Where’s my favorite blog?!

And we’re back… excuse us for the absence but we’ve taken a break, recalibrated and back with much more content and a wider reach than ever before!

WE’VE got great bourbon recommendations, dreat digs for man shoes, easy recipes in “Man Can Cook”, more silly seasonal colognes that matter and a slew of other great content. We’re reaching into the archives bringing some of our best hits, emptying our mail with some great reader questions and are signing up a slew of contributors to round out our pieces. “

Where have you guys
gone!?” was a question we got… fret not, you’re favorite men’s blog is back. Spread the world—let the world know. This is The Young Gentlemen’s Guide.

Smell’s Like Spring/Summer: The ins and outs of seasonal cologne…

The Splash

More than just clothes summer, or the changing of any season for that matter, affords one the ability to also change the way they smell. Your perfume, or cologne, for those sensitive types who feel emasculated by the calling it perfume, is a scent unto yourself.

You’re not supposed to smell cologne several feet away; in fact if a someone with their eyes closed can tell you’ve walked into a small room because of the smell of your cologne you’re wearing to much.

How much is enough (and this goes for the ladies too, a lot of women out there wear waaaay to much of the stuff…)?

The idea is that only when someone gets close to you, snuggle-kiss-close then only then can tell your cologne. So that it is an integral part of you, an integral part of your presence, not an entirely different being that announces itself by its smell. No she (or he) is supposed to smell your cologne as a symbiosis between the perfumer’s art and your own chemistry.

Moreover perfume is like a watch, or shoes, or belts; there are particular ones for different seasons, times of the year, moods, etc. Like the kind of shirt you wear on any particular instance you need to ask yourself; am I wearing this to be comfy? Am I on the prowl? Am I going to a nice dinner? The beach? The Café? Walk the dog? A wine tasting, in which case don’t wear one!

Believe it or not these are all considerations to take- but my fellow one-thing-at-a-time-can’t-chew-gum-and-walk-at-the-same-time kinsmen; don’t fret; we may be getting a bit ahead of ourselves. Let’s stick with the four seasons at the very least; while it may not be necessary to rotate through four different scents a year (unless you REALLY want to, as most regular guys can get away with two) let’s at least, for shits and giggles, discuss the parameters of what “seasonal colognes” may look like:

Spring

You’re just coming our of week of brutal cold (maybe) and all that comes with it; so whatever the scent is it has to make that transition. Here is where “manly florals” come in as well as soft musks. Nothing overly flowery and nothing too dark and spicy; while at the same time leaving the full-blown citrus smells for the summer. Think mild spices (peppercorn, absinthe, juniper, cinnamon), flowers (hyacinth, violets, vetiver, patchouli), and ( I know I’m loosing you…) soft fruits; bergamot, etc.

The Prototype: Polo Black

Ok- enough; let’s keep the rest simple;

Summer

‘Aquatic’ smells; citrus, juniper, mints, think, if smells were colors; green, yellow, and light blue.

The Prototype: Cool Water, Aqua di Gio

Fall

This is where it gets interesting because there is a certain amount of overlap here and with the spring scents, without the floral and powdery notes, only this can afford to be a little headier, a little rounder, more mysterious with brown/baking spices, musk, but still a smattering of flowers and orchard and stone fruits, vetiver et al.

The Prototype: Chanel Pour Homme

Winter

Here we get into deep territory because winter can afford the gentleman a wide array of very cool and exotic scents- (wikipedia these guys) with things like oudh, ambergris, amber, musks, tobacco etc. You want this to smell like you with a bit of mystery, a bit of anticipation…

The Prototype: Tom Ford

From Theory to Actual Practicality:

Is this all necessary—yes and no, read my previous post  here on “ritual”- Ritual makes every day mundane things into elements of pleasure. Trust me. I travel nearly 250 days-a-year and definitely do not carry a treasure chest of perfumes with me, but I do carry one or two choice specimens on me at all times.

