Manual to Man’s Drinks (for the Holidays)

THE Young / Modern Gentleman proves his savvy by simple and cunning ways; an area that is most associated with a Gentleman’s ability is the wet-bar. Every Gentleman should have one or two things on his sleeve that make him standout from his peers. In this Holiday Season we present three drinks which all Gentlemen should know for this holiday season:

The Coconut Eggnog

  • 8oz/1Cup Evaporated Milk
  • 8oz Coconut Cream (sweetened coconut cream/ Coco Lopez)
  • 8oz Coconut Milk
  • 4 oz Sugar
  • 1 bottle/750ml White Rum (Bacardi, Palo Viejo etc)
  • 6 egg Yolks
  • 3 pinches of ground Cinnamon
    • Mix in a blender and blend for 1 minute on high, make in batches I necessary. Cool and enjoy. (will last several weeks).

The Hard Mulled Cider

  • 1 part Apple Cider/ Fresh Apple Juice
  • ½ Part Bourbon
  • ½ C / 4 oz Brown Sugar
  • 2 Cloves, Star Anise, 2 Ginger slices 2 Cinnamon sticks
    • In a Sauce pan combine all (except Bourbon) and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Fish out the solids and add the Bourbon. Keep warm and serve in mugs.

The Mint Hot Chocolate Cup

  • 1 quart / 4 cups / 32oz Milk or half and half
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate (Valrhona or Sharffenberger)
  • 6 oz Mint Schnapps
  • 3 oz Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
    • Heat 8oz of the milk/half and half in small sauce pan in low heat and add chocolate, stir until all melted; Do not boil. Add the rest of the milk and stir.
    • Take six mugs and pour the liqueurs (schanps and Godiva) into each and pour the hot chocolate into each.
    • Top with freshly whipped cream and crushed candy canes (hint, break them up, put into zip-loc bags and go to town with the back of a wooden spoon on them).

Winter Fragrance Round-up 2011 – Luckyscent’s got your gift…

From our friends at Luckyscent.com we have a round-up of fantastic holiday/winter-worthy fragrances that are perfect your our Gentlemen squadron and that special ladies in their lives…

From www.Luckyscent.com

Cozy up to our December releases:

New Releases for December

1 Frapin 1697 – “Eau de Parfum Edition” – With the success of the limited production 1697 Parfum, Frapin has now permanently added the 1697 Eau de Parfum version to its main collection. A must try! 2 Comme des Garcons – “Eau de Parfum” – A unique Comme des Garcons creation: At once fresh, and then laundry-like, then part almondy-sweet, the new Eau de Parfum twists and turns upon the first spritz. Strangely addictive! 3 Idole de Lubin – “Eau de Parfum” – New and re-mixed! A stronger, more resinous and intense variation on the best selling Idole Eau de Toilette version. Incredible.

4 Parfum d’Empire – “Azemour” – New! A spicy, exotic orange blossom, one that can be worn all year long. Classic Parfum d’Empire creation: Quality ingredients and gloriously executed.

5 Isabey – “L’ambre de Carthage” – Isabey goes masculine! A mysterious, slightly woody-sweet composition that was brought back to life and re-imagined from the original 1924 formula, where it was first sold at the Isabey storefront in Paris.

BUY HERE

From our friends at Luckyscent.com we have a round-up of fantastic holiday/winter-worthy fragrances that are perfect your our Gentlemen squadron and that special ladies in their lives…

From www.Luckyscent.com

Cozy up to our December releases:

New Releases for December

1 Frapin 1697 – “Eau de Parfum Edition” – With the success of the limited production 1697 Parfum, Frapin has now permanently added the 1697 Eau de Parfum version to its main collection. A must try! 2 Comme des Garcons – “Eau de Parfum” – A unique Comme des Garcons creation: At once fresh, and then laundry-like, then part almondy-sweet, the new Eau de Parfum twists and turns upon the first spritz. Strangely addictive! 3 Idole de Lubin – “Eau de Parfum” – New and re-mixed! A stronger, more resinous and intense variation on the best selling Idole Eau de Toilette version. Incredible.

4 Parfum d’Empire – “Azemour” – New! A spicy, exotic orange blossom, one that can be worn all year long. Classic Parfum d’Empire creation: Quality ingredients and gloriously executed.

5 Isabey – “L’ambre de Carthage” – Isabey goes masculine! A mysterious, slightly woody-sweet composition that was brought back to life and re-imagined from the original 1924 formula, where it was first sold at the Isabey storefront in Paris.

BUY HERE

From our friends at Luckyscent.com we have a round-up of fantastic holiday/winter-worthy fragrances that are perfect your our Gentlemen squadron and that special ladies in their lives…

From http://www.Luckyscent.com

Cozy up to our December releases:

New Releases for December

1 Frapin 1697 – “Eau de Parfum Edition” – With the success of the limited production 1697 Parfum, Frapin has now permanently added the 1697 Eau de Parfum version to its main collection. A must try!

