Bespoke Life: 1983 Brandy by Domaine Charbay

There is nothing like the “art and lore” of brandy distilling and more you pay, the more refined & honest the spirit… one would hope. And that brandy should have a story.

The Perfect Drink

THERE’Sbrandy‘ and then there’s Brandy. Made from the distillate of wine and then aged in oak (where it gets its amber color), Brandy (and it’s cousins, Cognac and Armagnac, made in region of the same name in France)  is all to often overly-processed, artificially colored and drastically underwheling.

Enter the Karakasevic family, from a long line of master distillers, who settled in the ‘highlands’ of Spring Mountain in Northern California to churn out some of America’s most unique and cherished spirits.

This brandy was hand-distilled by Miles Karakasevic (Madter Distiller) andfrom a base wine of ‘Folle Blance” then aged in Oak Barrels from Limousin France for an unfettered clarity and an almost incomprehensivble complexity.

Top notes of mulling spices with caramael and a tlight floral toast with a dollop of blood orange marmaled. In essence: this stuff is good!

Distiller’s Notes: “Launching the Brandy program in 1983 with a 1,000 gallon Pruhlo Alambic was a long term commitment to distilling in California. I wanted our brandy to reflect my heritage of hand distilling.  Little did I know that we would distill so many spirits in between but I was determined that the premiere would be how I envisioned it should be: full bodied and elegant.  That my son apprenticed by my side and learned to distill whiskey, rum, pastis, flavored vodkas and more while the brandy aged…well, that’s how my people carry on. For me, distilling isn’t a business; it’s a way of life.

— Miles Karakasevic


About Charbay Brandy N0. 83:

“The most interesting thing I tried at WhiskyFest was a brandy of all things. Tasted like what I imagine a Christmas rum raisin cake tastes like; juicy allspice…” Camper English/SF /WhiskeyFest

100 cases made of 750ml and 95 cases of 375ml. Get it at

Guide to Man’s Drinks: Amber Spritz

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.

A spirit oft-overlooked in the world of cocktail, perhaps because of its much-earned pedigree as a reflective drink rather than one that is mixed in a cocktail; is Cognac.

Cognac, the venerable brandy from the a region in France of the same name, is made from wine (often a still white wine coaxed from Europe’s work-horse grape Folle-Blanche or, in Italy, Trebbiano), but what truly gives Cognac its character is wood/oak ageing. As it matures the brandy smoothes and develops in complexity.  XO Cognac, the highest denomination (which stands for “Extra Old”) is most definitely to be drunk neat. However other styles of Cognac such as VS and VSOP, in order of age (“Very Special” and “Very Special Old and Pale” respectively), lend themselves to a cocktail.

The Standards...

Substitute a VS Cognac in lieu of a Rye in a Manhattan and top it off with an Orange rind (instead of a cherry) for a sophisticated drink during cool nights.

Cognac also pairs wonderfully with Ginger, and here, becomes a spicy background to a wonderful “Amber Spritz

The Drink...


The Equipment:

  • Rocks Glass
  • Stirrer

The Stuff:

  • Cognac VS or VSOP
  • Ice
  • Candied Ginger Slice
  • Orange Peel

The Drink:

  • Fill rocks glass with ice.
  • Add 1 shot of Cognac (or two should the occasion call for it)
  • Add the Orange Peel and Ginger slice.
  • Top off with soda…
  • Stir
  • Enjoy…


Index of Superfluous Necessities: The Smoking Jacket Revisited

The reinvented classic

We here at TGG get more hits a day from gentlemen all around the world for our post on the Smoking Jacket (here) than for anything else. This tells us that there is a real pent-up hankering to know what the smoking jacket is all about. To be sure the Smoking Jacket is not a summer thing, although a light silk one could be quite comforting in a cool summer night. Its origins, like so many other things sartorial, lies in the English noble tradition. British patricians thought it rude to expose a woman’s delicate (and we contend superior) nose to “off odors” and so therefore when the gents took their leave from the ladies to have cigars and cognac, they exchanged their jackets for one used exclusively for smoking. If you were born after Star Wars (A New Hope, not The Phantom Menace) chances are you have never seen this fine specimen in the wild; instead it is relegated to pretentious types in movies and t.v. shows. Fear not; once upon a time madras was for geriatrics.

We say; Get your smoking jacket on!

Traditionally the smoking jacket is made of velvet and silk; a silk body with a velvet shawl-collar; although padded silk collars and full velvet ones exist; and although most old-fashioned smoking jackets are three-quarter length. The more modern renditions fit like a blazer.

Can’t remember Ford administration and have no idea what Russian dressing is? Then stick to a blazer-length smoking jacket; especially if you plan to wear it out. Moreover, smoking jackets now a days come in an array of colors; the most elegant being black and deep midnight blue, although fabulous renditions can be found in off-white and black. Stay away from greens, ambers and greys unless you wan to look like a pimp. And definitely no animal prints. Being summer, now is the perfect time to buy one as many retailers and haberdasheries alike have steep sales of “winter” items during summer time.

Here are The Young Gentlemen’s Guide picks for your superfluous needs:

The Classic

Full length and luxurious in classic burgundy color with satin lapels, three pockets and full Bemberg lining; great with a long cigar or your favorite book (we recommend a Davidoff Millennium Series stogie). This is a robe more than a jacket. From Paul Stuart $797.00

Gearing up for Fall/Winter 2010/2011 is a choice selection of smoking jackets from various designers including Armani, Ralph Lauren and, our favorite maker of what has to be the hippest and most fashioned forward of all Smoking Jackets: Dolce & Gabbana. (Prices vary).

Ultimately a smoking jacket is about you- your individuality, your taste and personal flair; your “esprit des corps” as the French would say or in ‘Merican “mojo.” There are many fantastic of the peg shirts, suits, blazers and shoes out there. If you get something made, get something unique.

The Billy Reid Smoking Jacket

You want a great smoking jacket that speaks of your own personal style and taste? Get one made. Bespoke Life IF there is ever an item to get made to exacting custom specifications (delimited by non other than yourself) a smoking jacket is it. Shawl collar or peak lapels? Are they velvet or padded silk? The length? Lined? Etc. Saville Row is the classic choice (Gieves & Hawkes, Henry Poole, or Huntsman) as are a number of American establishments such as Phineas Cole, Brooks Brothers, Ralph Laurent amongst others. In Europe choices are aplenty and in Asia Ascot Chang or Singapore’s Raffles Taylor can work wonders.