A few new scotches worth a try (preferably with Advil handy)

The Classic Malts Collection boasts an enviable lineup of single malts from all over Scotland, so when the company debuted 11 new limited expressions this week, we took notice. After a lot of sipping—and a full day of recovery—we've managed to single out the best of the best. (Fair warning: Three are cask-strength—hence the recovery time.)

One of our all-time favorite distilleries, Lagavulin, is launching a bold new 12-year, four years younger than its flagship quaff. We like the 16-year plenty, but the new 12 is delicious, too—smoky, oily, and, despite its younger age, very complex. From Caol Ila, a lesser-known Islay distillery, comes an uncharacteristic new 10-year. It's distilled without peat, and what remains is buttery and grassy, with undercurrents of salty caramel. The Eastern Highlands' tiny Royal Lochnagar distillery finally reaches American soil with its lovely Selected Reserve. Aged in sherry and bourbon casks and bottled at a refined 43 percent, Lochnagar is rich, fruity, and brambly, an excellent way to finish a meal. Finally, an incredibly rare 30-year from Port Ellen, Islay's renowned "ghost" distillery, is worth the hefty investment. Port Ellen closed its doors in 1983; it's selling its way through the remaining stock, but when the stuff's gone, it's gone. The 30-year—with notes of smoke, nuts, and bacon—is too good to miss. It's special-occasion scotch, one to break out at the wedding or the maternity ward. Or today at 4:59, if you like. It's your wallet.
Lagavulin 12-Year-Old, $75; Caol Ila unpeated 10-Year-Old, $60; Royal Lochnagar Selected Reserve, $210; Port Ellen 30-Year-Old, $370; for more information, visit malts.com

Photo: Courtesy of Classic Malts
Tags: Drink

A Speyside season's greeting


The leaves are turning, the days are getting shorter, there's an invigorating zip in the air: No question about it, it's fall—or, as we prefer to call it around these parts, whisky season. Here to kick it off in style is the newest offering from The Balvenie, one of the subtlest malts of the Speyside region (basically the whisky capital of Scotland). The 17-year-old Madeira Cask, the latest in a series of limited-edition releases finished in different woods, builds on The Balvenie's butterscotch vibe with spicy notes of fig, raisin, and—excuse the sommelier talk—warm apple pie. All of which puts us in mind of Thanksgiving dinner—not that the stuff will last till then. Good luck keeping this one on hand through Halloween.
The Balvenie Madeira Cask 17-year, $120, thebalvenie.com

Photo: Courtesy of the Balvenie
Tags: Drink

Where Filson meets a French 75

PDT proprietor Jim Meehan—recently voted best bartender in America at New Orleans' Tales of the Cocktail mixologists' convention—spends a lot of time traveling the world for bartending tutorials, competitions, and other high-test boozing functions. Nice job, if you can get it. But when your trade requires a selection of tools and supplies that ranges from the Dickensian to the Jetsonian, the old notion of "traveling in style" goes out the window. "For years, I've used equipment designed for cooks, along with backpacks and standard luggage," Meehan says. "And frankly, I was tired of looking like I was ready to board a plane when I arrived." So Meehan called up the leather artisans at Virginia's Moore & Giles and designed the bag he needed. After months of wear-testing (and pour-testing) various prototypes, Meehan has settled on a final version, which he's proclaimed the best possible thing to lift your spirits. The modular Meehan Utility Bag and Bar Roll-Up fits a cutting board, a couple of bitters bottles, and a full bartender's tool kit of knives and function-specific tools within the roll-up component. Whether you need all those accoutrements for the average weekend trip is up for debate—but the bag will just as easily fit a 15-inch laptop, your passport, and a few days' worth of clothes. So you're not a professional bartender…yet. With the Meehan bag, you'll be ready to pursue that as Plan B. We'll drink to that.
Meehan Utility Bag, $660, and Bar Roll-Up, $150 ($740 when purchased together), available tomorrow, mooreandgilesinc.com/bags

Photo: Courtesy of Moore & Giles
Tags: Drink, Fashion

La fete le Fooding


"We know that New York is the best city in the world," says Alexandre Cammas, founder of the Parisian dining-guide-cum-advocacy-group Le Fooding. For good eating—and a good party—we've got no argument. NYC's dining scene boasts Momofuku's David Chang, Minetta Tavern's Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr, WD-50's Wylie Dufresne, and Daniel Boulud. All of them—and more—will be cooking over the course of Le Fooding's first-ever U.S. event, Le Fooding d'Amour Paris-New York, which begins tonight at P.S. 1. In the spirit of internationalism, they'll be joined by some less-familiar names from Paris: William Ledeuil from Ze Kitchen Galerie, Stéphane Jégo from L'Ami Jean, Inaki Aizpitarte from Le Chateaubriand. (Again, just a selection.) Because man does not live by bread (and meat) alone, there's more: cocktails courtesy of the guys from Dutch Kills and Le Plaza Athénée; DJ sets from Paul Sevigny, André, and LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. If the whole thing sounds more like a heavy night on the town than a white-napkin dinner, that's no accident. Le Fooding's express mission is to shake up the traditional, hidebound world of French dining—to celebrate creative young talent and bring the party to the table. (Hence the neologistic name: "food" + "feeling.") "Paris was very sleepy," Cammas says. "You [still] see all the service"—the proper tablecloths, the dusty formality—"à la française. Maybe New York is fed up with that." At last night's preview dinner at Brooklyn's Vinegar Hill House, Chang held court at a table of chefs as they were serenaded by an electric accordionist with a light-up instrument—Piaf on acid. Toward the end of the night, Boulud ambled out to say hello and found himself wearing an elaborately constructed balloon-animal hat. Maybe it was anti-service. Or maybe it was all the Veuve Clicquot.

