Review: Cotton Pirate Waistcoat

Rating: ★★★½☆
Flying Canoe Traders

To date, I’ve had the great pleasure of reviewing several Flying Canoe products – a shirt, some slops, buckle shoes, and even sailor’s bags. If I were to select one over-riding feature that they all share it would without question be durability. To a product, each has been made from heavy duty materials, and the stitching is amongst the strongest I’ve ever seen – wear points are even pre-patched and multi-seamed, just to make sure. I’ve reviewed many fine articles of pirate clothing from several manufacturers, and Flying Canoe remains the hands down winner when it comes to rugged tailoring.

The Flying Canoe sleeveless cotton waistcoat carries on in this fine tradition. Being made from a heavy canvas material, it does bear some notable stiffness when fresh off the rack – a few washings and wearings softened it up a bit. It then remains on the stiff end of the spectrum, but not overly so. Continue reading

Review: Sea Wynde

Rating: ★★★★½
Sea Wynde

Click to buy!
from Internet Wines and Spirits

If for nothing else, Sea Wynde rum distinguishes itself with one of the cleverest ways of making a boring, basic wine-type bottle interesting. The metal label is just awsome – like a piece of medieval armor for some sort of dark-ages pirate. But happily, this is hardly the only thing distinctive about this rum.

Sea Wynde is actually quite deceptive – it’s soft amber color give the appearance of a gentle spirit (hey, a double meaning!), but one pop of the cork and a quick sniff later clearly conveys this rum to be anything but. It smells of a stark contrast to itself, almost like a dual personality. On the one hand, the overt sweetness of liquour-like rums is present (such as is common amongst east indian rums, or Ron Zacapa), while there is also a strong sense of pepper. Pepperiness and Sweetness are both common amongst rums, but I generally consider them to be opposite ends of the spectrum, and rarely have I encountered them so overtly present in the same bottle. Continue reading

Review: Quelch’s Gold

Rating: ★★★½☆
Quelch’s Gold: Piracy, Greed, and Betrayal in Colonial New England
by Clifford Beal

It was the golden age of Piracy – a privateer out of New England went “freelance”, violating his letter of marque and plundering a fortune in Portuguese gold. Upon his return home, he was tried and sentenced amongst a deafening uproar of injustice in a region only recently recovering from the Salem Witch Trials. To this day, folks still seek the gold these pirates left behind, while living in a nation founded partly on sparks generated by this very pirate’s conviction. And odds are, you don’t have a clue who I’m talking about.

John Quelch was in many ways the very embodiment of a 1704 pirate. Beginning as a legal privateer, he followed much in the footsteps of his more famous predecessor Captain Kidd as he abandoned the terms of his commission in favor of hunting more lucrative prey. The evidence is pretty clear, and quite damning. That Quelch and his men, armed with a Letter of Marque to hunt the French in the Northern Atlantic instead headed south to Brazil to plunder Portuguese gold is pretty much beyond question. And yet, in the eyes of history this is far from an open-and-shut case, leaving many questions. Continue reading

Review: The Pyrates Way Magazine

Rating: ★★★☆☆
The Pyrates Way Magazine

Note: This is the second incarnation of this review – the first being limited to a review of the first issue alone. What follows is a better rounded view of the magazine as a whole.

Another note: As of 2009-2010, Pyrates Magazine is dreadfully behind schedule. Issue 11 (Spring 2009) didn’t ship until Spring of 2010. Currently their website lists a catch-up period with issue 12-16 all coming out in spring/summer 2010, but as of this moment (July 17th, 2010) none has yet manifested.

The Pyrates Way – A Magazine FOR Pyrates Created BY Pyrates!

The most evil thing about reviewing a magazine is that one issue is not the same as the next. And while one would hope for some level of consistency with regards to quality, this is not always the case – especially for a fledgeling publication that may still be finding its footing. In my original review of Pyrates Way’s premeire issue I noted that I found the issue to be entertaining and informative, but significantly lacking in some of the more refined aspects of the magazine art (quality photography and layout, editing, etc.) Now that Pyrates Way as seen through its first year on the scene with four quarterly issues, it seems appropriate to look back and consider how this magazine has grown into itself. Continue reading

Review: Pirate Doubloons

Rating: ★★★★☆
Northwest Territorial Mint

The problem with having a pocketfull of doubloons is twofold:

1) They’re quite rare
and 2) They’re so bloody expensive.

That’s why almost to the pirate, any of us who want to walk around in our finery with a little jingle in our pockets must settle for some sort of replica. Generally these repicas are either cheap-ass plastic (great for giving away to kids, but pretty unconvincing to anyone over six), or the higher quality metal variety. To my knowledge, most all the metal coins on the market are made from a basic soft metal, then coated with the appropriate gold or silver shine. Generally speaking they serve just fine, but now and then you might want something a tad nicer. Continue reading

Review: 2008 Hot Pirate Babe Calendar

Rating: ★★★★☆
Hot Pirate Babes

As if the year wasn’t going by fast enough, it seems that 2008 calendars are now on the market. It’s a notion I find frightening, but at least the 2008 Hot Pirate Babes Calendar is here to give us a more inviting taste of what’s in store for the coming year.

I’ve previously reviewed the 2007 Hot Pirate Babes Calendar, and I’m pleased to note that 2008 will carry forth in the fine precedent set – that being one of hot babes (appropriately enough) gussied up in pirate gear and holding pirate accessories in pirate settings and striking pirate poses. It’s a simple enough formula (at least on paper), and one that works rather well. Continue reading

Review: Pirates of the Cursed Seas CSG

Rating: ★★★½☆

That I’m only just now reviewing the Pirates Constructable Strategy Games (CSG) is just shameful. Not only has it been out for some years now, but what’s more, I’ve been picking up their ships from Walgreens since the beginning. I’d never actually played the game mind you, but grabbing a pack now and again and assembling the ships to display on my bookshelf was enough to give me a small thrill.

So there you have it – a game you don’t need to actually play to enjoy. But I can’t take the sole blame for not fully appreciating the Pirates CSG. Even their own publicity material admits to being unprepared for their warm reception amongst consumers – their initial game release, planned as a two year run – actually sold out a month BEFORE the official release. And their various themed series’ (Pirates of the Crimson Coast, Pirates of the Frozen North, Pirates of the Ocean’s Edge, etc. etc.) have left many at a loss to determine what to actually call the overall game (“That Pirate Game” seems to be popular, again according to publicity materials.) Continue reading

Review: Pegleg Pete’s Deck of Royal Rogues Pirate Playing Cards

Rating: ★★★★★

No matter what your lot in life, there’s surely a deck of cards out there for you. This holds true even for us pirate-enthusiasts. And this is nothing new – Disney has long been making decks of cards based on Pirates of the Caribbean (both the movies and the ride), and there’s even a non-Disney deck floating around most novelty stores that features images from famous pirate woodcuts. The problem is, the Disney decks suck. And the other deck I mentioned – it’s decent, but nothing stellar. I want a pirate deck worth owning, and finally one has arrived.

Pegleg Pete’s Deck of Royal Rogues is a proper deck of cards – four suits, two jokers… the whole shabang. It was designed from the ground up, rather than from a normal deck with pirate images superimposed here and there – the suits are all the familiar clubs, spades, and whatnot – but rendered anew with a piratey flair. The face cards are all mirror imaged from top to bottom, just like a traditional deck, but instead of the line-drawn kings and queen, it’s skallywaggs and cutthroats ranging in emotion from amused to bloodthirsty. Continue reading