Wow. This has definitely been a whirlwind of a week or so, and a very Macallan filled month! A week and a half ago, i thought tasting the 50 and 52 year old Macallan were the oldest my lips may ever touch, but little did i know that this week i’d be sipping the 57 yr old Macallan! Tuesday night was a NOTCOT first. I’ve never played host at a party before! But when Macallan and the W Los Angeles approached me to co-host a party with Julie Wolfson, saying they’d take care of the details, we just had to invite some friends to come indulge with us, how could i say no? Despite the rainy night (which cleared up mid way through the party so we finally got to sneak outside and enjoy the brisk night air, curl up by the fireplace, and smoke cigars while sipping Macallan into the night), we had a great turn out. And as you know, Macallan loves twitter (in fact, our other co-host, The Macallan West Coast Ambassador, Eden Algie ~ just joined twitter, please follow him and message him to convince him to let us throw another LA party!)… so once again live tweeting was up on the screen during the party, and people were tweeting up quite a storm with #macallan (you can see my favorites on the next page!)… one of the highlights of the night was definitely getting to taste the 57 year Macallan in a Lalique crystal decanter… take a peek at the festivities, as well as some of the great coverage and photography to emerge from the event so far!
So many adventures today! So many firsts! And finally met so many incredible people i’ve talked to for years digitally… but even with all the Altitude Summit madness underway, i couldn’t resist hopping in a car to check out the Absolut Vodka filmmakers of the first ever Sundance Opening Shorts Program party at Easy Street’s The Sky Lodge in Park City presenting “I’m Here: A Love Story In An Absolut World”, a short film directed by Spike Jonze. And while it may be 2:30am… and i’m freshly curled up in a hotel room robe photoshopping into the night as usual… and needing to put the finishing touches on the 8am keynote panel presentation i’m doing with the lovely Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan of Apartment Therapy, and Heather Armstrong of Dooce… how could i pass up sharing the magical snowy wonderland i crossed the mountains to experience before my nap? From ice furniture (made by Newport Beach’s Ice Bulb) out in the patio, in the snow, with heat lamps and a fire going… to the first cosmo i’ve had made with SNOW… and peppar-y icey shots with salted cherry tomatoes to keep me warm… and some of the biggest Absolut bottles beautifully lit from below and glowing like lavalamps… and endless beautiful hors d’œuvres circulating… I know i’ve stated on twitter that i nearly avoided real “winter” all together this year, but i’m really glad Altitude Summit and Absolut brought me out to Utah this weekend and let me experience what i hear will be some of the most incredible powder of the season. So take a peek at the next page for how fun it was… and i guess i should go take a little nap before the talk!
p.s. The Icebar was one thing… but the Ice Furniture outdoors with fire in the snow… were dare i say, even more unforgettable?
With all of this Ice Ball talk on my mind from the Macallan, when i saw the Muji Silicon Ice Ball Maker at the Muji To Go store in JFK’s Jet Blue terminal, i couldn’t resist grabbing two to play with. Been rushing around a bit non stop, but as tired as i was when i got in, first thing i had to do was fill one of these up with water and stick it in the freezer! Was too tired to wait for water to boil before filling it ~ so it does lack some of the potential clarity due to the cold tap water that went in. Overall it worked pretty well though! And the novelty of spherical ice is pretty fun! Though not nearly as exciting as making it with the Macallan ice machine… see more pics of the instructions and muji device on the next page… been starting to think about what else you can do to get creative with spherical ice…
Tonight, Macallan brought me out to Soho House in NY for quite the surreal experience: Flights of the Decades. Beyond the amazing ice balls (which i’ve been dying to see in action for some time now) ~ tonight i had the opportunity to talk so the inspirational visionary @MacallanKen (aka Ken Grier, Director - Malts) about everything from photography to life adventures to how baking cakes is a lot like scotch… but most importantly, about doing/enabling extraordinary things and people. Also finally got to meet @LivingTheDram (aka Graeme Russell - Macallan Ambassador) ~ with whom i’ve long tweeted about scotch from afar. And everyone at this lovely event was tweeting up a storm ~ all of which were showing on the screen (in fact, if you were using the #macallan hashtag during dinner, you too were up on screen!) To take it even further, we had the opportunity to taste not only the New Make Spirit straight from the source before reaching casks… Macallan cask strength 18 year sherry oak… Macallan 50 year… and even Macallan 52 year. It was. WOW. And seeing the Lalique decanters and the carbon fiber (looking?) box it’s packaged in… as well as one of the 1000 unique Rankin bottles up close… all in all it was a beautiful experience, with fun people, delicious food, great conversations… now go see the many random photos on the next page for a peek at the experience!
