a tangy radish kimchi and a wonderfully garlicky dish of sliced, pickled jalapeños.

The pork is tender and juicy with a light, crispy crust. For the sauce, you are initially given a bowl of freshly roasted sesame seeds with a wooden pestle to pulverize them with. The waiter then dumps the sauce on top and you mix the sesame seeds throughout, which gives the sweet and fruity (but not overly gloppy) sauce a nice nutty fragrance.

We also tried the fried New York strip which was also excellent. It was fried just as carefully as the pork but packed in even more flavor and had better contrast when combined with the sauce.

The combo comes with a fried protein (pork, beef or chicken), a pile of cabbage salad, soba noodles, a fried shrimp and a fried potato ball (think fried mashed potatoes). The soba was fine, but nothing special. The things to get here are the fried meats.

This place is dangerously close to where I work and live. I see lots of fried pork in my future.

Wako Donkasu
2904 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 387-9256

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Whiskey Calendar: The Sku Discount is Back for SMWS's Extravaganza

As the dog days of summer start to wind into the dog days of fall, it's time to start dreaming about fall whiskey tasting season, the period from October to November when all the major whiskey tasting events take place.

This year, for the third year running, Sku readers will get a discount at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's Single Malt and Scotch Whiskey Extravaganza. The Extravaganza includes not only tasting booths from lots of great distilleries but also a chance to taste some of the Society's bottlings which are normally available only to Society members.

This year's extravaganza will be Friday, November 11 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel in Santa Monica. Dress is business casual with a jacket preferred (note to SMWS, business casual in LA does not include jackets).

The regular price is $135, but your Sku discount gets you up to two tickets for the member price of $120. To purchase tickets and get your discount, just go to the Society's website and enter SRE2011 in the promotional code box.

And if you aren't from LA, have no fear. The Sku discount works for all of the Society's fall Extravaganzas, including Chicago (October 5), Boston (October 13), Washington DC (October 26), Philadelphia (October 28), San Francisco (November 9) and Fort Lauderdale (December 1). Details on the website.

See you there!

FTC Disclaimer: Sku finally sold out and attends this event free of charge.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Whiskey Wednesday: The Newest Bourbon Blog

I always appreciate when a fellow bourbon lover starts a blog, even if they still have a thing or two to learn. In that spirit, please check out the brand new and extremely enjoyable Straight Bourbon Blog, where you will find such nifty factoids as the following:

  • Only whiskey produced in the Bourbon County can be called Straight Bourbon

  • Straight Bourbon can be made outside of Bourbon County but it can only be called Blended Bourbon

  • All straight bourbon (this is essential) must be distillated in pot stills!

  • George Dickel calls their rickhouses dickhouses

  • Old Grand Dad is an example of a Tennesian Whiskey

Well, like I said, the writer still has a bit to learn about bourbon, but it's an enjoyable read just the same.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Search for Cemitas: El Delfin Jr.

Ever since the closure of the great but short-lived Pal Cabron, I've lost my best neighborhood source of cemitas...the Mexican sandwiches served on sweet bread. Since then, I vowed to search for other options for my Koreatown cemitas habit, which mostly means checking out the local food trucks.

One of the most visible cemitas trucks, El Delfin Jr. can regularly be found on the south side of Wilshire by the old Ambassador hotel site. The neon-orange truck serves cemitas, clayudas, tortas, tacos and burgers.

Why it's named with the Spanish word for dolphin, I don't know. While there is a small picture of a dolphin, the truck's main logo appears to be an unfortunately Hootersesque picture of a woman with cemitas where her shirt should be. Pal Cabron had its share of strangely drawn busty women as well. Something about cemtias seems to bring out mammary fixations.

They didn't have pork milanesa, so I ordered the cemita de milaensa de res (beef). It was served in the fairly standard manner with quesillo, papalo, avocado, a nice tangy salsa with pickled peppers on the side so you can add them to your taste (which for me means they all go in).

It was not bad, but it didn't measure up to the Pal Cabron standard, mostly due to the bread and meat. In contrast to the Cabron's puffy, perfectly textured, freshly baked rolls, the Delfin's roll was a sad, flat, stale piece of bread. The milanesa itself was thin, overly chewy and lacking in distinctive flavor. That being said, the overall flavor on the sandwich was not bad due to plenty of papalo, a really nice red salsa and the aforementioned pickled peppers. Still, bread and meat are the essential components of a cemita and you can't do that well if you're missing them. It's like messing up on the triple axle in an Olympic figure skating competition; you lose a lot of points.

So on we go...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Saint Benoît Yogurt at the Hollywood Farmers Market

The Sunday Hollywood Farmers' Market now includes a Saint Benoît yogurt stand. The Sonoma County yogurt maker has had their products at Whole Foods but this is the first time I've seen them at a Southern California farmers market. They were selling both their plain and flavored yogurts as well as a soda made with whey. Their yogurts are smooth and creamy, but I was less impressed with the soda which seemed a bit bitter, but then I've never been a huge soda drinker.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Whiskey Wednesday: Bourbon Law for Whiskey Geeks

There always seems to be a lot of confusion about American whiskey and recently I've seen some confusion even among whiskey geeks. Lucky for us, the regulations governing bourbon are readily available in Title 27, Chapter I, Part 5 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. They are promulgated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), an agency of the United States Treasury. Using those regulations, here is some advanced bourbon law.

