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Stomping Through the "Savoy" (2006–2007)


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I see that Park Avenue Liquor in NYC has Byrrh available via mail-order at $24 for 750ml, plus $12 shipping (the per-bottle shipping cost drops radically as you order more bottles). Leaving shipping costs aside, is $24 a fair price? I've looked at some of their other prices and they seem really high.

ETA: On Byrhh's own website, they list the aromatics used in Byrhh as colombo (or chasmanthera palmata, which doesn't help me; I have no idea what this is), bitter orange peel, camomile, cinnamon, quinquina, coriander, cocoa, coffee, gentian, and elder. That's a lot of stuff being subtle!

Edited by The Hersch (log)
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I paid around $23 from Hi-Times.

Poking around this AM, I discovered they do appear to have 2 products, the standard Byrrh, and the Byrrh 1875 Rare Assemblage.

Dunno if regular one is more highly spiced than the special Rare Assemblage bottlings.

It is described here:

Google Translation of the description is in line with mine:

Byrrh Rare Assembly is elaborate starting from a selection of years of wines of the Catalan country which is shown of a particular quality (rich person color, nonaggressive tannins…).

The wines are then aromatized according to the method traditional of the cellars of Thuir (the Pyrenees Orientales) and put to age in small barrels of oak during approximately 10 years to preserve only the harmonious structure of the quinquinas.

With the magnifying glass

Wrap: Old mahogany tree

Nose: Intense and full, letting develop crystallized red fruit notes.

Palate: Harmonious, with quite molten tannins, underlain by subtle notes of quinquinas. Beautiful vinic matters develop dry, chocolate fruit flavours and finely spiced.

Finale: Vanilla mocha coffee and toast.

Columbo is another bitter herb. Columbo (botanical.com link)

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Columbo is another bitter herb.  Columbo (botanical.com link)

I think the constituent of Byrrh is this one. That is, Jateorhiza calumba rather than Frasera carolinensis. The former seems to have more Latin names than Elizabeth Taylor has had husbands, and among other things is used in cases of arsenic poisoning. Who knew?
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Columbo is another bitter herb.  Columbo (botanical.com link)

I think the constituent of Byrrh is this one. That is, Jateorhiza calumba rather than Frasera carolinensis. The former seems to have more Latin names than Elizabeth Taylor has had husbands, and among other things is used in cases of arsenic poisoning. Who knew?

Oh, good point. Probably not going to want to use one that is a cathartic and emetic, eh?

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Byrrh Cassis

1 Glass Byrrh (2 oz Byrrh 1875 Rare Assemblage)

1/2 Glass Creme de Cassis (1 oz Brizard Cassis de Bordeaux)

Use medium size glass and fill up with soda water. (Garnish with lemon peel. -eje)

Sorry for the bad picture! I took several, they all looked OK on the back of the camera. Sadly, this one was the best, when examined on the computer.

Kind of sweet; but, perfectly tasty, if you like flavors like Cassis.

Edited by eje (log)

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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re: Substituting Dubonnet Rouge for Byrrh

I did a side by side taste test, and they are not as far apart as I had imagined. The Rare Assemblage is a much nicer aperitif than the Dubonnet Rouge. Seems like the big differences might be the style of the base wine used and a slightly lighter hand with the spices.

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Byrrh Special Cocktail

1/2 Byrrh Wine (1 1/2 oz Byrrh 1875 Rare Assemblage)

1/2 Tom Gin (3/4 oz Junipero, 3/4 oz Boomsma Jonge Genever)

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass

We've had a few defunct ingredients, so far: Hercules, Caperitif, East Indian Punch, Secrestat Bitters... But, for most of those, cocktaildb has had substitution recommendations.

"Tom Gin", though, is one that has always stumped me.

There is still one made in the US by Boord's. However, most opinions I've read don't think much of that gin. The surly, and now deceased, barkeep at Aub Zam Zam in San Francisco did insist on making his Martinis with it, and calling for any other gin, got you kicked out the door of that establishment.

I've heard the now defunct Tanqueray Malacca was a fairly decent substitution for Tom Gin. Unfortunately, I've never run across that gin anywhere.

It's been suggested to me, by persons who would know, that Junipero, slightly sweetened, isn't a bad substitution. Of course I can't leave well enough alone, so, as Old Tom Gin is regarded as the "missing link" between Genever and London Dry Gin, I threw in some Jonge Genever.

A perfectly tasty, and slightly sweet gin cocktail. As far as "special" goes, I'd really have to give the nod to the plain old "Byrrh Cocktail" above as something truly special and unique.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Well at long last we have finished the letter "B".

Is it just me, or does it seem like we've been on that pesky letter for ages?

From Babbie's Special to the Byrrh Special.