2 Comme des Garcons – “Eau de Parfum” – A unique Comme des Garcons creation: At once fresh, and then laundry-like, then part almondy-sweet, the new Eau de Parfum twists and turns upon the first spritz. Strangely addictive!

3 Idole de Lubin – “Eau de Parfum” – New and re-mixed! A stronger, more resinous and intense variation on the best selling Idole Eau de Toilette version. Incredible.

4 Parfum d’Empire – “Azemour” – New! A spicy, exotic orange blossom, one that can be worn all year long. Classic Parfum d’Empire creation: Quality ingredients and gloriously executed.

5 Isabey – “L’ambre de Carthage” – Isabey goes masculine! A mysterious, slightly woody-sweet composition that was brought back to life and re-imagined from the original 1924 formula, where it was first sold at the Isabey storefront in Paris.


INDEX of SUPERFLUOUS NECESSITIES: The Velvet Slipper

It is said the truly great things in life are things one desires, not things one needs. This can be said for great Bourbon, a fast car or a luxurious smoke.

IT is further said you can tell a lot about a man by his shoes, but what about when shoes need to be 1) comfortable and 2) thoroughly decadent?

What if such a shoe need s to find itself appropriate for the opera and as at home for wearing around the house?

These shoes, potentially, can  be worn with smartly cut dark jeans and a black velvet jacket to go about town and are, not anything a man truly needs, but they still manage to be the perfect gift.

Enter: The Velvet Slipper.

True, the notion of a man in a seemingly precious pair of slippers is enough to  send shudders down most guy’s spines, but, alas, the velvet slipper has its place! A casual night at the local cigar-lounge, hanging by the pool in the moonlight at the Soho House or a chic evening outing, a velvet slipper can add a touch of nonchalant elegance to any man’s wardrobe.

Like anything that straddles that line between utterly and stupidly pretentious and smartly stylish and classic, it’s all about the details (and the rules that govern such details…)

Places to not wear one:

–       The local Pub.

–       The Office.

–       The Hardware store.

The Ultimate "Chill-out Shoe"

Places to wear them:

–       At home, chilling.

–       Whilst enjoying a cigar and a Scotch.

–       A brothel.

 

Otherwise go nuts with the following guidelines:

–       Do NOT wear with casual or sports clothing.

–       Do NOT wear them to walk around the town.

–       Keep embroidery to a minimum… some guys like skulls on them, some want their initials (keep them simple) but keep the snobbishness to a minimum (i.e. no crowns, fleur-de-lys or ‘family shields’ – unless, of course, said wearer belongs to a proper royal household).

–       Wear them well: Don’t cook in them, don’t mow the lawn in them, don’t run in them.

–       The shoes are the statement- keep everything else tame.

–       Wear with confidence.

 

Jeans and Blazer Shoe

The Color Protocol

–       Colors Light: Light blues and yellows can be worn with slim cut, flat-front khakis or white pants, even very faded well-cut jeans. This is important, when one wears velvet slippers one must account for them, that is, the velvet slipper is the punch-line and very much a central part of the outfit, and by wearing them one is referencing a very specific European lifestyle ‘look’ therefore if you are not comfortable with this look- ditch the velvet shoes (at least in lighter colors). Otherwise, wear as you would

Smart Casual

–       Colors Dark: This is the safest bet! Black (classic), navy or hunter green. As for the first two wear them with similarly colored blazers and either dark jeans or grey trousers. Dark ‘hunter’ greens get trickier but with a similarly colored polo or a khaki suit they may look appropriate. If “less is more” was ever a stand-by, this is it.

–       A Word on the “red/Burgundy” slipper: Should you be the ‘smoking jacket type’ (see our post about said smoking jacket here) in that classic shade of velvet and burgundy then by all means; but tread carefully—it is but the boldest men who can pull off this look!

 

In truth a great pair of velvet slippers could well be the most versatile shoe you own.

 

Where to find them

A small army of great suppliers feature velvet slippers; from Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren to venerable houses like Paul Davies London and John Lobb. We like Del Toro Shoes for their fantastic range and custom-options. For your first pair this is the way to go!

 

Enjoy (and don’t say we didn’t warn you!)…

Restaurant Etiquette: 100 ways to not look like a douche…

The following 100 ways to not look like an as#(@le, or douche or moron in a restaurant- or what i like to call “100 Rules of Restaurant Etiquette” have been gathered over the last seven years by various peoples in the hospitality industry, mostly in fine-dining.

THESE 100 maxims have come from individuals from all over the world: India, Loas, China, the Carribean, The US, Europe etc.
  1. Don’t show off with money to a waiter… they see money all day long and are not impressed.
  1. Have fun when you go to a restaurant—whether it is to dine or to just to have a fun meal, make it so. Don’t worry about the pretensions… just enjoy.
  1. Trust your server… they know the menu and food better than you ever will.

 

  1. Trust the sommelier—a good sommelier knows his or her wine list better than you ever will. Chances are he/she tasted all those wines, if not a majority of them, and has probably been to those vineyards.

