5 Things of the Moment: February 2013

In less than a month we rejoice at the arrival of Spring, warmer weather and  slightly longer days which melt into the balmy nights and sunny days of summer.

WITH temperatures shyly rising, in-between seasons are tricky times and although we will be releasing our Spring 2011 Manual (this Friday) for now these are our five favorite things of the moment…

The Venerable Home Shirt

The man at rest...

A gentleman’s home is his castle, not his cave and one can neither parade around in a smoking jacket all day nor can one walk around shirtless. This is why we believe that in a man’s wardrobe there is the need for the venerable, comfy, home shirt.

The Henley is the perfect shirt for this; long-sleeve for the cooler mornings (which can be rolled up as the temperature climbs, and, should you need to run a quick errand, a button short can be thrown on top of it at a moment’s notice. Look for a Henley that’s, made of soft cotton and comfortable. Fit is important, you shouldn’t be swimming in it, but neither should it look like you spray-painted it on (it’s not a muscle shirt).

The Safety Razor

The comfortable shave

Even the most ardent gentleman is tempted to go ‘grizzly’ during the cold winter months but Spring is time to welcome a new year, clean-shaven and properly groomed. Paying $24USD for four-pack of triple razors for a $3 razor that looks reversed engineered from a Transformer can be fun, but overall an unnecessary waste of money.

The truth is while three blades may give you a closer shave- they also irritate the skin much more causing razor bumps and ingrown hairs. The solution: an old-fashioned safety razor (the above is from German stalwart Merkur available at http://www.Amazon.com or here): “I swear by it,” says Alejandro Ortiz our Editor-at-Large “first off their incredibly economical and a single razor can easily sustain two weeks of regular shaving and they give a great shave without irritating my skin…”

The razor head itself may cost more than the drug-store plastic wonder, but pays for itselves in razor-savings within a few weeks.

A Boat Club

The life…

If you live by water and you don’t have a boat, then move somewhere else! We know why you don’t of course- the Young Gentlemean has many things to take care of and financial prudence is one of them which is why a Boat club is the best option.

Owning a boat is expensive, nevermoind the cost of buying the boat, but then you have to keep it in a marina, maintain it, insure it and the list (and costs) go on and on. With a boat club all those worries are gone! You only pay a monthly fee ($150-$300 depending on your club) and there will always be a boat waiting for you! No maintenance fees, no docking fees nothing= no headaches= pure pleasure. Enjoy

We like www.freedomboatclub.com but there are many boat clubs out there- shop around!

The iPad

The ultimate past-time…

Sure it’s been around but there is no better gadget on the planet (Barnes and Noble’s Nook and Amazon’s Kindle are good, but cannot do everything an iPad can!). As the spring draws near and the nights slightly warm, it’s a good time to squeeze in a couple more books before it’s too late. www.store.apple.com

Cotton Chinos (by Brooks Brother’s)

The standards of Spring…

Chino season is coming, but it’s not too early to begin dusting the mothballs off them. A soft pair of chinos with a comfy Henley is the ideal stay-at-home get-up one which can, with a simply button-down shirt, be immediately dressed up. Live a little though, experiment with colors far beyond khaki and grey. We like Brooks Brother’s new line of soft cotton twill chinos which can be both casual-cool and with a roll or two of the cuff and a polo or a spruced up with a sports coat and an oxford..

-TGG

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:

The Almanac of What the Modern Man Needs to Know: The Fuente Anejo #48

Many Fuente enthusiasts are thrown in ecstasy when they come across the highly desirable Opus X. Indeed, the Opus X has attained somewhat of a cult following in the cigar community. The ability to carry the Opus X is occasionally viewed as mark of excellence for cigar dealers.

The House

by: Richard Urban

NEEDLESS to say that i was very excited when  I smoked my first Opus X several years ago. Sadly,  I was left disappointed and thus continued my search for the perfect celebration cigar. Alas, I found said cigar in a lesser known offering from the venerable Arturo Fuente house. Some readers may remember that I mentioned in my previous column that I was devotee of the Anejo line. The cigars in this line from Fuente are some of the scarcest in the world. If the Opus X represents gold to the premium cigar smoker than the Anejo must represent platinum.

