Rolov Mild Imperial Spirit

Today I noticed something I had never seen before. Behind the counter, hiding beside the vodkas on the bottom shelf, I saw an uninteresting bottle labeled “Mild Imperial Spirit”. This obviously interested me, so I purchased a bottle for £9.99. The off-license doesn’t let you pay by card unless you spend over £10, but the lovely woman made an exception this time.

I cannot think of a more pointless drink than Rolov not-vodka

I cannot think of a more pointless drink than Rolov not-vodka

When I got home I poured myself a glass and read the label. It was at this point that I realised why this drink is called Mild Imperial Spirit. It only has an alcohol content of 30%. Thirty fucking percent! I could have walked 10 minutes down the street and bought a 37.5% bottle from Tesco for 2p cheaper, but now I’m stuck with this silly little drink. This is vodka with 1/4 of the alcohol missing! As far as I’m concerned it’s a mixed drink.

When I said the bottle was uninteresting, I wasn’t lying. Rolov comes in a plain bottle with a red cap, and has a white label with (mostly) black text. The label seems to only contain what is legally required. It appears to be made by a company named “Strathendrick Vintners”, but a Google search of the name returns no results whatsoever. Whoever makes this drink clearly doesn’t like to give out more information than necessary. From my understanding of vodka, it is made by distilling it to around 95%, then watering it down to the required strength. This means somebody has went to all the effort of distilling vodka, then said “Yeah, just fire in more water. It’ll be fine.”

Rolov Mild Imperial Spirit is a colourless drink which lies about being vodka. In the bottle it smells like regular cheap vodka. When poured into a glass it smells like acetone mixed with water. On the first taste, Rolov is quite flavourless and neutral with a slight but firm burn on the way down. It certainly isn’t tasty, but you can swallow it without instantly vomiting. After about 10 seconds, the inside of your mouth will begin to writhe and burn, while an overwhelming taste of hot plastic cripples every exhaling breath you take. After two glasses you’ll have a splitting headache and no will to drink, but you’ll know you need to finish up, otherwise you’ll be left with more for another day.

When I picture this drink being made, I imagine some kind of machine which twists giant sheets of plastic until vodka juices out. Kind of like how you would juice an orange, but with plastic instead. I know that isn’t how plastic works, but I can’t imagine how else you would make a drink like this. I didn’t think you could create a spirit which is less alcoholic than vodka, burns more, and tastes worse, but the boys at Strathendrick Vintners have found a way.

Booze Review rating:
3/10 deliciouses

Posted in Vodka | 1 Comment

Queen Margot Blended Scotch Whisky

Having drank pretty much everything else in Lidl, I finally decided to go for something I’ve been avoiding: the scotch. Scotch isn’t something you really want to cheap out on, but I decided to sample their cheapest anyway. Queen Margot is a 40% blended scotch whisky costing £11.99. It’s kind of expensive for something which is probably shit, but it will be drank anyway, so it’s a win-win situation.

Something about maggots or faggots.

Something about maggots or faggots.

The bottle doesn’t look like complete shit which is quite promising. Some quick poking around on Wikipedia shows that Queen Margot was a woman who was forced to Marry Henry IV of France, and was also imprisoned by her brother for 18 years. I hope this trend continues and we’ll soon be able to taste the zesty flavours of Nelson Mandella vodka. Annoyingly there isn’t anything to poke fun at on the bottle. The best thing I can come up with is that “Margot” is kind of similar to “Faggot” but even that is a bit of a stretch.

Queen Margot smells like some kind of rum with a notable caramel and fudge aroma. It actually smells like some kind of fudge sundae. Tastewise, it’s pretty bland. It’s not bad, just kind of boring. There’s a slightly woody, caramel taste but that’s about it. Disappointed by the lack of flavour, I decided to add some water. This definitely released more flavour but unfortunately not in the way I wanted. If you want to recreate this at home, simply spray some perfume on a lollypop stick and chew on it. A few mouthfuls later, the weirdness begins to subside but there’s still a lingering taste of perfume. After this failed attempt to rescue Queen Margot, I decided to go all in and drowned the fucker in coke. Mixed with coke, it’s actually pretty decent. It’s not as harsh as other cheap scotch mixed with coke which I’m quite happy with.