Scent Obsessed?

TGG ASKS/ Q: Do you really have to buy four perfumes for the whole year?

A: No. As for myself I actually juggle more like six or five; and not necessarily by season. For most of last summer I wore what has become one of my favorite perfumes of all time; Annick Goutal’s “Mandrigore” (buy here). The website says it’s supposed to be a composition of mandrake and other stuff but what it really reminds me of is a spicy mojito. In the fall I retired the scent, but if I had to go for a week-long trip inot the hot and humid climes of South-East Asia Mandragore was one of my first things to pack and I relished every second of it in a warm respite before returning back to the cold (and to a headier cologne). Another summertime favorite, especially by the beach was “Incontro” by Feragammo, a great little citrus-fresh perfume.

For the cold I have a usual ‘go-to’ which is what I wear the most often and that’s Creed’s Tabarome (buy here); if my girl misses me, this is what she sprays on the pillow. It’s good to have a scent like this, a scent that’s yours and is immediately identifiable with you- a scent, like a lucky shirt or your lucky underwear, that although you might do and try a bunch of other things, you still go back to.

In Delhi for late night partying, clubbing and mixing (or anywhere else for that matter-) my “ay papi” scent became Chanel’s “Pour Monsieur”; a haunting perfume that drives most women crazy, or my partner’s “1211” by Frappin (perfumes are universally unisex; the rest is marketing).

In cool spring and in summer nights, and the one little bottle I travel with quite a bit is Bulgari’s “Pour Homme Soir” which smells of bergamot, candied ginger, metal-aldehydes (sort of like an icy, metallic floweriness), and ends with a touch of leather and amber- very masculine, very cool.

But again, these all stay at home and a may bring one or two with me when I travel, especially if I know I’m going out and I have my “day” cologne and then my “evening cologne”

But, if you’re a one-smell-fits all kind of guy then so be it; I’m not, and subsequently all my toiletries deodorants, shaving cream and aftershave are scentless. But that’s just me, ultimately it adds a bit of fun to your life.

The stuff...

For this Spring/ Summer (accent on summer) TGG brings you a linne-up of some perfect pairings for summer and some of my personal favorites, one smell-inspired post at  time:

TGG Celebrates Spring/Summer 2012

The Summer Gentlemen (from the Sartorialist)

SPRING/SUMMER  is, well, almost here. Summer, named after the old Norse God Sumar, is not merely a season, but an opportunity for other than the obvious (re: barbecues, beaches, pool, scantily-clad women, and guys if that’s your digs) is a change from the ordinary, from the usual, from the monotony of the ubiquity of the days preceding it. Ritual makes the ordinary divine and small, often meaningless, symbolic gesture from, in this case, one season to another helsp to ward off apoptosis, in toher ways, it’s a restart button. The same way a haircut is ,or shaving after a few days, or new Years for that matte.r It is a feeling and an act of renewal .

Miami has a temperate two-season year “Hot and Humid as Hell” (May-September) and “Hot and Mild” (October-April) with a very wet summer. But nevertheless, on what may seem as grotesque affectation, every October or so I would pack up all my “summer clothes” fold the linen pants, shelve the white shoes, and pack it all up, label it summer, and not open it again until the following May. Was this absolutely necessary? No, not really. But it did help create a habit and eventually a ritual, which made me look forward the passing of time and aware of the evolution of each year. Every year I opened my box again and you think “Oh shit! I love this shirt… sweet; oh and this, I forgot I had this!”

Seems lame, I know, but try it.

So yes, put all that shit away; take all the flannel, dark browns, blacks, cashmere sweaters, chunky shoes, dark trainers, velour track suit (if you have one, burn it) put them in a box and put them away. Venture out for summer; try it the Italian way; shades of pastel normally left for Easter eggs splashed on everything from pants to sweaters and belts and claim to the world; the sun is out, its summer and I’m not afraid to celebrate it. Of course, say this in your head.