The quest for the Anejo is often an elusive one. Very few stores actually carry offerings from this line. Indeed, some retailers proudly claim it is the rarest cigar in the world. Fuente releases Anejos only around Father’s Day and Christmas in minute quantities. When one does find an Anejo, there is usually a strict three cigar per customer limit and an overly-inflated price. The retail price from Fuente is between $9.00 and $12.00 in the U.S. (depending on size) but it is not unheard of to see a price of $30.00 or more in cigar shops nation-wide.

The Goods

The Anejo No. 48 represents the epitome of luxury. Many of its components are secret, though it is believed to include blends used in the Opus X, Don Carlos, and Hemingway lines. Once it has been rolled it is aged in cognac barrels. I had the rare pleasure of being permitted to purchase a box of these rarities from a local dealer two years ago. Since that time I have smoked them only on special occasions.

The Test Drive

The first thing one notices about the Anejo is the presentation. A cedar wrapper encases the cigar with a red felt wrapper holding it all in place.

The Smoke

Upon lighting the cigar, one is greeted with aromatic delight. A combination of earthy, chocolate, and cognac scents provide the nostrils with a delightful experience. A small soft draw is all that is needed to keep this cigar light, allowing for a relaxed meditation. Immediately apparent is the flavor is the light scents of cedar interspersed with hints of spice. As it continues, the flavor of cognac is apparent but not overpowering. If one pays close attention, a hint of chocolate can be detected.

Another unique characteristic of the Anejo is the scent it produces. A friend of mine, who does not share my enthusiasm for cigars, once remarked that cigars smell wonderful until lit. The Anejo, however, seems to only get better as one smokes it. The aroma of flowers, cedar, and cognac is combined to produce an enjoyable bouquet [haters not withstanding].

The Experience

There is only one drawback when it comes to the Anejo; the fluctuating and always high price. As a result the Anejo is a cigar meant for special occasions. It is the Dom Perignon of cigars. Perfect for celebrating the purchase of your first sports-car or the post wedding conversation with your new father in law.

 
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.

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 www.charbay.com

The 2011 Gift Roundup!

Well…It’s that time of year again  and if you haven’t rounded up gifts for those special people on your life, then you’re in trouble!

THAT of course does not apply to you, dear reader, you have us, and we at TGG have rounded up a list of fail-safe gifts for either a) that special gentleman in your life (ladies) or b) a young Gentlemen’s father, brother, or bosss…

Read on…

 

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

 

For Him

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon

The Watch

From our friends at Gentlemen’s Gadgets

Suit fits like a second skin, shoes are polished perfectly, shirt’s dazzling white, well then there’s an a definite need for an adequate timekeeper to complete the package. Jaquet Droz presents their latest watch, the Grande Seconde Tourbillon, which displays a loud elegance including an astonishing tourbillon carriage crafted from sapphire crystal. The case is made from 18kt gold and measures 43mm, the dial exhibits Grand Feu enamel, and the caliber is a Swiss automatic Jaquet Droz in-house caliber 25JD with 31 jewels, 21.600 vph and a power reserve of 7 days.

A scent to bring that special someone near:

HISTORIES de PERFUME ‘edition rare’ : PÉTROLEUM

The Fragrance

From our friends at Aedes de Venustas NYC:

In all of its precious form Oudh is effortlessly felt throughout the fragrance. Woven with bergamot and orange its fresh top notes unfold, assertively layered with woody and resinous power. Ozonic floralcy lives at the heart as a mystical rose unveils warmed ambered stones. An eccentric chypre character exhales narcotic fumes with an intense signature of leather wrapped in lucid white musk…

It is a potion, a rare elixir that will lead to exalted ecstasy and pure euphoria.

[What?! – it’s smells good that’s what…]-TGG

TOP NOTES: Oud, Bergamot, Aldehyde

MIDDLE NOTES: Rose, oud, amber

BASE NOTES: Oud, civet, leather, patchouli.