I would have no problems recommending any of the following strong contenders, Bacardi Special, Barbary Coast, Barney Barnato, Bijou, Biter, Block and Fall, Blood and Sand, Bloodhound, Bacardi, Blackthorn No. 2, Blue Blazer, Blue Train Special, Bobby Burns, Brandy Crusta, Brandy Blazer, Brandy Special, Bronx, Brooklyn, Bolo, Brain-Storm, Byrrh.

Wow, the letter "B" was really pretty good, eh?

"C" from "Cabaret" to "Curacao", looks to be almost as exciting. Including such classics as the Cameron's Kick, Champs Elysees, Clover Club, and a couple Corpse Revivers. Hopefully, they'll be some surprises among the unknowns, as well.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Cabaret Cocktail

1 Dash Absinthe (Verte de Fougerolles)

1 Dash Angostura Bitters

1/2 Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Boodles Gin)

1/2 Caperitif (1 1/2 oz Dubonnet Blanc)

Shake (stir - eje) well and strain into cocktail glass. Add a Cherry.

Boodles and Absinthe go very well together. It will probably be no surprise to anyone that I quite enjoyed this cocktail. Though, I could do without the cherry.

My Lillet Blanc was getting tired tasting, so I thought I would give Dubonnet Blanc a try. It's an interesting difference. The citrus is much stronger in the Lillet, and it also seems sweeter.

I have to admit I think the Dubonnet blanc is a nice change.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Cablegram Cocktail

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

1/2 Tablespoon Powdered Sugar (1/2 teaspoon caster sugar)

1 Glass Canadian Club Whisky (2 oz Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey)

Shake well, strain into long tumbler (1/3 filled with ice) and fill with Ginger Ale (Reed's Ginger Brew).

Along with the Bull-Dog, another very good long drink featuring ginger ale. This one is a whisk(e)y sour plus ginger ale.

I felt like the ginger and lemon would need a whisk(e)y with a bit more spirit than Canadian, so I went with the younger Sazerac. Worked quite well.

The recipe in the Savoy doesn't mention ice in the serving glass at all. However, every other recipe I read suggested building it over ice or straining it over fresh ice.

I dunno if the ginger ale in England was less sweet or if they just liked sweeter drinks; but, I'm not entirely convinced this needed any extra sugar at all. With the Reed's, I think you could just build it in the glass with ice and leave out the extra sugar.

Googling this, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they have re-vived the Cablegram at Vessel in Seattle. It was even referenced in some reviews of the venue as one of their more outstanding cocktails. Of course it involves house made ginger ale and such. Still, nice to see a bar bringing back obscure classic cocktails!

Edited by eje (log)

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Cafe de Paris Cocktail

The White of 1 Egg

3 Dashes Anisette (1 Barspoon Anis del Mono)

1 Teaspoonful of Fresh Cream

1 Glass of Dry Gin (2 oz Boodles Gin)

Shake well and strain into medium size glass.

Kind of underimpressed with this one. Maybe I overshook and it got a bit diluted? Anyway, I felt like the anis could have been a bit stronger, and the cocktail a bit sweeter.

Cafe de Paris is a famous nightclub in London.

The Prince of Wales was a well known guest in the early days, somehow insuring the club's success. Hmmm... Wait a sec. Seems familiar somehow... Something about Prince Harry and a treasure box, Mahiki tiki bar becoming successful in London. Do the British never get tired of these stories?

Anyway, my favorite story from the Cafe de Paris website:

In 1939 the Café was allowed to stay open even though theatres and cinemas were closed by order. People gossiped their way through the blackout and the Café was advertised as a safe haven by Martin Poulson, the maitre d', who argued that the four solid storeys of masonry above were ample protection. This tragically proved to be untrue on March 8th 1941 when two 50K landmines came through the Rialto roof straight onto the Café dance floor. Eighty people were killed, including Ken 'Snakehips' Johnston who was performing onstage at the time and Poulson whose words had come back to haunt him. Had the bomb been dropped an hour later, the casualties would have been even higher.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Cafe Kirsch Cocktail

The White of 1 Egg

1 Liqueur Glass Kirsch (1 oz Trimbach Kirsch)

1/2 Tablespoon of Sugar (1 teaspoon Caster Sugar)

1 Small Glass of Cold Coffee (1 oz Peet's Kenyan AA, Melitta Drip)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Weird. I expected to like the last cocktail and expected to dislike this one.

Wrong on both accounts.

This is tasty and pretty! I'll take this over a Red Bull and Vodka any day.

Of course I'm going to regret drinking it, when I can't sleep tonight at midnight.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Couple more notes about the Cafe Kirsch:

If you don't have decent strong drip coffee for it, use espresso.