The Basics

Nowadays, most everyone who is a whiskey lover seems to know the basics: Bourbon is required to be made from a mash of at least 51% corn, must be made in the United States (not just Kentucky) and must be stored in new, charred oak. 27 CFR § 5.22(b)(1)(i).

Bourbon has no Age Requirement

It seems to be a common misconception that bourbon has to be aged for two years. That is not the case unless it is labeled "straight bourbon." There is no ageing requirement for bourbon, only the requirement, mentioned above, that it be "stored" in charred new oak containers. If you store it for ten minutes, it is bourbon. Straight bourbon, on the other hand, must be aged for two years. 27 CFR § 5.22(b)(1)(iii). Bourbon that is bottled in bond (BIB) must be at least four years old. 27 CFR § 5.42(b)(3)(iii). If any bourbon is less than four years old, it must state the age on the label. 27 CFR § 5.40.

People seem to have trouble absorbing the fact that bourbon does not need to be aged for any distinct period of time. There are likely two reasons for this common misconception. First, in many whiskey producing nations, including Scotland and Canada, there is a mandatory ageing period of three years. Second, up until the craft distillery revolution of the last four or five years, nearly all bourbon available for sale in the US was straight bourbon and, therefore, required to be aged for at least two years. The concept of bourbon that wasn't straight was mostly theoretical. Now, with the onset of the craft distilleries, there are many bourbons on the market that have been aged for much less than two years.

Some Whiskey May Contain Coloring

This is really the same issue as with ageing. Straight whiskey may not contain any coloring or flavoring, but no such restriction is imposed on whiskey that does not carry the "straight" designation, 27 CFR § 5.23(a)(3), and added caramel coloring does not need to be disclosed on the label of non-straight whiskey. 27 CFR § 5.39(b)(3). However, the TTB's Beverage Alcohol Manual states that bourbon of any kind (not just straight) cannot contain coloring or flavoring.  The Manual is not an official regulation, but it is a guideline as to how the TTB interprets the regulation, so for now, the TTB is apparently interpreting it in a way that prohibits coloring and flavoring in any bourbon, though they do allow coloring in non-straight rye, wheat and corn whiskeys.  

Can Bourbon be Finished in Wine Casks?

Once bourbon has been stored in its legally required new charred oak, can it be transferred to wine or other casks and still be labeled bourbon or straight bourbon? Following the lead of Scotch, where finishing has been quite popular for about a decade, several distilleries have transferred bourbon to used wine casks to benefit from the flavoring of those wines.

This is not a clear issue under the regulations. They do state that the addition of any "coloring, flavoring or blending material" can change the designation of the spirit. 27 CFR § 5.23(a)(1). However, "harmless coloring, flavoring, or blending materials" can be added under certain circumstances without changing the designation of the spirit. One such allowance is for the addition of wine if it is "customarily employed...in accordance with established trade usage" and if it does not total more than 2.5% of the total finished product. 27 CFR § 5.23(a)(2). However, no such coloring, flavoring or blending materials, including the aforementioned wine, can be added to straight whiskey. 27 CFR § 5.23(a)(3).

The threshold question with regard to cask finishing is whether the use of a wine cask constitutes a "coloring, flavoring or blending material." I would think not, since there is nothing being added. Of course, the entire purpose of using a wine cask is so that the bourbon will absorb some of the wine which is locked in the wood (or in some cases has actually drained into the barrel). In that case it could be considered an additive but that is a fairly hypertechnical reading.

Chuck Cowdery, the bourbon expert and lawyer, takes the position that once something is bourbon (and presumably straight bourbon), it cannot become unbourbon. So, in his view, if you add something else to bourbon, it only need state that on the label. You should be able to bottle, for instance, straight bourbon and cola as long as it's labeled as such. While cola certainly could be considered a flavoring, this position could be seen as consistent with the TTB regulations since it would not be the case of adding cola and continuing to use the designation of Straight Bourbon. Rather, it would be changing the designation to Straight Bourbon & Cola.

With regard to cask finishing, the TTB appears to agree with Cowdery, having allowed a number of finished products to maintain the straight bourbon designation. The Woodford Reserve Sonoma Cutrer Finish was labeled Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in California Chardonnay Barrels. The recently released Angel's Envy was similarly labeled.

And the TTB has gone even further, approving Red Stag, the cherry bourbon liqueur from Jim Beam, which is labeled Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Infused with Natural Flavors. This one is strange in that it clearly includes flavoring agents which would seem to alter the class and type, but as noted above, this isn't being labeled as just straight bourbon. The label clearly designates that it is straight bourbon with added flavoring. Given that one of the primary purposes of these labeling regulations is to protect and inform the consumer, that seems like a reasonable outcome.