Queen Margot is an alright whisky, but you’re either going to have to drink it straight or drown it in mixer. None of that fancy jug of water bullshit. At £11.99 there’s cheaper ways to get drunk, but if you really want scotch then it’s acceptable.

Booze Review rating: 5/10 deliciouses

Update:
For the first time in the history of Booze Review I have decided to change the previous rating. Drinking this scotch straight is not so enjoyable, but I have found myself returning to this drink and mixed with coke it is indeed quite fantastic. As a result, I’m upgrading the queen to an 8.

Updated Booze Review Rating: 8/10 deliciouses

Posted in Lidl, Whiskey | 9 Comments

Duc De Coeyr Cidre De Normandie

Wow! Another yummy, yummy cider! Awesome!

I had recently been having a (now fairly regular) discussion with a cider drinking friend about how all cider is shite, when instead of the usual response of “Fuck off! It’s cheap!” I was told that most cider is indeed shit and French cider is the only good cider. I have only ever really drunk the kind of cider which comes in 3 litre plastic bottles and is apparently made from onions, so I couldn’t really argue. Roughly a week later, I had departed on my regular journey to Lidl and noticed they had begun to stock something named Cidre De Normandie. I had considered ignoring it, but then I remembered that booze which comes in 750ml bottles usually has some kind of quality and I probably wasn’t going to buy French cider at any other point.

For some reason the bubbles were all on the right hand side. Maybe it's because the French drive on the right?

For some reason the bubbles were all on the right hand side. Maybe it’s because the French drive on the right?

Cidre De Normandie is a 4.5% cider in a 750ml bottle costing £1.99. It’s kind of expensive but I was prepared to take the hit as I knew it would only be the once. 4.5% seems kind of weak, but maybe it’s normal for cider. Who knows!

Cidre De Normandie is definitely French. I know this because the label features 4 French flags and mentions France/Normandy over 20 times. I’m not sure what “Duc De Coeur” translates to, but from my limited GCSE French vocabulary, I think it means “Duck of sister” or “Duck sisters”. Upset Frenchmen are free to complain in the comments. The label says “BRUT” at the bottom. If French cider is like wine, this could simply be indicating that the cider is carbonated. It could also mean it’s flavoured like Brut deodorant, or has a general brutal taste. The back label suggests it goes well with “light meals” so I think I’ll accompany this bottle with a slice of sponge cake.

When opening the bottle, I expected to be greeted by the typical stench of farts and rotten apple, but instead I was surprised by a delicate aroma which is best described as Shloer mixed with WD-40. I’ve been known to gag upon smelling the likes of 3 Hammers, so this much tamer scent was quite pleasing. I don’t know what colour cider is meant to be, but this seems quite orange compared to beer. I also had a strange problem where the cider refused to pour in a straight line. Kind of like when you’re trying to piss and it shoots everywhere for no reason at all. Maybe that’s just a French way of aerating their drinks.

Cidre De Normandie tastes much better than any other cider I’ve drank. I’m not sure if this is because it’s French or it’s just a better cider, but it is massively more swallowable than all other ciders. It has quite a smooth apple taste which doesn’t linger for too long, which may be a bad thing if you like cider, but for me it’s a great thing as I have to taste it for even less. Like all ciders, this one also tastes like you’re sucking on a handful of loose change, however it is much more refined, like you’re sucking on newly minted pennies or perhaps some coins recently cleaned with some Cillit Bang. Cidre De Normandie seems to go flat quite fast which makes you able to taste the apples more clearly. If you like drinking cider then being able to taste it is probably a great attribute, but for people who drink cider despite hating it, it’s certainly not preferable.

Cider De Normandie turned out to be a lot better than I thought it would be. I was expecting French cider to be maybe slightly less shit, but this is actually quite drinkable. A higher booze content would be good, but if I saw this in cans at the same price as other pissy swill such as Magners, I’d probably consider buying it. I’ve just remembered I forgot to eat my cake. Fuck.

Booze Review rating: 6/10 deliciouses

Posted in Cider, Lidl | 4 Comments

Hampstead London Dry Gin

On yet another journey to the ever wonderful Lidl, I came across a new gin they had in stock. I was unsure what to think as the bottle looks fairly mid/high teir, but only cost £8.99 which is an incredible price. Hampstead is also 40% rather than the usual 37.5% found in bottom shelf spirits, making it both cheaper and boozier than Lidl’s other Castelgy Gin.