-AO

First day of Spring 2012: March 20th 2012

First day of summer 2010:  June 20th 2010

THE Young Gentlemen’s Guide presents a five-part series on things to celebrate this summer; from drinks, to books, looks, food and life to try, see, drink, experience and love as the temperatures rise, the snow melts and the days meander to longer and longer hours.

 

 

In no general order of appearance:

 

  1. WINES FOR SPRING

The Pour

IF there are such things as ‘winter wines’ (and there are: think gamey Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas from France’s Rhone, for example) then there are definitely “Spring wines” that can offer a bit more body and complexity than the lemony-crisp whites of summer whilst still offering up a wine that can go from a 80F day to a 55F evening: Viognier anyone?

2.  FRAGRANCES OF SPRING

The Smells...

SAME as above: winter fragrances (myrrh, amber,  and brown spices) = existence of spring fragrances. In truth a single fragrance for 3 months may seem silly (not to us of course) but in the spirit of practicality we bring you three new fragrances that can tackle the spirit of spring (meyer lemon blossoms and white pepper) to the warmth of summer (aquatic notes and citrus).

3. THE SPRING COCKTAIL

The Spring Tonic

SUMMER is the realm of Aperol Spritzes and Pisco Sours but what happens before that and after all the past winter’s Brandy Alexanders? Explore with us three great Spring cocktails.

4. THE SPRING JACKET

The Spring's Shelter

WHAT more can we say? There’s no such thing as a summer jacket (well, sure there is but…) Think deconstructed linen. Good stuff. We’ll share our picks for the season.

5. MAN-CAN-COOL: Farm to table

The Season's Bounty

Spring is farmer’s market time… three simple dishes any man can make.

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.}


5 Things of the Moment: 2011 Resolutions

Five Resolutions for the New Year

The Resolute Man (from The Sartorialist Blog)

Why Five? We don’t know, we just like that number…

SO… Gentleman of the world, repeat after us: “I will…”

1) …buy at least one great pair of shoes:

Believe it or not, buying a pair of GREAT (and yes, expensive) pair of shoes a year, for three or four years, will save you lots of money in the long-run. Polish them regularly, roate usage over the course of a week, don’t jump into the pool with them and they will last you a life time! Start with lace-ups first: brown or black, keeping in mind brown (not an exotic type of brown) is the most versatile as it can be worn with just about anything, including a grey suit or a nice pair of jeans.

The Basic Shoe (Leffot)

  • We like: Tod’s, Peal & Co. (Brook’s Brothers), Leffot and Cole Rood & Haan

[check out Leffot for some of the best shoes…  here]

2)  … acquire one well tailored sports-jacket or suit:

The difference between a skillfully constructed jacket and the full suit is often 100USD-200USD so our logic says, spring up the extra couple bucks for the whole thing—but not just any suit; here we are exclusively talking about what will be the most versatile suit you ever buy: a navy suit. Why navy? Navy suits are handsome, can be work with anything from suede loafers and a grey polo underneath (for a casual feel) to a more formal configuration with a  crisp oxford shirt and chocolate-brown lace-ups and just about any tie you throw at it. Better yet, should you be on business for a day or two it’s the only suit you need to take. The jacket can be worn on its own with grey trousers or, for a night out on the town, jeans and a pair of boots.

The Navy Suit (Ralph Lauren)

What to look for:

  • Expensive DOES NOT usually mean better: but in the world of shoes and suits, those without flashy logos, it usually does- get ready to pay well over $800USD for one. (OR check out Brooks Brother’s which still has the industry’s best off-peg suits… for a trim look  try the Milano fit. J.Crew also has Loro Piana wool suits in their Ludlow line). Look for drape. Drape is the way the fabric hangs on your body- this is truly the biggest difference between a ‘good’ suit, and a ‘great’ one.
  • One or two buttons. Unless you’re in the American NBA player or are an African dictator, four to five buttons is never necessary… two are just enough as one (the bottom) remains unbuttoned. Which is why, should it have one button, we’d recommend it even more.
  • Wide face? Peak lapel. Skinny and long-ish face? Notch lapel. Or so goes the wisdom. Shawl collars are for smoking jackets and velvet frocks.
  • Construction: live in the tropics? The Carribean, Miami, Singapore, or the Philipiines? Stick to light cottons or twills and, if you can find it, a deconstructed jacket (i.e. one that is not lined and therefore ‘cooler’. Everywhere else try a multi-seasonal wool or wool blend. Scrunch it up in your hands; the fabric shoucl bounce back and not leave wrinkiles. If it does wrinkle, it’s cheap… keep walking.
  • Fit. TRUE FIT gentlemen is not waollowing in a jacket. The shouldders should be snug but not tight. Armholes high; cuff should not cover your hand and the jackets buttons shoulc cinch slightly at the waist. A great suit it supposed to give you a better figure (that’s silhouette in girl-speak) than you actually have… you’re not supposed to make the suit look worse than the shape it actually is. AND don’t cuff your pants…

Navy Suit! We like:

The Navy Suit revisited...

 

  • International: Ralph Lauren Black or Purple Label, Brooks Brothers, Zegna (***), Kitton, Canali and Loro Piana.
  • US: Billy Reid, Freeman’s Sporting Goods, Tomas Maier (trust us…) and by extension Bottega Veneta, and Tom Ford (should you want to part with part of your kids inheritance…)-(they are unforgettable suits however).
  • For the ‘fuller’ man: Brook’s Brother, J.Press (US only), Ralph Lauren, and Paul Stuart.
  • For the ‘rakish’ man: John Varvatos, Thom Brown… and by extension Black Fleece (Thom Brown for Brooks Brothers), and Phineas Cole (Paul Stuart).

3) … not smell like every other guy I  know:

Due to the passion of some (ahem) this blog, at times, has seemed as more of a fragrance blog than anything else.  A recent piece on the New York Times confessed that mos men’s sale of Colognes were in the guise of Bleu (Chanel) and Polo’s multi-colored and numbered creations: both rehashes of a much more refined Cool Water and a mis-match of old (boring) standards respectively. Live a little- smell different! Men are afraid of buying cologne, why, we don’t know… perhaps it’s because a man walking into a store and having something sprayed on him and then carefully smelling it conjures  a trifecta of paranoias of manlihood, vanity and foppishness that makes most men queasy. Fine we get it. If that’s the case try our friends at Luckyscent (www.luckyscent.com) – you can search for your next fragrance by what you currently wear or by components such as “citrus”, “fresh” or “aqua”. Find a couple you like, order small samples at $3.00 each and try them in the privacy of your own man-space- try each on for a day or two (on your skin, this is important) and find the one you like! If you happen to be in New York check out Aedes de Venustas (www.venustas.com) on 9th and Christopher Street.

We like: Memoir Man by Amouage, Feuilles de Tabac by Miller Harris (fantastic!) and Fiquier by Heeley (all available at Lucky Scent).

The scent for the Season...

For more “commercial” fragrances a few stand-out. Most large department stores both in the US and Internationally carry colognes from Creed and Santa Maria Novella… all worth trying as both houses make great stuff. The quintessential men’s cologne? Chanel’s Pour Monsieur Eau de Parfum (NOT the Eau de Toilette, not the Eau Concentree but the Eau de Parfum… trust us!).

The Archetype...

4) …Discover great champagne:

There’s seems to be something inherently effete about Champagne- perhaps it’s the bubbles or the endless tirade of images of scantily-clad women (and androgynous guys) drinking the stuff, but champagne has been relegated to the realm of feminine products. Rest assured there is nothing “precious” about drinking champagne; one of champagne’s biggest champions was Winston-Churchill and who’s going to argue that the boozy womanizer was not masculine? Churchill’s passion for Champagne was such than in one of his rallying speeches to English forces in World War II proclaimed “…remember Gentlemen, we do not do this only for France, but for Champagne!”