 

  1. Be among the first tables of the night… you’ll get the best food and service.

 

  1. Don’t be the schmuck who shows up fifteen minutes before the restaurant closes—there’s a lot of bad energy being directed towards you. Remember the kitchen and the wait staff have lives too,

 

  1. Just because it’s your birthday, doesn’t mean you are owed anything for free…. Including dessert, candle or not.

 

  1. Don’t tell the waitstaff, sommelier, or manager how many wines and or bottles you have in your cellar, trust me, they don’t care.

 

  1. GUYS if you are out with a pretty girl, you don’t have to spend $1000.00 on a bottle of wine to impress her. She may know nothing at all about wine and you are therefore wasting your money. Listen to hear and be genuinely interested- that’s worth a lot more to her.

 

  1. Don’t be afraid to tell the server and or sommelier what you would like to spend in a bottle: a good list has fabulous wines at all price ranges.

 

  1. Don’t be cheap either.

 

  1. Don’t ask for tap water at a fine dinning restaurant and further more don’t justify your thriftiness by saying that it “tastes better,” you know it doesn’t!

 

  1. Bottled water is not pretentious. The rest of the civilized world wouldn’t dream of drinking anything but with a restaurant meal.

 

  1. Remember a standard tip for a run-of-the mill restaurant is 15%, a nicer restaurant 18% while a fine-dining restaurant about 20% with a good handshake for the sommelier if he struck gold with a nice bottle.
    •  Most servers, even those at the most expensive restaurants, usually make around $2-$4 an hour. The tip not only ensures service… but this is money that goes into the “set-up,” your polished glasses, changing of silver, and graciousness. Trust me, you want good service and the staff to remember you… TIP!

 

  1. Dipping bread in olive oil should stay in Italian restaurants. Do not assume this is standard practice in every restaurant in the world.

 

  1. There’s nothing wrong with a cocktail, but they should remain at the bar, before or after dinner. Wine and even beer is the only alcoholic drink that go with food.

 

  1. Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese are all cuisines from different countries… don’t expect sweet and sour chicken at any of these. Go to an ethnic restaurant and enjoy that ethnicity’s food.

 

  1. Cesar salad is not a necessary salad or menu item at ALL restaurants.

 

  1. Generally speaking, meat is ruined when prepared well done. So if you like a well done steak… don’t go to a restaurant to eat it… you’ll piss off the staff and waste your money on bad meat… and please don’t expect it to be tender!

 

  1. French fries and mashed potatoes are not an omnipresent side dish… some restaurants don’t have such things on their menus, and it is probably for the better.

 

  1. Gauge where you take your kids… if appetizers start at the high teens, leave the kid at home.

 

  1. Kid’s menus are not required by law. Most places will accommodate you but the absence of a children’s menu should tell you what to expect.

 

  1. Unless you are in a vegetarian restaurant do not expect every restaurant to have a vegetarian item… most will accommodate you.

 

  1. Most fancy restaurants and/or fine dinning do not have the following ice cream flavors: chocolate chip cookie dough, rocky road, or strawberry-coconut.

 

  1. Tiramusi is an Italian dessert—don’t expect to find it on every restaurant’s menu… if they don’t have it, see it as a blessing in disguise—try something new.

 

  1. Never start a sentence, when speaking to a restaurant’s staff, with “…I don’t care that it’s not on your menu, but I want…”, this guarantees bad service and bad restaurant-karma.

 

  1. The more cigarette breaks you take the colder the food will be when you eat it… as it has to wait in the kitchen’s window until you come back. Smoke before and after… Otherwise drink water.

 

  1. Do not try and teach the sommelier a lesson on wine… they don’t care, and if you know you know more than them then take comfort in that fact.

 

  1. Remember, when you are given the initial taster of wine once the bottle is opened, you are not deciding whether you indeed like the wine—you already bought it! It is part of a ceremony to make sure it is not spoilt. So stop trying to impress everyone at the table by holding it up to the light and making a big deal. Simply smell it… does it smell like wet newspapers? Vinegar perhaps? No? Then just tell him/her to pour.

 

  1. Do not ask for the finest or most expensive bottle of Pinot Grigio… Pinot Grigio as a wine is meant to be simple and quaffable, not a religious experience by any stretch of the imagination. When was the last time you asked for the most expensive bottle of cola?

 

  1. If a server has eight plates in their hands, and they are sprinting past you, that may not be the best time to grab them and ask them where the bathroom is.

 

  1. When a member of the restaurant staff approaches you don’t immediately start barking orders, let them introduce themselves… you may be putting gin a drink order with the busser or manager. It’s not necessarily wrong, but it does make you look lie an idiot.

 

  1. Don’t say you know the owner, or throu around names, because they’ve heard it all, and you just sound like an asshole.

 

  1. Only Lipton makes decaf tea. If in a nice restaurant ask for “tisane,” which are herbal and or fruit teas which naturally contain no caffeine, like Chamomile, apple, or peppermint.

 

  1. If you go to a chain restaurant, do not expect five-star service… if you go to a, expensive restaurant, be ready to spend. Don’t go on a budget.