Gin-ger beer.  I'm sorry. That doesn't even make sense.

Gin-ger beer.
I’m sorry. That doesn’t even make sense.

For once the bottle actually looks pretty respectable, seeming to be based loosely on Hendrick’s, Gordon’s  and Plymouth. The front label has the words “Excellent Distillation” which is a nice change from the “TRIPLE DISTILLED” which many other spirits constantly brag about. When reading the back label I soon realised why this gin is so cheap. It’s only a 500ml bottle! I guess either the shape of it threw me off, or I was too excited about cheap booze to bother checking what size the bottle is, but looking at it now it does seem kind of stumpy.

I was very thankful that Hampstead doesn’t smell pissy at all as I was expecting. In fact, it actually smells pretty good. There’s quite a noticable citrus scent to it which could be there to cover up other shitty smells, but it’s a very welcome addition to the gin. Upon drinking, lavender and lemon flavours stand out the most. It seems to have a more complicated taste than most cheap gins, and although this is an alcohol review website, I’m too pissed to pick out any of these subtleties. In a gin and tonic, Hampstead is fantastic. Add lime and you have an extremely refreshing drink which doesn’t taste too strong, but still has a slight kick.

Hampstead is a really great gin, but unfortunately the bottle is small. However, at only £8.99 for 500ml, it works out at the equivalent of £13.50 for a standard 700ml bottle which really isn’t bad for such a great tasting booze. 500ml isn’t enough for one night of drinking, but I would happily pay £13.50 if there were to sell this in a normal sized bottle. Either way, this is a good gin and you should probably spend all your money on it (but save some for limes and tonic water).

Booze Review rating: 9/10 deliciouses

Posted in Gin, Lidl | 10 Comments

Old Samuel De Luxe Blended Bourbon Old Kentucky Whiskey

I was in Tesco looking for booze in their tiny booze section. Tired of the usual Tesco Everyday Value Vodka, I decided to opt for something slightly more exciting. There wasn’t much available other than Gordon’s Gin and Smirnoff Vodka, but there was one bottle of whiskey which caught my eye. Old Samuel is a blended bourbon costing £13.50 and comes at a strength of 40%. Being the cheapest drink other than vodka, I decided to take my chances with it.

At least the bottle won't roll around on the floor of your car.

At least the bottle won’t roll around on the floor of your car.

The bottle is really something special. The shape is that of Jim Beam’s square sided bottle, while the overall design is borrowed heavily from Whyte & Mackay, so one can only assume it’s going to taste like some bastard of a bourbon/scotch amalgamation. The front label proudly displays its silver medal in both the 2010 and 2011 International Wine & Spirit Competition. Winning an award in a competition which covers such a broad variety of drinks means it probably doesn’t hold much merit. Sitting down to compare a bottle of white wine to a bottle of tequila would be quite a bizarre experiment (and something which Booze Review might actually attempt at some point in the future). Old Samuel is another bourbon which states it is “Matured in oak cask”, but seeing there is no minimum aging period for bourbon, I assume this is only for a few hours. Old Samuel is also the only bourbon I’ve seen which suggests mixing it with cola or making it into a long drink. Despite the front label mentioning America 6 times, the back label says it is bottled in the Netherlands. Let’s start drinking then.

Straightaway, Old Samuel smells quite off. It isn’t an overpowering stench, but it smells more like vodka or rum than a smoky bourbon. On the first sip, Old Samuel burns the tip of your tongue, which then gives way to a much more familiar bourbon taste, all before scratching out your esophagus on the way down. If you can ignore the first burn, the bourbon actually isn’t too bad. It has a fairly smooth oaky taste which is good, but it feels like it was probably quite a shitty barrel to begin with. Although it’s a perfectly drinkable whiskey, I wouldn’t be surprised if I found bits of sawdust floating around at the bottom of the bottle. Tired of the burn (and having no intentions of drinking the whole bottle straight) I added ice to attempt to make it slightly less shitty. The ice does a pretty good job of killing off the burn and reveals a slight vanilla flavour in the mix. There’s still a hint of plastic in the taste, but after a few drinks you’ll be able to ignore it.