The Man

The problem is that many champagne houses are now owned by fashion houses, the very same peddling women overpriced bags, shoes and accessories (not to mention make-up). Case-in-point: Louis Vuitton, whose parent company, Louis-Vuitton-Moet Hennessey (LVMH) owns Chanel, DKNY, Dior, Pucci, Marc Jacobs, Aqua di Parma, Sephora, along with Chateau Cheval Blanc, Chateau d’Yquem, Hennessy Cognac, Champagne Krug, Moet-et-Chandon and Dom Perignon… to name a few of course. What this ultimately creates is Champagne being sold as a fashion accessory, the next “it bag” as opposed to what it really is: a wine. Champagne, the wine, is first and foremost a wine, one that has bubbles. It’s effervescence is at the same time both incidental and part of its magic. The wine, can only come from the hilly and remote region of Champagne in France, hence its namesake. This region, dotted with dozens of funny-sounding villages, produces a handful of wonderful and fabulous wine every gentleman should know and keep in his fridge, ready to enjoy and either celebrate a special occasion or make any occasion special.

The Bubbly... Cuvee Louis by Tarlant

What we like:

  • “Casual Bubbly”: Billecart-Salon Brut, Tarlant Zero, Bollinger, Pierre-Peters, Jaquesson, Roederer and Delamotte.
  • “Champagne for Romance”: Billecart Brut Rose
  • “Serious Celebratory Effervescence”: Krug Grande Cuvee, Dom Perignon Oenotheque Series 1979, Krug Clos de Mesnil 1990, Salon 1995, Billecart-Salmon Nicolas Francois 1988 or Vilmart et Cie “Cuvee Creation” 1997 (trust us…)

oh, and PS: ditch the flute and ask for a white wine glass instead…it’s wine, not a cocktail.

5)… learn to cook one new dish…

[From our friends at MAN-CAN-COOK]

Any woman will tell you a sexy man is one who can cook… and while the way to a man’s heart may be his stomach the kind of vivacious women worth holding onto have the very same gastronomic detour to their hearts.

Want to try something great? We like:

Pasta all’amatriciana

The indispensable dish...

(adapted / inspired by “Hosteria Oswaldo” in Rome)

Ingredients

  • 1 x 1lb can of “San Marzano” Tomatoes (ask the clerk…)
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1Tablespoon of red pepper flakes
  • 3 strips of bacon (fatty bacon), chopped (for authenticity’s sake one should use pancetta)
  • 2 Tablespoons of cream
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pecorino-Romano cheese
  • ¼ lb / 100gr. Dry Spaghetti or Spaghetti Rigatti (TGG reccomends Barilla)

Equipment:

  • 1 small to medium sauce-pan
  • 1 large pot for boiling
  • 1 blender (or food mill should you be inclined)
  • cheese grater
  • knife

The method:

  • Small saucepan: with of olive oil on medium heat stir around the chopped shallot of and garlic until soft (but not brown).  Add the Red pepper flakes.
  • Add tomatoes and crush them with a spoon; and let the sauce sit until it bubbles a couple times. Turn on low—let it simmer away (on low heat) for 15 minutes.
  • Place in blender and liquefy. Clean the pot and put it back on the heat.
  • Now, on medium heat, add another tablespoon of olive oil and the bacon. Cook the bacon a bit but not to a crisp. Add the puree of tomato, the cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. On low heat bring it back to a simmer for 5 minutes and then turn it off!
  • Fill big pot with water, bring it to a boil, and add enough salt until it tastes like seawater. Follow the packaged instructions for an al-dente pasta (usually 7 minutes).
  • Once done, drain the pasta (reserve 1 cup of the liquid); and put hot pasta in a bowl. Add six or so tablespoons of the hot tomato sauce with bacon and two tablespoons of grated cheese. Toss.
  • Serve in two bowls and spoon excess toss from the bowl on top and grate some cheese over the two portion.
  • You’re done… enjoy!
  • Rosso di Montalcino or a Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, while not local, are you’re best bets…

2010 Gift Round-up

WE at the Young Gentlemen’s guide recognize the importance of a good gift; one that is well-thought out, refined and appreciated. A good gift is one that is not inevitably necessary but superfluously essential: one that you would not buy yourself but would happily receive.