We've gone over Kirsch/Kirschwasser/Cherry Brandy/Cherry Eau de Vie a number of times on eGullet. Just so's you know:

In the US a number of the larger liqueur companies market something they call Kirschwasser. If you look at the ingredients, you will discover that it is typically artificially flavored and sweetened neutral spirits. I've tried a couple (they're cheap) and they are truly vile. Think, cherry cough drops dissolved in kerosene.

Kirsch or Cherry Eau de Vie is almost always sold in 375ml bottles and is relatively expensive. It is distilled from a "wine" made from fermented cherry juice and is (usually) an unaged clear spirit. In the US, Clear Creek, St. George Spirits, Peak Spirits, and others make acceptable versions.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I've heard the now defunct Tanqueray Malacca was a fairly decent substitution for Tom Gin.  Unfortunately, I've never run across that gin anywhere.

Tanqueray Malacca was produced according to a 1823 gin recipe, and the company stopped making it around 3 years ago. I would say that it had a much more emphatic herbal profile than other gins on the market, but wouldn't say that it had the sweetness I'd associate with a tom gin. If I were to approximate tom gin, I'd probably just add some simple to an already soft gin like Plymouth.

--

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I've often wondered what was the deal with the cheap "Kirschwasser". It is generally a lot higher-proof than other cheap cordials. Of course, I've always assumed the worst. Thanks for confirming my suspicions.

So here's a question: what cheap cordials that you actually like?

I am a big fan of Jacquin's Apricot Brandy. It is absolutely delicious in cocktails. One I have been enjoying a lot lately is the Cuban (the variation with white rum, apricot brandy and lime juice). I know Brizard Apry is supposed to be the best in this category, and I haven't had occasion to compare the two, but the Jacquin's is pretty good (and available for sale in North Carolina).

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Since we're in the business of learning about the distinctions between different liqueurs, here's one I've often wondered: How does anisette compare to pastis? I know pastis is supposed to be more herbal, but when I take a sip of Pernod, I'm mostly tasting anise. How does the anisette taste, when you taste them side-by-side?

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[...]

Tanqueray Malacca was produced according to a 1823 gin recipe, and the company stopped making it around 3 years ago.  I would say that it had a much more emphatic herbal profile than other gins on the market, but wouldn't say that it had the sweetness I'd associate with a tom gin.  If I were to approximate tom gin, I'd probably just add some simple to an already soft gin like Plymouth.

Soft gin like Plymouth? Why would you use a soft London Dry Gin to substitute for Tom Gin?

Old Tom gin was created in England to capitalize on the demand for the relatively expensive Dutch Gin. I would guess a lot of it was either poorly distilled or even cold compounded.

I'm sure, eventually, some fine examples of the distiller's art evolved; but, you don't sweeten distilled spirits if they are soft and pleasant tasting. You add sugar if they are on the harsh side.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Since we're in the business of learning about the distinctions between different liqueurs, here's one I've often wondered: How does anisette compare to pastis? I know pastis is supposed to be more herbal, but when I take a sip of Pernod, I'm mostly tasting anise. How does the anisette taste, when you taste them side-by-side?

I'll try not to get these things wrong this time.

There are a variety of different Anise flavored liqueurs and spirits out there.

Anisette should be flavored almost entirely with Green Anise (Pimpinella anisum).

Pastis is often flavored with Star Anise and other "licorice" flavored spices and herbs.

Among Pastis, Pernod (and Ricard) both have fairly simple flavor profiles.

Other Pastis type liqueurs (Is Pastis considered a liqueur?) have a more varied herbal component than these two. Henri Bardouin's Pastis, for example, is much more complexly herbaceous than either.

Anisette (~25%) is typically less alcoholic than Pastis (~40%). It is also usually sweeter.

The Spanish anise liqueur I used, Anis del Mono is available in both a sweet (dulce) and less sweet (seco) style. I used the dulce one.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Calvados Cocktail (6 People)

2 Glasses Calvados (1 oz Germain-Robin Apple Brandy)

2 Glasses Orange Juice (1 oz Orange Juice)

1 Glass Cointreau (1/2 oz Cointreau)

1 Glass Orange Bitters (1/2 oz Aperol)

Add plenty of ice and shake carefully

Turned this into a single serving drink.

Two main puzzles here.

First, I would expect something called "Calvados Cocktail" to be a Calvados Cocktail. That is to say, Calvados, sugar, bitters, and a twist. What the orange juice is doing here, I don't know.

Second, "1 Glass Orange Bitters"? The only thing I can think is they might mean an aperitif bitters like the Dutch Hoppe Orange Bitters. The closest thing I could think of was Aperol.

The flavors are there and interesting; but, as written above, it's too sweet for me.

Suggestions? Thoughts?

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Calvados Cocktail

Variation of the above.

3 Glasses Calvados (2 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy)

3 Glasses Sweetened Lemon Juice (Juice 1/2 Lemon)

(1 teaspoon Caster Sugar)

Shake very Thoroughly and serve.