Old Samuel tastes better than I expected, but it’s a really bland bourbon. There isn’t anything notable about it, other than it maybe being the most average whiskey I’ve ever tasted. If somebody gave you a glass of this, you would say “Yeah, that’s definitely bourbon” and the conversation would be over. Old Samuel is cheap for a bourbon, but there’s nothing about it which would make me want to buy it often. It also feels quite heavy and tiresome to drink. If you’re stuck in a Tesco with a shitty booze selection some night, Old Samuel is a worthwhile pickup, but you’re better buying something cheaper or tastier if you can.

Booze Review rating: 6/10 deliciouses

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Parrot Bay Frozen Citrus Daiquiri

While in the booze shop recently, I noticed new pouches of booze by a company named “Parrot Bay”. The pouches contain premixed cocktails which you freeze, smash up a bit while it’s still in the bag and then either pour into a glass or drink straight out of the metal pouch like an adult Capri-Sun. While they looked interesting and I have been wanting to try a Daiquiri for a while now, I decided that at a price of £2.75 for a 250ml drink with only 4.7% alcohol content, it was far too expensive. However, while in the same booze station today, the pouches were reduced to £2, so I decided to take the hit and got a Citrus Daiquiri.

Stupid unopenable pouch

Stupid unopenable pouch

The drinks come in a pouch which resembles a Capri-Sun but without the straw. The packaging says you can drink it from the pouch, but it’s impossible to open without a knife or scissors, so if you’re somewhere you can actually open it, there’s probably a good chance that there’s some kind of drinking receptacle nearby. I was hoping to drink my Daiquiri out of a cocktail glass like in the movies, but I had none. After some internal debate over whether or not a wine glass is a suitable replacement, I found a glass which slightly resembles a massively over-sized cocktail glass with no stem. To prepare the drink, you put it in the freezer for 8 hours and then squeeze it or run hot water over the pouch while it is closed to break up the ice inside. Then you drink it. I didn’t have the patience for such a thing and instead I only put mine in the freezer for about 2 hours, which was long enough to freeze it pretty well.

It doesn't really look like a booze, but it is.

It doesn’t really look like a booze, but it is.

When I opened the pouch I expected it to be of a much more liquid consistency, but it was an icy slush. I dumped the contents of the pouch into a glass and it sat there like a boozy snowball. At first it seemed kind of weird, but I soon realised it was like an alcoholic Slush Puppie, and that made everything seem OK. The Citrus Daiquiri is a pale white colour like cloudy lemonade. There was a slight citrus smell from it, but you wouldn’t notice any smell at all unless you were told it was citrusy. On my first taste I was pretty impressed by how it tasted. It’s tastes pretty much like a Slush Puppie mixed with a slight hint of Fanta Lemon topped off with a nice boozy kick. It’s extremely refreshing and would be massively delicious on a hot summer day.

Overall, Parrot Bay Frozen Citrus Daiquiri is a pretty delicious drink, however it’s also expensive and takes a while to prepare. If they were cheaper I would buy more and see how it tastes when not frozen. At first they seem like a drink you could drink all night, but by the end of the pouch I began to see how you could get sick of them after drinking a few. As a delicious booze snack on a hot day, these are pretty awesome, but they’re in no way a session drink. Lots of points for deliciouseness, but loses one because of the price.

Booze Review rating: 9/10 deliciouses

Posted in Pre-Mixed | 6 Comments

Drinks That Aren’t Drinks: The Rusty Bishop

This edition of Drinks That Aren’t Drinks is slightly different than usual. It’s slightly more expensive, but I decided to include it because it is made out of things I had in the cupboard and wanted to use up and therefore still carries the spirit of Booze Review. This drink started off as a Bermuda Rum Swizzle, but I’ve bastardized it so much that it is now a completely different drink

The unassembled Rusty Bishop

The unassembled Rusty Bishop

Ingredients:
Vodka
Club Orange or any kind of fizzy orange drink (I have also used Sprite with good results)
Grenadine
Angostura Bitters
Lemon (optional)
Lime (optional)
Crushed ice (optional)

Not all screwdrivers are racist

Not all screwdrivers are racist

Start by mixing vodka, orange and ice. You’re pretty much making a screwdriver here, except the orange is carbonated. I guess you could call it a power screwdriver or maybe a sonic screwdriver but that isn’t really important. This drink doesn’t taste too strongly of alcohol so don’t skimp out on the vodka. I’ve made a few of these using Sprite instead of orange and it also tasted pretty good so it’s entirely up to your personal preference. The orange looks better when the grenadine is added but if you’re reading Booze Review then you probably don’t care how beautiful your drink is. I guess I could add umbrellas and coat the rim of the glass in coloured sugar, but for now I’m going to keep it simple and only include 7 ingredients.