 

  1. If you want to seem as though you have even just a hint of class… never yell out “waiter”, “garçon” or “server” to catch a server’s attention… it’s the whole “you’ll look like a jerk” thing.

 

  1. Like Tiramisu, Flan has its place, and Italian restaurants are usually not it.

 

  1. Never, ever, begin to dictate your order with “bring me your cheapest…”

 

  1. Feel free to ask, “what do you recommend” or “what’s your favorite,” but don’t ask “what’s good,” because even at a strip bar you’re most likely going to get “everything.”

 

  1. Ask for the specials once… if the server skips over them… there’s probably a reason, they may be trying to steer you away from potential disaster.

 

  1. When you need to make more than three modifications to one dish, you might as well just choose something else entirely.

 

  1. Remember, there is no reason to overcompensate, if you feel a little akward at a restaurant just relax… its food. Let the staff guide you…its their job.

 

  1. In a nice restaurant, don’t pay half your bill in cash and the other half in plastic… it’s tacky,

 

  1. When you go to pay, there’s no reason in saying… “Here’s my gold card” or “here’s my platinum” unless the server is colorblind they will see that when they run the card.

 

  1. If the server comes to you and says “I believe there is something wrong with our computer, it cannot read this card,” he or she is really saying, “dude, it was declined,” don’t argue with them, they’ve been tactful enough not to make you look stupid. Play along and come-up with a solution.

 

  1. Don’t get mad when there is no space available at a restaurant and you didn’t make a reservation. In other cities showing up to a restaurant without a reservation is not only crass but sacrilegious. If you want a space… reserve.

 

  1. Don’t look over the hostess’ shoulder while they’re looking up you reservation, that’s screen is not for you, otherwise it would be turned towards the door.

 

  1. Don’t call the hostess honey or sweetheart, remember they control when you seat, where you seat and with whom.

 

  1. Don’t ask the wait staff to control the sound, lights, or music in a restaurant—they have no control over such things. Talk to a manager… but remember the light may be bothering you, but look around… are you the only one in the restaurant?

 

  1. Ditto for the air con.

 

  1. Don’t tell the sommelier you are a connoisseur of wine… because you just let him know how absolutely insecure you are… instead talk to them, share the knowledge… then they’ll know that you to are an enthusiast.

 

  1. Do not expect restaurants to bend to your latest diet fad. If you can only eat purees and/or snack on leek soup… stay at home. (that goes for you non-celiac gluten-free freaks).

 

  1. Unless there is sand between your toes as you sit and eat… stay off the frozen drinks.

 

  1. Be gracious… you get more with honey than with vinegar.

 

  1. If it’s not a hotdog or hamburger joint… don’t expect ketchup (ditto with Tabasco… outside of Texas it is not a dining necessity).

 

  1. Spaghetti is not a staple or restaurants nationwide. Stick to a diner for Cobb Salad.

 

  1. Not all Asian restaurants will have your favorite takeout menu items. So forget the ribs, egg roll, or kung-pow chicken.

 

  1. Warm wet moist towels are a staple of Japanese restaurants… don’t go expecting it everywhere.

 

  1. Don’t grasp the wine glass by its bowl… hold it from the stem. That’s the whole purpose of the stem… and you’ll look like you know what you’re doing.

 

  1. Throw the gum out before you sit down… or swallow it. There’s nothing more low-class than to ask the waiter for a piece of paper so that you can throw away your gum.

 

  1. Finish the cell phone conversation before you sit and eat. Leave the phone on vibrate…didn’t your mother tell you  not to talk with your mouth full?

 

  1. Lemonade comes from lemons, available in most kitchen and restaurant… pink lemonade on the other hand, comes from a powdered mix… most restaurants do not have this… so don’t expect it.

 

  1. Girls, if you order the wine, it will be shown to you once it arrivers to the table and, in any good restaurant, it is assumed you will taste it… don’t get offended by this, they are being professional.

 

  1. If it’s not on the menu, chances are they don’t have it.

 

  1. Don’t complain to get something for free. Get a life.

 

  1. If your slouching over your plate setting and the food comes, MOVE! Or get it on you.

 

  1. Do tell the manager how good your service was or how great your experience was, don’t tell him who your friends are or how much money you have… or what kind of car you drive… that’s just stupid.

 

  1. If you’re in a hurry let the server and manager know when you sit. Don’t wait till you already ate to start a bitch fest.

 

  1. If it’s not on the wine menu… they don’t have it. Don’t get mad because they don’t have your favorite bottle of Opus One.

 

  1. Like life, respect in a restaurant is earned… treat others other how you would like to be treated and never believe and or think you are owed anything.

 

  1. If you have a particular table request… do it at the time of reservation or when you get there… don’t wait to be seated to start playing musical chairs.

 

  1. If you make a reservation for six people… don’t call half an hour before and say your ten. That may require a set menu or worse yet, another table; which the restaurants may not have available to begin with.

 

  1. If you can’t make it on time… call. It’s much appreciated.

 

  1. No you can’t smoke at the table in America, it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what sort of income you have… like seatbelts, it’s the law.

