If you find yourself passing through Dubai and are looking for a lux way to spend $195,000, a Balthazar of 2009 Château Margaux could be a perfect memento. The first-ever Balthazar (equivalent to 16 bottles) of Château Margaux claims to be the world’s most expensive single bottle of wine to be sold in a retail store. To sweeten the deal, not only does your investment give you 12 litres of a wine widely reputed to be one of the best ever produced, but also includes a first class plane ticket to France to take a private tour of Margaux’s cellars and vineyard, plus dinner at the château hosted by Paul Pontallier. As you begin a long flight home you can rest content knowing only six Balthazars have been produced, only three were offered for sale, and one is waiting for you upon exiting First Class.
Situated on the isolated, windswept Isle of Skye, the Talisker name has always carried an air of mystery and moody intrigue. With the release of Talisker Storm, the distillery seeks to bottle up the rugged, dramatic terrain of the foreboding island from where it hails. Immediately intense and smoky, this unique single malt shows a vibrant, sea-salty nose that smoothly balances Talisker’s signature warm sweetness. The lack of an age statement reinforces the unbridled character of the island, and more importantly, allows the distiller greater flexibility to introduce a range of flavors based on maturity, rather than age. Talisker Storm pushes the envelope with intense flavors sure to exhilarate single malt fans. Or more poetically, to experience Talisker Storm is to feel the power of the sea.
Wine has a fascinating way of both transcending boundaries and adhering to tradition. Case in point, California Square has launched a line of unconventional square bottles filled with classic CA wine. The brand challenges the consumer to shake up the common preconceptions of what wine should look like, in a way that not only makes sense, but swaps the stodgy “square” looking wine bottles for something hip and cool. With all innovation in packaging comes sharp skepticism- and for this reason California Square knows the wine inside must over deliver. Quality wine + eco friendly benefits + retro chic design? California Square succeeds in being anything but square.
Drink Me Magazine Review 95/100
Vanilla, indeed. But don’t be surprised when the black coffee flexes its muscles near the end. This viscous, slow-sipper is a perfect prelude to hibernation. Expect part beer, part milkshake, 100% unforgettable. 10% ABV. -BJ
Patience is a virtue. Cameron Hughes definitely knows the truth to this adage. The Cameron Hughes Lot 500 Cabernet Sauvignon ($29), released this month, marks the 500th wine produced under the Cameron Hughes Lot Series. More impressively though, it marks a milestone- the Napa Valley milestone. For 10 years his sights were set on Napa Valley, but as a negociant whose MO was to find exceptional juice at an approachable price, Napa always eluded him. Unwilling to compromise quality or price point, he waited. Until now. The 2011 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the heart of Oakville, home of the first 100 point wine. After a decade of patiently waiting for the opportunity to buy fruit from this famed vineyard, it’s only fitting it happened at Lot 500. A perfectly proportioned wine, with elegant tannin structure and tremendous depth, and at $29, glorious.
Evian, always the sophisticated lifestyle accessory, goes glam for this Limited Edition Elie SAAB glass bottle, the latest in a series of partnerships with international fashion brands. The curvaceous bottle is covered in a signature Elie SAAB lace pattern, an homage to the feminine and elegant designs featured so prominently in the brand’s collections. The partnership symbolizes the immaculate craftsmanship, and mutual sophistication that both Elie SAAB and evian are renowned for. The 2014 Limited Edition bottle by ELIE SAAB will be available beginning October 2013.
When asked to describe his portfolio of wines, Jordan Kivelstadt, the gregarious and talented winemaker behind Kivelstadt Cellars, spiritedly describes them as “as eclectic as the people who make them.” While this sentiment is certainly reflected in the unique varietals and fresh take on the wine industry, his humble description is lacking some important adjectives. More aptly, the Kivelstadt Cellars wines are as charming, balanced and interesting as the family behind them. These wines have all the characteristics to become your go-to wines: exciting, attractive and approachable, or in other words, the whole package.
With the return of cocktail culture came the tales of yore: gunslinging sheriffs, mad-cap outlaws and wild women. And whiskey. Always whiskey. Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye is a throwback to the bygone days when the Rock & Rye – a cocktail of rye, sweetened with rock candy- was served as medicine (medicine for ailments, medicine for the soul). In this updated version, a backbone of straight rye whiskey is macerated with orange peels before being infused with honey and a hint of horehound. The spicy rye is nicely balanced with the flavors of citrus, grapefruit and a hint of sweetness. Spooned into tea or sipped straight, it’s almost worth getting the sniffles for.
Jack Daniels has a knack for delivering the proverbial “hair on your chest” that you’d expect from drinking quality whiskey made in a rural dry-county in Tennessee. This winter however, Jack Daniels Winter Jack Tennessee Cider ($18) promises to keep you warm, toasty, and satisfied without the burly look. A perfect blend of apple cider liqueur, Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey and spices, Winter Jack evokes the taste of a classic holiday pie. Best when served warm. 30 Proof. Available through February in select markets.
Self-professed Bourbon enthusiasts might scoff at the idea of a flavored newcomer entering the line-up of a tried & true premium brand; however, a judgmental attitude about the Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon will leave you missing out. Born out of Booker Noe’s nostalgia for the smokehouse and the sugar maples on the family property, Knob Creek makes its first foray into flavored bourbon. A hint of maple and subdued smokiness effortlessly turns “bourbon, neat” into a chic, seasonal cocktail. 90 proof.
If your city was a flavor a vodka, what would it be? According to the limited-edition Absolut Chicago, the Swedes think Chicago should be green olives and rosemary- or in their words “a unique blend of the past with the cutting edge of right now…” While we wholeheartedly agree these flavors make a tasty bloody or classic martini, we’re left wondering (with the rest of the world) who vetoed the flavors of deep-dish pizza, Italian beef and hot dogs? Chicago got the sophisticated end of the stick on this one. Packaged in a limited edition bottle splashed with a cityscape design, Absolut Chicago is the seventh city-inspired flavor the company has introduced.