CATEGORY: Woody

buy here

 

A Grown Man’s Duffle Bag from T.Anthony

 

From our friends at T.Anthony:

With luxurious leather detailing our stylish canvas and leather carry on is ideal for shorter trips or weekend getaways. Lightweight and spacious, it has a removable shoulder strap and two interior zip pockets. This duffle is a customer favorite and a perfect gift item for travelers of any kind. 22” x 12” x 11”

[PS- they put your initials on it too… if that’s not enough you actually are carrying something distinctive and distinguished – not a tattered all cheap suitcase. If you want an “wheeled duffle” option check one out here]

The Cigar: Torano Single Region Jalapa Serie

The Smoke

From our friends at Cigarfan.net:

The word terroir means “land” in French, but it is most commonly used in the wine trade to indicate the qualities that are imparted to grapes by the growing environment. This basically comes down to soil quality and weather, both of which have a tremendous impact on the quality of the fruit.

The same thing goes for tobacco (and coffee, and probably all agricultural products.) Tobacco is a resilient plant that will grow almost anywhere, but black tobacco suitable for cigar making is much more finicky and is in many ways sensitive to the terroir. A tobacco grower does everything he can to produce the ideal conditions that will result in the type of leaf he wants –  from buttressing the soil with minerals and fertilizers to shading the plants with cloth to create a lighter shade of wrapper leaf.

Cigar blends usually incorporate leaves from several different regions to create a balance of the best qualities of each region. As an example (maybe not a great one), piloto cubano from the Dominican Republic might be used for spice, combined with a milder volado leaf to promote an even burn; a broadleaf binder from Connecticut might be used to give it a round leathery taste, and it might be finished off with a maduro wrapper from the San Andres Valley of Mexico for a chocolatey sweetness. It would be unusual to find tobacco with all of those qualities in one region, let alone one farm.

But that is exactly what the Toraño family has done with its Single Region release. Part of the reason they are able to do this is because it’s a hell of a region — the Jalapa Valley of Northern Nicaragua is one of the most fertile and productive places to grow cigar tobacco outside of Cuba. The Jalapa Valley is known for the sweetness and rich flavor of its tobacco, and is sometimes contrasted with tobacco from Esteli, which tends to be sharper and stronger.

All of the tobaccos in the Toraño’s Single Region come from one farm called El Estero after a stream that runs through the farm.

To buy: Ask you local tobacconist.

 

 

Tequila dressed as Cognac: Don Julio 1942

The Drink

A tribute tequila of astonishing depth, Tequila Don Julio 1942 (a limited-edition tequila) is best appreciated when served in a snifter.

The luxury tequila of choice in Mexico, Tequila Don Julio uses only the choicest, fully matured and ripened blue agave hand- selected from the rich, clay soils of the Los Altos region.

In commemoration of Don Julio’s 60th anniversary of producing the highest quality tequila, Tequila Don Julio 1942 was born. Using a personal selection of prime agave, Don Julio created this unique batch of tequila aged for at least two and a half years in American white oak barrels. Adding even more to its exclusivity, Tequila Don Julio 1942 is made with the distillate in Pot Still 6, which produces only three barrels per cycle.

Color: Deep, bright amber hue with specks of gold; full-bodied.

Nose: Sweet aromas of caramelized cherries and tones of nuts, almonds and chocolate combine with exotic cinnamon and a light essence of oak. The vanilla fragrance is interestingly sweet and enjoyable.

Taste: A silky, smooth character that coats the palate with roasted agave flavors, vanilla, sun-ripened tropical fruits and spiced undertones to create a wonderfully unique tequila experience.

Finish: Beautiful, sweet agave-laced finish with lingering hints of oak and rich vanilla essence; a full-bodied creaminess resulting from distillation and aging

[nuff said] – TGG

FOR the Young Gentlemen with Ladies in his life it is important that such gifts reflect the same class and attention to detail he wishes to embellish on himself.

Ultimately a gift is personal and not all women like champagne and truffles; some may just prefer a vintage cigar with a good bottle of brandy [God bless such women]. Nevertheless The Young Gentlemen’s Guide has rounded up a variety of basics sure to please most Ladies.

As for that ‘special woman’ in a Gentlemen’s life (i.e. not your mother) we always you stick stick to our traditional dictum: some say “…Go big or go home…” with her gift we say “…go bling or go sexy…” [i.e. jewelry or lingerie].