 

  1. If there is no kid’s menu… then they probably don’t have chicken nugget or mac and cheese in the kitchen either.

 

  1. Remember, loud perfume just means it’s cheap. Enjoy smelling the aromas of good food and wine… lay off the Tresor.

 

  1. If you choose to sit outside… don’t bitch about the whether.

 

  1. Ladies… you know what you’re doing. If you wear a dress that shows more nipples than cleavage…don’t get mad when your server keeps looking at them (or if your order is slightly inaccurate for that matter).

 

  1. Putting your wallet on your table doesn’t necessarily mean ‘bring the check’ most servers are trained to bring the check when requested.

 

  1. If you must absolutely have foamy egg-white omelet with thin blanched asparagus, skinned tomatoes, and slightly steamed baby broccoli, be courteous and human about it… don’t be obnoxious ordering something overly complicated, Otherwise make it yourself so treat you can see how difficult you are…  especially in the morning. Remember, we are indeed fortunate to have the ability to order such a thing; it is after all a privilege not a right.

 

  1. If a wine list doesn’t have anything you are familiar with… then it was probably done on purpose. Ask who wrote it and just ask for a recommendation. Tell them what you usually drink.

 

  1. Do not tell the staff the least great vintage of Silver Oak or Chateau expensive you just had… no one cares. And you look like a raging buffoon.

 

  1. “Sharing style” or “family style,” means no individual plates. It’s ok for people to pick off one plate… enjoy a change of things for once.

 

  1. Most hotel restaurants, for breakfast, don’t have doughnuts, chocolate chip muffins or croissant sandwiches or breakfast burritos… stick to Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds.

 

  1. Leave the double soy, decaf, latte with caramel and pumpkin spice for your locak Starbucks… again, in a restaurant. Keep it simple… you look more sophisticated.

 

  1. An espresso is just a coffee… not a combo that includes a biscotti or a wedge of lemon peel (both New York traditions).

 

  1. Most restaurants have either Coca Cola or Pepsi but usually not both.

 

  1. The flower on the table (or anything else for that matter) is not for you to take home.

 

  1. If you don’t want to look like a hobo leave the bread, never order the leftover breadbasket “to go.”

 

  1.  Most restaurants offer one brand of coffee… and Starbucks is not one of them.

 

  1. Johnnie Walker blue is not a single malt. Don’t talk about it like it is… again it only makes you look stupid.

 

  1. Courvoisier, or any other cognac is an AFTER DINNER drink, not meant to be drank thorough the meal (unless you’re Chinese).

 

  1. If you will add coke or juice to it… don’t worry about getting the most expensive champagne, cognac, or rum… you’re wasting your money.

 

  1. Don’t buy the cheapest bottle of wine and bitch about the stemware. Next time buy something above $100.00 and see what kind of glasses you get.

 

  1. ALWAYS ask the corkage policy of a restaurant, never assume, and never ever just show up with your wine anyway. It may only mean embarrassment for you and your guests.

 

  1. Its dinner not a fashion show… less is more.

 

  1. No one cares about your broche. So stop telling every one. Ditto with your last vacation.

 

  1. Don’t stare for an hour at your bill making faces… it makes you look cheap.

 

  1. Don’t complain to everyone around you about how small the menu is… with today’s access to technology you could have seen the menu before you got there. Plus less food means fresher ingredients and better-prepared dishes. If you want selection there’s always the local diner or Denny’s.

 

  1. Having seen most of the world I know this: dining (not simply eating) is a privilege. Enjoy it, have fun with it—don’t use it as an outlet for your crabbiness or bitterness. The truth is those that work in hospitality are not getting paid all that much for it but, they love it. They do it because partaking in service, food, wine, etc. bring them pleasure. It brings them pleasure to bring you, hopefully, a little bit of pleasure as well. Does it come with a price? Yes, to both parties in fact: those serving and those being served.

The Almanac of What the Modern Man Needs to Know: The Davidoff Special “T”

 There are perhaps few brands with such a storied reputation as the house that Zino Davidoff built. The Davidoff brand has become a symbol of luxury the world over with its collections of fine fragrances and cigars. To smoke a Davidoff cigar is to gain an understanding of the company’s seminal motto, “The Good Life.”

by: Richard Urban

I was first attracted to the Davidoff collection of cigars by this appealing line that, in many ways, summed up my approach to life. Still, the light Connecticut wrappers that grace the majority of the brand’s offerings left me nervous. As a fan of Arturo Fuente’s exceedingly scare Anejo line and Dunhill’s maduros I have enjoyed a stronger smoke. My fears about the brand were put to rest by a acquaintance who frequents the same cigar club where I am a member.

Since that fateful day I have smoked many of Davidoff’s exquisitely wrapped cigars. I was thus pleasantly surprised when a friend presented me with one of the company’s collections. My first selection was a cigar that I had been previously unable to acquire, The Special “T”.

