September 08, 2011
Ice, Ice, Baby. Photo courtesy of Moët & Chandon.
Tennis's US Open is no stranger to fashion faux pas: See Andre Agassi's pleated-denim-over-spandex getup, anything Bethanie Mattek-Sands wears and countless spectators who show up dressed ready to play, as if Rafael Nadal just might ask them to hit a few balls at any moment. This year, the tournament is serving what many wine snobs would consider a beverage blunder: Champagne on the rocks. But this is no sparkling slip-up. Served in large white goblets, Moët & Chandon's new Ice Imperial—a semisweet bubbly blended specifically for drinking over ice—is making the rounds at Flushing Meadows. It's been free-flowing in the Moët & Chandon VIP suite and is being poured, for $22 a glass, at the champagne bar in front of Arthur Ashe Stadium. Our assessment: A few cubes smoothed and mellowed the drink, unleashing a tropical fruit salad of flavor—just the thing for enduring the Open's sunniest days. moet.com.
Want to play with the pros at the US Open? Here's your chance
October 04, 2012
Annie Leibovitz for The Macallan Masters of Photography
Combining singular whisky with standout photography, The Macallan Masters of Photography series marks its third installment with a quartet of images by Annie Leibovitz accompanying four single-cask Scotches. Featuring actor Kevin McKidd, who hails from Elgin, Scotland, and currently stars on Grey’s Anatomy, the images were shot in and around New York with nods to the Scottish heritage.
The campaign pairs 1,000 bottles of limited-edition whiskies ($2,750 each) with an 11-by-14-inch print signed by Leibovitz that echoes the mood of its corresponding Scotch. (The photographs also appear on the labels.) A spicy 1989 Sherry Butt has aromas of chocolate, oranges and dates and teams up with a smoldering shot of McKidd in the private upstate gallery of artist Frederic Edwin Church, whose Niagara Falls, from the American Side hangs in the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh. The 1991 Sherry Oak Puncheon highlights ginger and cinnamon on the palate, and apples, oak and dried fruits on the nose, and is paired with a photo of McKidd shot in the convivial Red Dot Bar in Hudson, New York. The 1995 Sherry Oak Hoghead, characterized by toasted apple, ginger and oak, accompanies a shot reminiscent of novelist Sir Walter Scott’s library at his home in Abbotsford, Scotland. And an image of the actor above Tudor City accompanies the 1996 American Oak Butt, which tastes of oak, cinnamon, toffee and citrus.
Lending further authenticity to the story, McKidd once worked for the distillery as a young man—a connection that forges an even deeper bond between the bottles and the vision. “Working with one of the world’s most influential photographers has exceeded all expectations,” says Ken Grier, director of malts at spirits company The Edrington Group. “Annie Leibovitz has captured The Macallan moment in her own unique way.” themastersofphotography.com; themacallan.com.
August 08, 2013
George Clooney’s signature is barely legible in the lower left-hand corner of the Casamigos label, which is fine because his involvement in this excellent tequila is sort of beside the point. In fact, that is the last time I’ll mention Clooney and his Casamigos cofounder, Rande Gerber, entrepreneur and husband of Cindy Crawford (whose signature is on the right-hand side of the label). It’s for the good of the brand’s reposado and blanco tequilas: Neither deserves to be grouped with celebrity-backed booze like Danny DeVito’s Limoncello and Diddy’s Cîroc coconut-flavored vodka.
You can taste the agave in both the oaked an un-oaked versions—rich, sweet and slightly vegetal, extending through a long and uncommonly smooth finish. The reposado in particular is the kind of bottle that disappears at parties, spirited off the bar by a discerning drinker who takes one sip, understands they’ve hit the jackpot and finishes whatever is left in a corner with a friend or a significant other. I’ve watched this happen twice, followed, on both occasions, by an inquiry from the offenders asking where they could get more of “that George Clooney tequila.” So I’ll invoke Gerber and Clooney just once more, this time with a humble request: Please send more. casamigostequila.com.
October 28, 2013
Courtesy of Glenmorangie
In 1987, Glenmorangie released a revolutionary single-malt Scotch whisky that had been aged in not only a standard American oak barrel but also in a former sherry cask. The use of two different types of barrels, which the company claims was the first of its kind for a Scotch, has now become a standard technique—and that 1963 vintage has become legendary.
To commemorate this pioneering spirit, the brand is releasing 50 bottles ($3,600 each) of the whisky, 20 of which will be available in the United States starting in November. “The re-release of Glenmorangie 1963 gives single-malt whisky aficionados a unique opportunity to own and enjoy a truly groundbreaking Scotch whisky,” says brand director Maxime Balay.
The aroma of toasted coconut, vanilla fudge, cherries, dates, marzipan and walnuts characterizes the nose. It is rich yet easy to drink, with fruit flavors (pineapple, caramelized oranges) mingling with sharp spices like cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Sophisticated, a bit complicated and rare, 1963 might be the most interesting dram you pour this year. glenmorangie.com.
November 11, 2013
Courtesy of Casa Dragones
As if an elegant bottle of Casa Dragones tequila isn’t enough, the exclusive spirit meant for sipping (not shooting) is offering even more this holiday season. Its special gift box ($275), packaged in the brand’s signature blue, contains a bottle of the 100-percent blue-agave Joven tequila along with a pair of custom Riedel glasses—hand-engraved in traditional Mexican pepita style—made especially for tasting.
Produced in small batches, Casa Dragones was founded in 2008 (CEO Bertha González Nieves is the first female maestra tequilera) and begins with silver tequila, which is finished with a touch of extra añejo that has mellowed in American oak barrels for five years. The result is a superbly smooth flavor (the expected bite is nearly nonexistent)—and a perfect addition to any collection. casadragones.com/gift.
November 25, 2013
The Macallan Masters of Photography Elliott Erwitt Edition
If there’s one thing that excellent photography and choice Scotch have in common, it’s the knowledge that timing is everything. For the fourth edition of its Masters of Photography collection, The Macallan offers its most ambitious campaign yet, releasing 58 brand-new single-cask whiskies in collaboration with photographer Elliott Erwitt, who recognizes that it’s more than just timing that the two crafts share. “It’s the ability to create something extraordinary out of the ordinary,” he says.
The brand commissioned the photographer to record the spirit of Scotland in 158 images shot from around the country. Fifty-eight of his favorite photographs were then paired with a limited-edition Scotch, handpicked by the brand’s whisky maker Bob Dalgarno.
“I always say that whisky enables you to take a journey,” Dalgarno says. “Upon the initial nosing I was able to picture myself in the frame [of Erwitt’s images]. This allowed me to use the whisky to help describe the surroundings.”
For instance, a photograph of a nude woman running on a beach was paired with a whisky displaying “no inhibitions,” characterized by hints of salt and a “cheeky sweet vanilla core.” Each of the single malts comes in a handmade glass flask tucked within the pages of Erwitt’s photo-archival book ($1,500). The corresponding 11-inch-by-14-inch print signed by the photographer completes the package. Only 35 of each of the exclusive pairings were made. themacallan.com.