For Mom (grandma, cousin, boss, etc…)

A Box of Serenity: Santa Maria Novella Gift Boxes

The Goods...

From our Friends at Aedes de Venustas:

A beautiful signature Santa Maria Novella gift box filled with the signature Melograno candle, Melograno soap, a small box of potpourri and lemon verbena scented hand cream. Makes a stunning gift for any occasion.

[Guys… trust on this one…]

Buy here

“Happiest of Holiday Box” by John & Kira Chocolates 

 

 

The Sweets...

Local, organic, and sustainable… but just as important: handcrafted, top-notch ingredients and utterly delicious. Sure you can get that same old golden box of factory made Belgian stuff, but then again it’s everywhere and that makes it utterly not special. Know what we mean? For the same amount of dough you can go the quality route while repeating to yourself the golden rule “small is beautiful…”

This 28 piece chocolate box is John&Kira’s most classic and popular holiday gift and features all ten of their award winning flavors.

To make them, they infuse real herbs and spices into fresh cream, such as just picked garden mint or fresh young ginger from the island of Molokai in Hawaii. The infused cream is then heated and poured over amazingly complex Valrhona milk or dark chocolate and mixed until a super creamy ganache is achieved. The ganache is then poured into a frame, allowed to set for 48 hours, and cut into one and a quarter inch squares. Finally, each delicate square is enrobed in a thin layer of 62% dark Valrhona chocolate and marked by hand with a fork. The brown and red box is finished with a letter-pressed card announcing “The Happiest of Holidays To You”.

Buy them here

Ok—So, how bout for that very special woman? Go bling or go sexy (or go home!)

Go Bling: Victorian Mine-Cut Diamond Pendant

Victorian Mine-Cut Diamond Pendant

The Bling

Buy here… (don’t say we didn’t warn you– ultimately it’s a direction…)

Go Sexy: Lingerie from Agent Provocateur

Classic Agent Provocateur; the finest pink lace with a black Chantilly lace overlay in a flirtatious floral pattern.

The Classics - Francoise

The Sexy...

 Buy here

 

The Young Gentlemen’s Guide wishes everyone a Happy Holiday Season!

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!)…

The Young Gentlemen’s Summer Guide 2011


The temperature keeps rising, the days longer and the nights become balmier as Spring unfurls into summer but not to worry The Young Gentlemen’s Guide is here!

Although not quite “hot” yet in most parts of the world (Europe is still quite cool, and the band that stretches from Barcelona through Milan, Istanbul and Dubrovnik a bit on the grey and rainy-side) the time has come to get ready for summer nonetheless. For the true gentleman, one that eschews the wonts and desires of trends and fashionistas respectively what then does summer mean to him?

Wardrobe

Time to loosen it up… hot weather overall all too often translates into the degeneration of a man’s attention to the ‘smartness’ of his attire: i.e. when it gets hot, he gets sloppy. No reason; beating the heat does not mean dressing any less sharp than before-. Size is still king, wearing a size to two too big does not equal cool (in either use of the word). Play around with fabrics; most makers, houses, haberdashers and designers offer lighter-weight versions of their shirts and trousers.

  • Looking Forward (Posts to Come…):
    • 5 Things of the Moment: The summer wardrobe.
    • Linen Primer
    • “Color Me Bad: The Ins and Outs of Bright Summer Sartorial Splendor”

Drink

The time for “dark spirits” (re: Scotch, Cognac, etc…) is slowly coming to an end. But if you still can’t put down your Bourbon try the myriad “white whiskeys” or “moonshine” out on the market today; sadly many of these are only available in the States. Gin, as ever, is appropriate (and welcome) at any time of the year and a Gin Fizz (Gin+Soda Water+Squeeze Lime) is always welcome (leave the Vodka for another time). No spirit is as identifiable with summer as Rum and with it the brilliance of a TRUE Daiquiri (one part rum+two pars lime juice+1 part sugar/ shake/ on ice + bitters); this was one of Hemingway’s favorites, often called the “Hemingway Daiquiri”- one sip and you’ll know why. Stick with traditional white Rums (Don Q, Methuselah, Havana Club) or Premium whites (Orinoco, Cane 5 etc) and don’t skimp on the fresh lime.