Appearance

The Specimen

The Smoke

This pyramid shaped cigar gave easily to a gentle press from my cigar cutter.  The Special T was extremely easy to light and was pleased that it burned in a even manner. There are few situations more distressing to the seasoned cigar smoker than the displeasure of relighting a cigar mid-smoke. The Special T did not disappoint in this regard.

Characteristically of a Davidoff cigar, the Special T had a medium and easy draw. As the experience continued I began to note some hints of a woody taste that lent itself well to the enjoyment of a fireplace. Though the cigar has a very dry character it did not negatively affect the palate. As the cigar began to near its inevitable end I was delighted to pick up hints of spices.

  As with nearly all Davidoff cigars, the Special T was a fairly quick smoke and lasted about half an hour. Upon finishing, I rose from the chair that I had chosen in the lounge and recorded my favorable impressions in the lengthening Davidoff section of my cigar journal. This chore concluded, I removed my smoking jacket and bade farewell to my fellow smokers.

I would recommend this cigar for two occasions. This cigar lasts just the perfect amount of time for a lively after dinner conversation. Also, the lightness of the Special “T” lends itself well to a smoke enjoyed over a pile of paperwork brought home from the office or assigned by a professor.

 
Richard Urban has been smoking fine cigars since he turned 18 and at any given night can be found in Union Cigar Club in Pennsylvania. Richard runs a rare book store and currently attends Gettysburg College.

TGG Answer Corner: November

It seems the Young Gentlemen’s movement is gaining some steam. In our Q & A forum we have received questions and queries from Gentlemen-in-Training and the Established-Gentry alike.

RIGHT, let’s get to them…

QUESTION:

What kind of V-neck sweater is posted as the “summer-into-fall sweater”?

The "V"

ANSWER: It’s a Ralph-Lauren Cotton “V-Neck Crew” (find it here). There are many sweaters out there and for us type of sweater is as integral as choosing underwear. This is why I always recommend you try them on- all v-necks are not made the same: cut, length, elastic waist or none, higher armholes etc. Either way, a sweater should be as snug as your shirt- which is to say fitted but not tight. It definitely should be billowy or baggy. I have a handful of sweaters and whether you’re the “lightweight cashmere” type or the cotton-type the difference for me between spring and Fall is more about color than weight.

QUESTION:

Hi… could you suggest a Winter Perfume for daytime and evening time wear for men?

The spirtz

ANSWER: I think the biggest problem with so-called “winter scents” which is a bit of an ambitious and somewhat overzealous title, is that they can be quite powerful. The determinate factor, for men’s fragrances, between say, a “spring/summer” cologne versus a “winter/fall” one is, of course, what it smell’s like. That’s to say, summer/spring fragrances tend to be on the fresh, citrus, mossy side while winter/fall ones tend heavier towards spices, woods, musks, etc. There is, on both side, a danger to overdo all of it and smell like an Ottoman bazaar.

My favorite all-day ‘cold weather fragrance by far is Feuilles de Tabac by Harris Miller as it is neither too heavy, nor too fleety – it doesn’t dissolve into a soft powderiness which is ok in men’s fragrances, but for me, a little to precious if you’re in jeans or flannel.

The Fall/Winter Fail-safe

Find it at Aedes de Venustas or Luckyscent.com

QUESTION:

I’m looking for a cold-weather jacket that’s both refined and sporty, not navy, warm but coat-like. Something I can wear with jeans or with a tie. Any suggestions?

The Archetype

Yes! This is a tricky category but an old and noble one. In fact, the modern “sports jacket” (which resembles a suit jacket) has its history forgotten piece of sartorial history called the “Norfolk Jacket.” This jacket, designed for hunting in the English country-side, was usually made of tweed and was embellished with belts and pleats as well as an array of pockets for ones supplies, but I digress (see picture above, man in background).

Having said all that, when I opt for a jacket theat is meant to be far more sporty than the usual modern ‘sports-coat’ I like something that recalls this heritage whether with pleats, outer-pockets, patches or epaulets—something that hints at a bit of adventure.

For this reason, should you not be the epaulets-type (we can’t all be) I would recommend the Suede Jacket (or suede-overshirt as it is called in other corners). It’s soft as, well suede, comfortable, warm but no chunkiness to kill the cool.

The No-Fuss Suede

Another option is a vest and while I’m not always easily impressed, I was blown away by Ralph Lauren’s “Beaumont Vest” (below | Buy it here) which is accented with leather-patches on the shoulders and all kinds  of other ‘masculiness’ that may quiet the dissenters who think it’s all a bit to precious.

All right folks that’s all for now- but keep those questions and comments coming!

If you’ve got a question – we’ve got an answer! Write us:

tgg@theyounggentlemensguide.com

5 Things of the Moment: Fall 2011 Preview

Fall is upon us and whether you’re riling off a blistering summer (in some parts of the world) or a milder one (in others) the temperature has irrespectively cooled. The days get shorter, the sun burns cooler and the day’s now-tolerable balminess melts with the evening breeze.