Kind of like a Tequila Sunrise without the tequila

Kind of like a Tequila Sunrise without the tequila

Next add a splash of grenadine. I’m fairly shitty at pouring grenadine and always end up pouring far too much into the glass but this time it went pretty well. Adding too much leaves a really sweet syrup at the bottom of the glass so try to avoid fucking it up if you can. I’ve been trying to use up my bottle of grenadine for quite some time but unfortunately a little goes a long way and you can’t just add lots of it like you can with vodka. I’m hoping that at this rate it might be finished by Christmas but I’m worried that by then I’ll have developed a taste for it and the whole cycle will start over again.

Almost finished!

Almost finished!

Now you add bitters. I’m not really sure how to use bitters so I probably use too much. I usually add about 6 dashes which was originally enough to make an entire pitcher of Bermuda Rum Swizzles, but as long as it tastes fine I don’t really care. The bitters will float at the top, so give it a quick stir. You can just give the top a quick stir if you want to keep the Tequila Sunrise appearance or you can stir the whole thing if you don’t give a shit. I once sniffed a bottle of Angostura Bitters and felt extremely light headed, so you might want to try that while you’re at it.

The Rusty Bishop in its native habitat

The Rusty Bishop in its native habitat

The drink is pretty much finished now, but I’ve been adding slices of lemon and lime recently because if I’m going to all the effort of making this drink then I might as well go all the way and have plants floating in it. When I was buying the lemon and lime, the woman behind the counter looked at them both and said “A lemon and a lime” in a really disappointed tone as if she knew damn well they were going into some poorly thought out drink. I guess I had the last laugh since I’m drunk and she isn’t.

Overall the Rusty Bishop is a surprisingly good drink for something thrown together from unwanted ingredients. It takes most of its flavour from the orange and grenadine. It tastes slightly of those orange flavour vitamin tablets which dissolve in water, but it’s best if you try not to think about that while drinking it. The end can get pretty sickening from the grenadine which sinks to the bottom, but I suspect this is because of my shitty pouring. If you begin to get sick of drinking Rusty Bishops, you can start dropping a few of the ingredients, probably the grenadine, and have a normal drink. The Rusty Bishop is kind of time consuming, but it’s good for cleaning out the cupboard. It probably isn’t a great thing to order at a bar, but for drinking alone where you can hide your shame, it’s quite tasty.

Booze Review rating: 8/10 deliciouses

Posted in Drinks That Aren't Drinks | Leave a comment

Svenzka Vodka

Today’s booze is Svenzka Vodka. I had originally wanted to buy a bottle of Boru Vodka on sale at £12 but unfortunately there was none left, so after considering a bottle of Smirnoff for £11.99, I noticed a bottle of Svenzka (37.5%) for only £11.79. Svenzka is a vodka which is always there, but I’ve never bought it as it never stands out any more than the other cheap vodkas.

It's really hard to take a good picture of the bottle

It’s really hard to take a good picture of the bottle

There isn’t much information on the bottle, only really saying that it was founded in 1866 and is made in Scotland. The whole bottle gives off a vibe that it’s going to be pretty similar to Glen’s Vodka. The bottle is the same shape, the cap design is pretty similar, they’re both Scottish, same strength… I guess we wont know until we try it!

Svenzka smells like a cheap vodka, but it much less aggressive. It smells like it might be made from molasses but there isn’t any mention of it on the bottle. Svenzka goes down surprisingly smoothly, with a burn which develops slowly. There is a slight sweet taste, but overall it’s a very neutral vodka.

There isn’t really much to say about Svenzka. It’s cheap, inoffensive and gets the job done. Overall it is quite similar to Kulov but slightly smoother. If I was drinking straight, I’d chose the Svenzka, but both are excellent.