Gentleman’s hint: these gifts work well for the other Gentlemen in a Young Gentlemen’s life…

For Him


iPad Folio (from Temple Bags)

The only iPad folio you’ll ever need- sleek, stylish, comfortable and will age gracefully. There are quite a bit of choice out there but we like these from Temple Bags.

A scent to bring that special someone near: Figuier by Heeley


The Fig Leaf

Ethereal, from our Editor-at-Large and lead Perfume Critic; Alejandro Ortiz: ” This was truly magical, i couldn’t take my nose off of it… it hits immediately with a beuaotful note of  freshly-shaved fennel and fennel seed with whisps of green tones which unfurls into waves of powderiness before settling into soft citrus tones- perfectly balanced, delicate and nuanced and yet present, serene. This Heeley at its best! -AO”

Find it at Lucky-Scent

Corduroy Tie by Alexander Olch

Cord Tie

Understated yet bold; a tradition of hand-crafted, hand-folded ties in a laid-back fabric. But this isn’t teenage corduroy- this is thin wale, Italian corduroy that is butter soft. We recommend navy or burgundy colors to truly bring out the vibrancy of the fabric. Get it here.

Cigars from Nat Sherman:The VIP “Baron Selection”

The Smoke(s)

There is no more gilded name in the world of American Tobacconists than that of Nat Sherman.  Nat opened his doors in the 1930’s and made a name for himself and his cigars selling to Gentleman’s Clubs in New York City for over 75 years.

This is a selection of their VIP line of Cigars originally “names for the captains of industry… that helped to shape the face of…” New York. The cigars are beautifully creamy and lush. Dominican and South American Tobacco. Find it here.

Rum dressed as Cognac: Ron Zacapa XO

The drink

From ‘Ministry of Rum‘:

Brown rum distilled from sugar cane syrup. Blend of rums aged from 6 to 25 years. in used whisky and bourbon barrels.

Like the other Zacapa rums XO is aged in a combination of bourbon, delicate sherry and Pedro Ximenez wine casks to create a unique depth of flavor and character. After three years the used barrels are emptied and then recharred while the contents are married with other rums in the first part of the Zacapa solera system. Scraping and recharring the used barrels give the rum a sweeter flavor from the newly charred wood.

The premium rum from Zacapa, XO is aged in used specially selected cognac barrels for an additional two years giving it a slightly drier flavor and finish compared to Zacapa Centenario Reserva.

PS- Try it with the cigars!

For Her

A wise man once said: “As a gift, you only buy a woman two things: jewelry or lingerie otherwise you don’t know what you’re doing!”

For this we need to take out the big guns; four things we like:

Family Jewels-

Jewelry is not skimping territory, but that does not mean that you can’t make an impact with what you get that special woman in your life, be it your significant other or your mom. Van Cleef and Arpels, Cartier and many other players carry more trinkets than most men know what to do with- but no color or name makes a woman heart skip as much as Tiffany’s so with that in mind we bring you two options; the first for under $250USD whilst the latter falls below $1000.00USD- either way, they both say “I care and I appreciate you…”

The Silver Bracelet by Tiffany’s

 

A Classic

 

 

(above) Medium twist bangle in sterling silver. Size large, fits wrists up to 6.75″ in circumference.


The glimmering necklace by Tiffany’s

 

Tiffany Diamonds included…

 

 

(above) Tiffany gets to the heart of the matter. Pendant with round brilliant diamonds in platinum. On a 16″ chain.