  • Looking Forward on Man-Can-Drink:
    • Summer Gin Drinks
    • The Hemingway Daiquiri
    • The Perfect Mojito
    • Punch

Wine

Need we remind any gentleman out there that once the temperature surpasses a certain point at midday reds are out of the question. Most of the French (especially those sun bathing on the Mediterranean coast) may argue that that point is 77F while others may argue this point the dictum stands: If it’s hot / sunny enough to get a tan, it’s warm enough for a rose. There we said it. Man-up, rose is not foppish, nor is it supposed to be sweet… a great rose carries with it the refreshing crispness of a white with the nuanced romance of a red; all in a wine that can be enjoyed with anything from a burger, to grilled prawns or a beautiful sunset.  For an authentic summer rose stick to those of Provence  (southern France).

  • Looking Forward on Man-Can-Wine:
    • The Rose Primer
    • California Summer-Wine Round-up
    • The Allure of Italian Whites
    • Obscure Pleasures

Fragrance

You DON’T HAVE TO change your fragrance with the seasons, this is true—but you don’t have to stop wearing as Jacket either… it’s just nice to. Most of life’s pleasures are purely elective and those small details which bring civilization into our daily lives can too be casted as frivolous—but then again that’s their nature (so stop complaining already). At this point all the heavy oriental fragrances, the colognes with heavy woods and musks and those with an orange hue need to go away (remember: cool, dark, place…). Reach out for fragrances which remind you of the pleasures of summer. Last year we brought you the “Smells Like Summer” which we are bringing back on 2011 with a new line-up of fragrances. Summer is the time for fragrances that are light, airy and err on the green, fresh, citrus or aquatic side. Stay tuned. (We like the Heeley Sel Marin above… review coming soon).

  • Looking Forward on Smell’s Like Summer 2011
    • Summer 2011 Basics
    • The Aquatics
    • Fresh and Citrus

Life

Summer is time to let go, relax, and through out all the baggage. Take up a hobby; sky dive, learn to fly, go boating but whatever you do…. Relax.

  • Looking Forward on Bespoke Life:
    • A boat all your own…
    • A Man, A Plane
    • Superfluous Necessities
    • Ron Tulotta keeps lighting up our blog with his Cuban Cigar posts
    • And more!

Stay tuned and join the discussion, leave your comments and follow us on Twitter (TGG_Insider) and Facebook!

The Almanac of What a Man Needs to Know: Winter Cologne

To many, winter and its smells, are more associated with the celebrations, rituals and foods of the season than with any other particular thing.

THIS, of course, differs depending on your particular cultural and ethnic background, but for most winter means musky tones; burning wood, pine, cinnamon, spices, etcetera. Throw into this mix, a healthy does of celebratory food which can range from the scent of masala and fish sauce, to jerk seasoning and roasting goose and, well, you get the idea… it’s a whole lot of smells thrown in together. So why add more?

The Difficulty of Choice…

Most men’s fragrance-choice gets dictated by 1) what their father wore 2) what they have worn more or less since high-school or college and/or 3) what their partner, girlfriend, wife etc has bought for them. Gentlemen; is this any way to truly choose anything that defines you as a person? We think not.

Man meets Fragrance.

The Ritual

As we covered in the “In an Out of Summer Colognes…(here)” there are some basics in the world of men wearing cologne which we will paraphrase here:

1- You should, but don’t have to, switch-up your cologne/scent two to three times a year; if anything, keep it simple: a scent for when it’s cold, and one for when it’s hot. Also, should a long vacation or trip be in the schedule, don’t be afraid to pick a small bottle of something up to wear during this time—say a Turkish inspired cologne for a month in Istanbul and the Bosphorus… it will always bring back great memories every time you smell it.

2- Buy small bottles. The smaller the better- most scents perform at their peak for 2 years or so, especially those with more natural compositions which bring us to the second:

3- Don’t buy scents at a drug-store: these are often left-over dregs which have been stored carelessly and are often years old. Stick to (yes, annoying) department stores perfume counters (insist you know what you like) or check out www.luckyscent.com where you can browse by scent, producer and even order up as many samples as your heart desires.