Booze Review rating: 8/10 deliciouses

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Argus Full Light Premium Beer

I was casually strolling through Lidl when I noticed a new addition to their booze aisle. Argus Premium Lager is a 5% booze costing 99p for a 500ml can. At first I wasn’t really interested in trying it, but after seeing the words “EXCELLENT TASTE” on the label, I could resist picking up a can. It was difficult to find a can which wasn’t dented, but after several hours I was able to find one.

BEER BIER CERVEZA PIWO SÖR PIVO БИРА BERE

BEER BIER CERVEZA PIWO SÖR PIVO БИРА BERE

The first thing you’ll notice about the beer is that its name closely resembles that of the major catalog retailer, Argos. The can also gives the idea that it will taste like something they brewed. The side of the can is covered by a sticker containing English versions of the ingredients and warning not to get shitfaced if you’re pregnant. The top of the can has the word “BEER” printed in 8 different languages, only one of which is English On closer inspection, this seems to be a Polish beer, but I’m still expecting it to be awful despite the label’s promise of excellence.

Argus is kind of dark for a lager, but it looks pretty good. It doesn’t form much head, but at this point I’m fairly certain it’s because of these shitty plastic cups I bought from Poundland. The beer smells pretty neutral, which is a good thing as I was expecting some pissy aroma. Tastewise, Argus is quite tasteless with soapy aftertones, leading to a bathwatery finish. It actually isn’t too bad and I’d rank it quite highly amongst cheap, watery lagers. It seems quite light too, so I can see Argus being a good choice if you’re planning to drink lager all day. I still wouldn’t describe the taste as “excellent” so they might want to change it to say “ACCEPTABLE TASTE”.

Despite the shitty name, Argus is a pretty decent lager. It’s kind of expensive, but Argus seems like a great choice for Summer drinking and I’ll probably throw a few cans in the fridge when it gets hotter. I’d probably prefer to drink Argus over Grafenwalder, but unfortunately neither of them are as alcoholic as Vodka.

Booze Review rating: 6/10 deliciouses

Posted in Lager, Lidl | Leave a comment

Alhambra Premium Lager

Today we’re joined with a nice big bottle of Alhambra Premium Lager. I don’t remember how much this cost, but as it looks fairly shitty, it couldn’t have cost much more than £3. Alhambra comes in a 1 litre bottle containing 4.6% lager. It looks kind of like one of those “Forties” Americans are always going on about, but unfortunately they are impossible to find here, so essentially it’s just a big bottle of shit beer.

Delicious hot hamwater

Delicious hot hamwater

Normally I am cautious of Spanish beers as everything I’ve had has tasted like pissy shitwater (although my experience is limited to the likes of San Miguel) but the large bottle convinced me that it would be worthwhile. There isn’t much information on the bottle, but a little internetting suggests that it is made by Carlsberg and San Miguel. As there isn’t anything to make fun of on the label, we’ll skip straight to drinking it.

Alhambra doesn’t have much of a smell but there is a slightly sweet scent, as well as a usual cheap lager aroma. The beer seemed to form a head of larger bubbles when it was poured, but this is possibly because I chilled it quickly in the freezer for 15 minutes so I didn’t have to drink it warm.  Overall it looks quite bland. I’m not sure what’s different about it, but it looks much more boring than other beers. At first taste I was pleased with the beer. It isn’t a super flavoursome beer, but it is quite a standard lager. Alhambra is a lager without much taste, which could be considered a bad thing, but I don’t expect cheap lagers to taste great and I would much prefer a watery, tasteless lager over a really grassy tasting lager such as Carlsberg or Stella Artois. About half way through the first glass, Alhambra begins to develop a sweet taste. It isn’t overpowering but it is quite strange. By the end of the glass it doesn’t really taste too much different, whereas with other beers I find the end of the glass to be warm and horrible. Alhambra isn’t an overly flavoursome beer, but it seems like a perfectly swallowable summer beer.

Overall, Alhambra is a pretty decent beer. Assuming I didn’t spend a huge amount on it, Alhambra is top of its class (assuming its class is shitty lagers). As I only have the one bottle I don’t know if the sweetness would become sickening if drinking it all night, but as a quick refreshing beer, Alhambra is flavourless enough to guzzle and provide a quick buzz.

Booze Review rating: 7/10 deliciouses

Posted in Lager | 2 Comments