SOON, a mere three to four weeks, the more full onslaught of fall will, er, fall and by the time the snows come down in November we’ll all have our coats and thick sweaters to protect us, but what about now?! In-between seasons is always tricky and in truth, should all clothes just be white in color, there would be no real distinction between the clothing-of-choice in that cusp between winter and spring than the one between summer and fall.

So what’s the difference since one, unless one fancied themselves Cistercian monks, could not live on white (clothes) alone?

In truth the seasonal cusps as discussed above (namely spring-summer and summer-fall) are dominated by smart layering, thin lightweight sweaters, cotton jackets and a return to jeans and long chinos and/or depending how cool the evenings get, light-weight “pin-wale” corduroys. The MAIN DIFFERENCE between, say, the aforementioned lightweight sweater in the beginning of Spring and the one in the beginning of fall is mainly one thing: Color.

Spring colors, not inadvertently, celebrate and echo the incoming seasons explosion of colors often found in nature- this is where ultra-masculine (and impossibly fashionable) Italian men break out their pastel-colored sweaters and yellow or bright blue pants, loose their socks and roll-up their shirt sleeves. Fall colors follow the same lead and browns, ambers, and ivories dominate. See below for an example:

{The chap on the left is wearing a spring sweater- note light, pastel colors of spring flowers.
The chap on the right, on the other hand, is wearing fall colors and hence a fall sweater…}
Needless to say a man’s style must be timeless and, at the risk of sounding contrived, classic. So it is why we here at TGG seldom play the “This season’s must have sweater…” game: it’s just stupid. We do this, risking the fact that we will often sound repetitive, as year after year, for the most part, save for particular idiosyncrasies of waning fashion-trends, we will always recommend that cable-cashmere sweater (for the Fall) or the washed red chinos (for the Spring and Summer). The men’s fashion cycle is a slow one, and things certainly come in and out of fashion (said red pants are now cropped shorter, fitter and flat-fronted; who’s not to say in then years the norm doesn’t sing back to baggy and pleated?).

In the interest of not digressing (or boring ye…) we shall continue onward with what we are calling our “Fall Preview”: 5 things to keep an eye out for this fall’s line-up. All of these items will fit-in today’s weather as it should November’s (layering may be necessary)

{Remember to leave us comments if you have your own suggestions on our comments page!}

 

 

CORDUROY

The Cord...

Many men fell queasy at the though of corduroy; it get’s a bad rap, especially in the US where it is mostly identified with disgruntled teenagers lugging skateboards heavy with angst. What’s more corduroys are not very flattering on individuals of shall we say, “advanced girth,” pair that with the propensity of larger waist-sizes in America’s men. However, as is evident by the myriad-shaped middle-aged men proudly donning corduroys in the fall/winter from Florence to Berlin it is no doubt the go-to trousers for men during this time. The “lines” and ridges running down corduroy are called ‘wales’ and the rule of thumb (ROT alert!) is the thicker the man (i.e. girth, legs, thighs etc) the thinner the wale should be. A thin, lanky man can afford a thicker wale.

                                                                                              {Non-frumpy cords…}

For the summer-fall-cusp try thin wale, light-weight corduroys in colors that are not too dark (and therefore won’t clash with the still live-green hanging on to trees) but won’t seem out of place: colors such as “blue smoke”, light khakhi, and light gray. Our favorite collection of cords this season are coming from Bonobos and range from 80USD to 105USD. Curduroys are trousers and should use the same “fit” guidelines as any other pair of pants!

THE LIGHT SWEATER (or CARDIGAN)

Summer-into-Fall Sweater

Our editor-in-chief once noted that on his first trip to Verona Italy he noticed

“… all these men, of all age-types, walking around with light, almost see-through, feather-soft sweaters and cardigans thrown on top of their shoulders and back; the sweater sleeves sometimes tied in front of their chests, others simply let the sleeves hang … it was 90F and hot so I was perplexed as to why these men were carrying around sweaters on their backs!? Of course, they knew something I didn’t’—once 6:30PM came around, the sky polarized to a deep shade of purple with pink highlights and the air picked up a pronounced chill. And there I was, sitting at Trattoria Giovanni, overlooking the magnificently illuminated ancient Roman arena that is so ubiquitous with this city, and frankly, freezing my ass off. All around me, the men of Verona sat, carefree, shirt-sleeves once rolled-up the elbow now carefully buttoned at the wrist, confident in the warmth of their sweaters and cardigans…”

Nuff said… so if you think carrying on your back is a bit foppish, no worries, keep it in the car, carry it in your hands or, heaven forbid, stuff it into your rugged man-bag. Keep sweaters and cardigans fit, nothing’s worse than a pillowy fit on a cardigan, it can, beware, add twenty pounds to the wearer. Fall colors, stay awat from pastels…(except for in the spring).

A baggy and ill-fitting cardigan...