Le Fooding d'Amour Paris-New York, September 25 and 26, P.S. 1, 22-25 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, (718) 784-2084, ps1.org; tickets, $30 to $60, available at the door; lefoodingdamour.com

Photo: lefooding.com
Tags: Drink, Media

One More Thing...


Spotted after our "In the Closet" shoot at the Smile yesterday: rations for Rogan Gregory's birthday party, hosted by the café that night. Guess those forties he served at his store opening weren't just for show.

Photo: Josh Peskowitz

Gaelic for "tasty"


The Glenlivet's new Nàdurra Triumph 1991 hits stores this fall, and like the original Nàdurra (Gaelic for "natural"), this one is non-chill filtered (a whisky-geek technicality) and bottled at full strength. (In other words, natural.) Unlike the original, Triumph is an American exclusive, sourced only from a single strain of barley—that would be Triumph barley, no longer used at the distillery—and all taken from casks sealed in 1991. It's got notes of apple, pear, and wood, light and bright—an elegant tipple for longtime fans and newbies alike. And if such things impress you, it's a "limited" release—though with 1,500 cases on hand, that might be stretching the term a bit. Then again, these continue to be serious, whisky-drinking times.
$85, available in November; glenlivet.com

Photo: Courtesy of Glenlivet
Tags: Drink, Vices

Finally, something worth buying at the airport

If Beckett were writing today, he might've called his masterpiece Waiting for Alitalia Flight 973. Few places manage to contain as much existential dread as the modern airport—how else do you explain those copious opportunities to shop and drink? And if those pursuits are all it takes to cure your blues, you may well enjoy the Macallan's new 1824 Collection, which is available only at duty-free shops. The Macallan, famous for its sherry cask aging, uses American bourbon barrels here, creating pleasing variations on its usual theme. The Select Oak, the lightest of the bunch, is balanced, soft-spoken, and redolent of apricot and spice. The Whiskey Maker's Edition is brassier, with gingersnap notes and a mellow finish. Our favorite, the Estate Reserve, is a gentle giant—a layered, chocolaty offspring of the classic Macallan that you'll taste with your whole mouth. (Mr. Business Class may want to wait for October, when the rarest—and priciest—of the group, the Limited Release, joins the other three.) Too bad they make you wait till you get to your destination to open the bottle.
Select Oak, $65; Whiskey Maker's Edition, $96.50; Estate Reserve, $230; and Limited Release, $2,000; for more info, visit themacallan.com</p>

Photo: Courtesy of The Macallan
Tags: Drink, Travel

One More Thing...


Quentin Tarantino's Russian Dewar's campaign (click to enlarge). Guess noted overseas pitchman Brad Pitt gave him a few foreign-ad tips on the set of Inglourious Basterds.

Photo: Dewar's
Tags: Drink, Media

Roll out the barrels

While we don't know the agency responsible for Guinness' golden age of advertising, we imagine it's something like the U.K. version of Sterling Cooper. In any case, bless them: While we waste our time in petty debates over whether our beer tastes great or is merely less filling, they cut to the heart of the matter. Aside from petty things like medical evidence to the contrary, who's to argue with the "emotional truth" of "Guinness Is Good for You"? A new exhibit at London's Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, "The Art of Guinness," pays tribute to the core message of the stout, now celebrating its 250th anniversary. If you can't make it over, we hope you can find it in your heart to raise a glass of your own this weekend. Just don't try this (pictured) at home.
Through Oct. 25; Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, 2 Colville Mews, London W11 2AR; 44 (0)20-7908-0880, museumofbrands.com

[via Cool Hunting]

Photo: Guinness
Tags: Art, Drink, Media

Absolut Defense


'Tis the season to get armored. The Londoners at Creative Review spotted Absolut Vodka's newest special edition, Absolut Rock, which comes to Selfridges this September wearing a leatherette jacket covered in studs. It looks not unlike a Kiss tour outfit—or, for that matter, something out of Gareth Pugh's recent collection. Guess we're not the only ones getting in on the Protection Racket this fall.

Check out our Fall 2009 Trend Reports for more.

Photo: Courtesy of Absolut
Tags: Drink, Fashion
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