Since this was just an Apple Brandy Sour, I didn't feel quite justified in using the Germain-Robin Apple Brandy in it.

Perfectly tasty Apple Brandy Sour, and quite refreshing.

Dunno why it is called a "variation on the above" or why it isn't named simply "Calvados Sour".

Let me know why you think this interpretation might be incorrect.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Calvados Cocktail (6 People)

2 Glasses Calvados (1 oz Germain-Robin Apple Brandy)

2 Glasses Orange Juice (1 oz Orange Juice)

1 Glass Cointreau (1/2 oz Cointreau)

1 Glass Orange Bitters (1/2 oz Aperol)

Add plenty of ice and shake carefully

Turned this into a single serving drink.

Two main puzzles here. 

First, I would expect something called "Calvados Cocktail" to be a Calvados Cocktail.  That is to say, Calvados, sugar, bitters, and a twist.  What the orange juice is doing here, I don't know.

Second, "1 Glass Orange Bitters"?  The only thing I can think is they might mean an aperitif bitters like the Dutch Hoppe Orange Bitters.  The closest thing I could think of was Aperol.

The flavors are there and interesting; but, as written above, it's too sweet for me.

Suggestions?  Thoughts?

I haven't had a chance to try Aperol yet, but I hear it get compared to Campari quite a bit. If it is anything like Campari, I would definitely imagine it being a bit rich for a recipe like this. I would perhaps try it again with a normal Orange Bitter, though maybe a simpler, gentler one like Fees. I understand that thats what Dr. Cocktail used when formulating the version in Vintage Spirits... Just my $.02.

-Andy

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I haven't had a chance to try Aperol yet, but I hear it get compared to Campari quite a bit. If it is anything like Campari, I would definitely imagine it being a bit rich for a recipe like this. I would perhaps try it again with a normal Orange Bitter, though maybe a simpler, gentler one like Fees. I understand that thats what Dr. Cocktail used when formulating the version in Vintage Spirits... Just my $.02.

-Andy

Oh, good point!

I forgot Mr. Haigh covered this cocktail in "Vintage Spirits..." There it is, slightly larger; but, the same proportions.

A half ounce of orange bitters just seemed a little crazy to me.

I will have to re-try it using regular orange bitters.

A good way to go through the orange bitters, anyway.

Yes, Aperol is similar to Campari. Less bitter, more orange flavor, and only mildly alcoholic. It seems sweeter than Campari. May just be because it is less bitter. I don't know what the actual sugar content of either is.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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[...]

Byrrh Cocktail

1/3 French Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)

1/3 Canadian Club Whisky (1 oz 40 Creek Barrel Select)

1/3 Byrrh (1 oz Byrrh 1875 Rare Assemblage)

[...]

Ran this one past my wife tonight with dessert and was reminded how much context has to do with flavor.

While I still enjoyed it, she disliked it strongly.

We had it after dinner, and it was just awful with ice cream and sweeter items.

I dunno if you've ever been near the end of the bottle of wine, and thought, oh, sure I'll drink that with dessert. You soon realize how bad an idea that was. In this case, it was worse than average.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Cameron's Kick

1/3 Scotch Whisky (1 oz Compass Box Asyla)

1/3 Irish Whiskey (1 oz Red Breast)

1/6 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz fresh)

1/6 Orgeat Syrup (1/2 oz Monin Orgeat)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze orange peel on top.)

I can't really think of a funnier or wittier way to put this than Paul Clarke did in his Cocktail Chronicle blog a year or so ago, so I'll just include a quote:

Cameron’s Kick

Remember the old saw about how, if you took a million monkeys and gave them each a typewriter, they’d eventually come up with the works of Shakespeare? Well edit “typewriter” to read “cocktail shaker,” and stick the monkeys in a well-stocked bar, and the banana-addled mixologists would come up with a Cameron’s Kick in about the same amount of time it’d take that set of simian scribes to work their way around to Titus Andronicus.

Like "Blood in the Sand" it's another of those cocktails that didn't really seem anywhere near likely enough that it would be tasty to work it's way up the list.

Yet here it is, and I quite enjoyed it.

Sweet and tart. Puzzling and a bit exotic. Some elements of spice, and some elements of Scotch Whiskey.

It really doesn't seem like it should work. But, it does.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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that must be the third or fourth drink in this run to both use scotch as a base and be surprisingly delicious.

I don't know where to locate orgeat syrup in canada, but i look forward to adding another scotch cocktail to the arsenal.

"There never was an apple, according to Adam, that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it"

-Neil Gaiman

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I don't know where to locate orgeat syrup in canada...

Most coffee shops carry at least almond syrup, which is by all accounts close enough for most purposes. Also, Fee Brothers makes a very decent version, and they will ship to Canada.

And if all else fails, you can always make your own. :biggrin:

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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