4- Wear the stuff- to go to the drug-store, for a date, to lounge around the house: consider it aroma-therapy.

And remember:

5- 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, enough to kiss you, then only then can tell you’re wearing a 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.

Right! On with it!

Winter perfumes should not smell like a Christmas tree, nor remind you of Santa. That’s not the point- but because of the festivities, food, cold, and associated minutia encircling the winter season fragrances for this time tend to be a bit more substantial: woods, spices and musks.

The Winter Archetype: Brown Spices

Here we may hear such scents are “Orientals” which imply Indian sandalwood, star anise, and coriander, let’s say. Animalist scents, as uncouth as this may sound, is popular during this time, it gives you, its wearer, a bit of erotic mystique. These are namely ambergris (the best way we can put this… think of it as fermented sperm-whale honey), musks (most are synthetic…) and civet (a wild-cat… nuff said).

The Raw Ingredient: Sandalwood (Santal)

Moreover, whereas “fresh” citrus scents are apt in summer, winter (and fall for that matter) call for more cooked, roasted, and/or caramelized flavors: baked apples, burnt orange peel and the ever popular and fragrant bergamot (the orange which flavors otherwise ‘standard black’ earl grey tea.

Leathers have also become popular in fragrances as has, thanks to inroads made into perfumery, smells such as “smokiness”, all of which add a little bit of mystery and anticipation to the wearer, and that’s what you want!

Coming up: Smell’s like 2011 – Gentlemen’s Winter Fragrances

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

Bespoke Life: Man Soap

SOAP may not, at first glance, seem “manly” but it is the mark of a gentleman to be superbly clean and ‘presentable’ at all times, after all you never know when such readiness will be tested.

If you are a regular reader of this publication you no doubt have read plenty about our fragrance recommendations but, if you are a businessman or fellow traveler, carrying around an array of fragrances becomes clumsy, silly, and, if like most of us, you try and subside on carry-on, impractical.

Luca Turin, perfume-critic extraordinaire and the subject of a great read called The Emperor of Scent (find it here on Amazon.com) once recommended in his now-defunct blog, that the best way for a smell-conscious man to get his cake and eat it too (and eschew the annoying plastic bag search at the airport) is to take his favorite fragrances with him in the guise of a bar of soap.

Many of today’s perfumers make a soap-bar version of some of their most popular creations, these are not loud “Irish Mist” concoctions that smell somewhat of toilet cleaner and pine, but quality all-natural soaps imbued with the essence of say Santa Maria Novella’s tobacco and flower-leather-scented “Tobacco Toscano”. No need for an atomizer, no need for liquid, out of the shower the smell is on you… all over you (if you catch our drift).

Moreover, soaps, once dry, are easily transportable and demand not special handling in pesky airport security points and are cheaper, by the ounce, than any fragrance out there.

Below are three of our favorites from Aedes de Venustas in New York:

  • Eau d’Hadrien by Annick Goutal

Smell like a King...

A fresh and sparkling blend. Inspired by Marguerite Yourcenar’s novel -“The Memoirs of Hadrian”- Annick Goutal expresses the emotions evoked by the [Roman] emperor Hadrian. The bestselling fragrance combines Sicilian lemon and grapefruit with the subtle notes of citron and cypress. Use Annick Goutal’s soap for an uplifting experience while cleansing in the bath or shower.

  • Hierbas de Ibiza

Smell like a party...

Triple milled soaps scented with a fresh herbal fragrance inspired by the unique Mediterranean aromas of the island of Ibiza. It is made with the natural essences of orange and lemon peel, thyme, lavender, sage, verbena, jasmine and orange blossoms.

  • Tobacco Toscano by Santa Maria Novella

Smell like a Tuscan count...

Inspired by the famous Toscano cigars of Lucca in Italy, Santa Maria Novella’s latest addition Tabacco Toscano opens with a sparkling fruity-floral note and quickly changes into a warm and leathery yet airy tobacco scent.

Triple milled, each soap is hand pressed one by one using 19th century equipment, aged for 60 days in ventilated cabinets. Each soap is hand-wrapped and lasts about three times longer than ordinary soap while maintaining it’s shape and scent. Infused with a warm and leathery yet airy tobacco scent.