Thus, it seems that the Cowdery rule (one of many, which I will have to list at some point) is correct, at least in the eyes of the TTB. Once a spirit meets the standard for bourbon or straight bourbon, it stays that way as long as the label indicates any additions.

The troubling thing is that based on this logic, it seems that a distillery could also add caramel color to straight bourbon and label it straight bourbon with caramel coloring. That would obviously flout the prohibition on coloring in straight bourbon.

Of course, the TTB isn't perfect and sometimes contrary approvals come down. Hopefully, no one will push the boundries and ask to add coloring. All such issues remain theoretical until someone requests the approval of a label.

If you have any bourbon questions (or opinions) let me know. I have a very affordable hourly rate.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza at Masa

Masa of Echo Park has been around for about five years, but I'd never made it there until now. The owners are from Chicago and they specialize in Chicago style deep dish pizza. Now, I must admit that I've never been a huge fan of Chicago style pizza nor have I had one in Chicago. In fact, I've only been to Chicago a few time, and when there, I tend to concentrate on hot dogs and Italian beef. Most Chicago-style pizzas I've had in other places are just too doughy for me.

The first thing to know about Masa is that the deep dish pizza takes 40 minutes to bake. Next time I go, I'll call ahead, but otherwise, get some appetizers. I especially enjoyed the artichoke dip which was thick with artichokes, and a nice acid in it and was less cheese-heavy than some versions.

The pizza itself was big and dense. Deep dish pizza must way more per pound than any other food. A single slice of the large pie was sufficient for most people in our group. We ordered the traditional pie which has mushrooms and a nice, well spiced sausage slice on top. The sauce is tangy and packs a big garlic wallop. The crust is crunchy, glistening with oil, though I still feel like it's a lot of bread in there, but at least it was all well cooked.

If there are any Chicago-ites or deep dish lovers out there who've been to Masa, I'd love to hear how it compares to the real thing. For my part, I liked it and will likely head back. They have a large menu beyond the deep dish, including regular pizzas, pasta, other entrees and a particularly enticing sounding croissant bread pudding, which I will undoubtedly need to try.

Masa of Echo Park
1800 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 989-1558

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Trader Joe's Cookie Taste-Off: Macarons vs. Whoopee Pies

I try to avoid Trader Joe's impulse purchases, but it was hard to resist the French-style chocolate macarons, so into the cart they went. And then I saw the whoopee pies. A taste-off would be an excellent excuse to gorge on cookies. So here they are.

Trader Joe's often has a problem of products that look better than they taste and this was the issue with the whoopee pies. The cookies were dry and flavorless, the filling was ultra-sweet, though with decent flavor and good texture. I couldn't eat more than one.

The macarons on the other hand, were very nice. They were filled with a liquidy chocolate ganache with some good chocolate flavor. They lacked the chewiness of really good macarons, but hey, it's Trader Joe's and they were overall quite tasty.

Both types of cookies are $6 for a package of 6. TJ's also has a frozen macaron, but that will have to wait for a future taste off.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Whiskey Wednesday: The Million Point Scale

There has been much discussion among whiskey bloggers about how best to rate whiskeys. Is it better to use a ten point scale, a one hundred point scale, letter grades, stars, Olympic-style medals or smiley/frowny faces? While these may all have their merits, the fact is that none of them are able to capture the diversity and specificty of whiskey. In response to a recent blog posting on What does John Know?, I revealed my new plan to start rating whiskeys on a million point scale.

From now on, every whiskey I review on this site will be given a rating on the million point scale. Unlike the crude 100 point scale, the million point scale allows me to rate every aspect of the whiskey and judge components that are much too subtle for a mere 100 points. Only with the use of a full million points (out to the second decimal) can you really hope to capture the complexity of whiskey. Here is how it will work.

In judging each whiskey I will look at separate categories, each of which will have a maximum point score as follows:

Nose: 125,362.43
Palate: 172,221.07
Finish: 88,864.37
Appearance: 73,322.06
Cost: 115,468.22
Degree of difficulty: 68,619.08
Coolness of bottle: 22,364.15
Coolness of box: 42,873.45
Way the whiskey makes me feel about myself: 190,153.27
Talent Portion: 25,109.73
Swimsuit Competition: 75,642.27

The total of these scores will be the total score of the whiskey. I have also put together a handy key for judging the whiskey which breaks down ratings into ten point segments and defines what each ten point spread means in terms of quality (i.e. 1-10 is undrinkable and possibly radioactive, 10-20 is undrinkable and possibly poisonous; 20-30 is undrinkable but likely nonthreatening, etc. on up to one million). The key will be available separately as a 568 page booklet which will be sent to my readers for a modest price.

I understand that people who are used to more simplistic scales may be skeptical, but once you observe the million point scale in action, I believe you will see its inherent superiority.