A little Sexy…

For men, buying lingerie can be a dicey game; often the divergence comes in what a man finds supremely erotic and she finds, well… whorish. The idea here is, Gentlemen, to get her something that will make her look beautiful (not like a porn-star);  if it’s early on in the game, stick to nighties and little silk numbers that cover just enough… but not too much.

Our picks from one of the best houses around: La Perla

The Safe bet: The Nightie (aka The Babydoll)…

 

(above) get it here

Sexy but Playful...

 

(above) Get it here

Either way… A gentleman gives without expecting to receive; It’s about celebrating life, celebrating the art of living.

Happy Holidays from TGG

TGG’s New Look



New Look, New Attitude same great dedication to the “Bespoke Life.” Check us out on Facebook as well as give us your feedback at TGG@theyounggentlemensguide.net tell us what you want to hear, what you want us to cover and what you want us to explore.

New Features:

– The Question guy: ask questions, food, love, clothes, gadgets- get answers; the new column will be released in July; send us an email us at TGG@theyounggentlemensguide.net with the subject title “QG”

– Continuing Coverage of the 2009 Bordeaux vintage

– Conslusions of Fragrances of Summer

– Gentlemen’s Wardrobe

– New Editions of Superfluous Necessities

Smell’s Like Summer 2010: Santa Maria Novella “Aqua di Sicilia”

The House

The bright sun has only recently arrived in the Adriatic Coast—months of putrid, cloudy and rainy cold has given way to a piquant sun that makes it quite evident why Montenegro’s coast has become the stuff of legends lately and an up-and-coming destination for the jet set  (don’t hold your breath on the food or awkward Slavic-hospitlaity however).

But as soon as I saw the first warm day and bright sun I though about a cologne I had smelled once upon a time on a trip to Milan. I was sitting in a Café, having a gin and tonic in the heat of summer when a young woman asked me if she could borrow my ashtray, as she came in to whisk it away I caught a very faint whiff of an aroma that reminded me of the bright orange orchards I smelled in my youth growing up in South Florida.

The smell was sweet but fresh and made me close me eyes for a moment while a very faint woody aroma perked me out of my trance to ask her what perfume she was wearing. She laughed “…Oh it’s not mine, it’s some guy’s I met last night…” she said with a matter-of-fact chuckle and then turned back to her girlfriends on the adjacent table. I was stunned.

Back in New York I popped into a department store on a mission to find this perfume. I found the perfume lady and all I had to say was “magical mandarin, oranges and…” but before I could finish she pulled out a flacon of Santa Maria Novella “Aqua di Sicilia.”

The Stuff

Santa Maria Novella has a great story that a romantic like me adores;

Established by the Dominican Fathers shortly after 1221, Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is one of the oldes pharmacies in the world. Starting out with cultivating and growing herbs which they needed to prepare medications, balms and creams for the monastery’s little infirmary. In 1612 when their products gained renowny even in foreign countries, it was decided that the pharmacy should be opened to the public. In the 18th century, thanks to the efficacy of the many formulas used, the fame of the pharmacy spread as far as Russia, the Indies and distant China. Subsequent to the Italian government’s confiscation of church property, in 1866 the activity passed into the hands of the state, which rented it out to Cesare Augusto Sefani, nephew of the last Dominican director of the Officina. Stefani aquired the name and the property, and since then four generations of the same family have owned and managed the Officina Farmaceutica. Presently under the direction of Eugenio Alphandery, the tradition is being carried on with unaltered success. Production is limited and is meticulously controlled. Only the highest quality natural ingrediens are used, and the procedures continue the founding father’s tradition. Every product of the Officina has a story to tell.

(from the Aedes de Venustas website)

but it’s the smell of sweet sun-drenched mandarins, orange blossom, a hint of lemon, spice and cypress that wooed me over. The price is steep, but worth it. (Buy it here)

TGG Classification: Summer and early fall.

Recommended Uses: Everywhere, all the time, even in bed.