Some of our favorites:

–      Hermes Men (jump here)

–       Ralph Lauren (jump here)

–       Billy Reid (jump here)

THE FALL SHOE

Fig.1- The Cusp Shoe

Somehwere between the careless days of sockless loafer trotting and the pent-up boots so necessary in winter lies the something that’s a bit less constricting and more comfy: enter the “Fall Shoe”

The fall shoe is not necessarily tall (indeed should not be taller than a chukkah- below) but should not slope down the sides of your feet the way a driver or moc does (less the coldness of early spring rains or late fall snow dampen your socks). And so, in this way, the “Early Fall Shoe” is more of an idea than a specific shoe in general.

Fall Chukkah

The lovely shoe below the heading (fig 1) is a wonderful balance of something that’s sleek and wearable, with a hint of suede (recalling suede-safe, dry days of summer) yet far above the reach of damaging water/snow.

Indeed this is the time to polish and store away the suede drivers and mocs, the boat shoes (unless one is taking out the boat), and the sandals until next spring. There’s another month or so of wearing darker-ish and high-sided loafers before they go away for the next couple of months. In it’s place comes out the bluchers, oxfords, chukkahs,  monkstraps and, of course, boots.

Some of our favorite stops for shoes:

–       Leffot (jump here)

–       Billy Reid (jump here)

–       Cole Rood & Haan’s oxford collection (jump here)

LIGHT JACKET

Fall-ish Cotton Jacket

Sweaters are not everyone’s game (lest the gentleman mess up his hair taking it off should it get a bit warm) and cardigans area dicey proposition unless the proportions of both the wearer and the cardigan are in perfect sync. So what then?

A light jacket, made out of something more substantial than nylon for the when the wind picks up, is necessary. In the British tradition, hands-on staples like tweed sports jackets and waxed-cotton jackets are de rigeur. Old (British) standbys like Huntsmen, Barbour, and Cording.

Field Jacket

Barbour

Rule of thumb: Cotton wax, although technically “light-weight” can be a bit stifling and ‘feels’ wet when very cold; although if you opt for a lined version it adds a bit more comfort. Also, look for a collar of a different material (corduroy, flannel, fleece, cotton etc…) that’s not waxed: otherwise your check will constantly press onto cold hard wax: not cool.

Layering a cotton safari jacket in cotton or denim khaki, subsequently layered with a hoodie or sweater is also a perfect.

SMELLS LIKE THE CUSP

men's colognes

After Summer Smellings

So you listened to us and relished in crisp green citrus fragrances, marine and aquatic themed colognes and relished in their unobtrusive light. During the days which can still peak at the mid-70’sF a strong upshot of Oud (a fragrant wood), Sandalwood, or heavy Musk can be overwhelming. Likewise too much other ‘stuff’ like vetivers, lavenders, etc can seem out of sync with the season. So… our ROT (Rule of thumb) for summer-fall cusp fragra

nces are the such:

  • Dark Citrus Tones: not so much lime and lemon, but more so orange blossom (neroli), bergamot, andcandied orange peel (without the sweetness)
    • Our pick: “Bergamot” by The Different Company (read more about it and buy it here)
  • Amber: What does amber smell like? Who the hell really knows- it’s more of an olfactory nod to the color amber. The best explanation comes to us from a forum-user at www.basenotes.com which states that the smell hitherto described as Amber is synonymous with a “…resinous scent that can produce a faint prickle at the back of the nose…” either way you look at it, it’s abstract as hell… just go with it…
    • Our Pick:  “Ambra” by Mazzolari (read more about it and buy it here)
  • Dried leaves/grasses: Ok here we’re talking about things like vetiver, again, sure, but vetiver and/or patchouli us a typical summer scent, however, when combined with elements of the above (ambers, bergamot, moss etc…) the results can be outstanding:
    • Our Pick: “Real Patchouly” by Bois 1920 (read more about it and buy it here)
  • Spices: This is dangerous, men usually overkill this element and end-up either smelling like the dessert-side of a Moroccan soukh  or something akin to pumpkin pie and Christmas. Spice: keep it light while still relying on old standbys like cinnamon (acacia), coumarin, burnt vanilla, coriander, etc.
    • Our Pick: “Honour Man” by Amouage (read more about it and buy it here)

Can you do lighter tones of woods and oudhs and musks: sure. But why break your neck trying to find light and wispy renditions of these when you can relish in the real thing come December?

If you can think of flavors and smells as colors stick to fragrances with combinations of dark greens (moss and fern), light browns (spice and amber) and  auburn oranges (bergamot).

Another perfect smell? Fig:

Philosykos  Eau de Toilette by  Diptyque

Philosykos Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

{From Luckyscent.com: One of the best fig scents ever made and one of our favorite scents of all time. Philosykos is an ode to the fig groves of Greece. Created by Olivia Giacobetti, this is a very green fig – a fig on the verge of being ripe. The opening is sharp with the tart freshness of the leaves, and then the fig itself comes into play – sweet enough to tantalize, but not overwhelm. The glossy green leaves and succulent fruit intertwine with a dry wood note and a hint of rich earth. You get the sense not only of the whole tree, but the whole grove – the wood, the earth, the sky, the Mediterranean sun coaxing the sweetness of the fruit along as it ripens. Many a superlative has been used to describe this fragrance over the years and it deserves every one. Outstanding.}