Sure its 4am, but i couldn’t go to sleep before showing you the magic of the Macallan Ice Ball “Machine”. Did you know it runs on GRAVITY? Yes, high tech stuff… also the magical frictional heating of copper also comes in to play somehow just perfectly at room temperature. Really you stick a roughly right sized chunk of ice in between the two heavy pieces, and let gravity go to work on it. And with in moments ~ right before your eyes ~ it melts down to a perfectly glossy sphere. It’s magical really. This incredible device was discovered in japan (side note: where the macallan team also discovered japanese taking straight razors to carve perfect spheres of ice) ~ and they have exclusive rights to the device for a few years! I’m secretly wanting one to play with at home… See the pictures on the next page…
As delicious as certain liquors are… you all know that spontaneous packaging based impulse buys are how the weird stuff often ends up here. Well recently at Mitsuwa, the adorable little sakes were calling out to me and i couldn’t resist. I also couldn’t resist shaking up the nigori ones… which of course meant i then had to let them sit for a day or so in my fridge so they’d fully settle (all that unfiltered sediment sinking to the bottom) so i could show you the difference when i took pics! But how amazingly cute are these Aladdin Sake bottles? They’d make the prettiest little vases for your desk… And the way the top opens is fascinating as well. So take a peek at them all on the next page! (And no, i haven’t tasted any of them yet ~ too tired tonight, but wanted to show you the packaging first!)
On more things i’ve been meaning to post for a while. Here’s a brilliantly fun idea… how do you take a normally boring average looking bottled Magners Pear Cider and elevate (or catapult) its status instantly? Give the awesome Bungalow 8 in London an exclusive stunning bottle that is only available there, and only 500 bottles are produced. The new design was created for Magners by their brand entertainment agency, Cake. They were even kind enough to send one over so i could take a look at it in person - and its lovely! Its a sleek black bottle with 5 gloss silver sticker stripes wrapping the bottle and the Bungalow 8 ‘8’ etched in the silver pear. Honestly, it’s hard to look at the original bottle the same way after seeing and holding this. Actually, it’s hard to look at any cider or beer the same. Why don’t they all look this stunningly designed? See more pics on the next page…
Black and White. Angel and Devil. Fun illustrations. Hilarious how to on the back, showing how this egg topper (with the three little blades inside) can even double as a napkin ring (won’t it slice up your napkin possibly? if used right?)… and brain sperm logo. And it’s both the egg decapitator AND the holder. Genius. So of course you understand that i couldn’t resist this adorable german pair of Brain Stream Cregg & Cregg while in Stockholm… and i only just got around to testing them out ~ pictures of the experience and details on the next page!
Apologies for going a little quiet on you. Tried to take a little bit of a break this week ~ reassess the amazing year that passed, trying again to hit inbox 0 before 2010 officially arrives… and in doing so, also finding some gems i’ve been meaning to post that sadly got buried in the chaos of my inbox. SO, here’s one of my favorites!
As we slip in to the new decade ~ here are two of my favorite slides from the presentation given by Absolut at the Absolut Art Collection anniversary event in Stockholm a few months ago. On the top you see the state of vodka packaging design when Absolut first entered the market with its shockingly apothecary styled bottle (which i adore!)… Below you see the state of things today. Yes yes, sure it may be a little biased in how things were picked, but you can’t deny that the overall trend is true, and that the it’s a great illustration of the shift in vodka packaging design over the decades! As 2010 comes upon us, i wonder how things will shift next…
Love of wine + packaging + test tubes? When i spotted these wine tasters over at Springwise. This example of Tryvertising (i must admit that word pains me quite a bit)… comes from Brixr in San Francisco. These 50mL vials are adorable ~ though some people seem to be debating whether 2ozs are enough to know which one you like best… see a few more packaging pics on the next page!
Let me level with you. It was my birthday and i totally tried to take the day off a little. Got some extra sleep. Went for a walk and caught up with a friend on the beach ~ a beach walk complete with ice cream and taco truck tacos (in that order of course!) ~ did super chill dinner and… met up with Linhchi for the most ridiculous microwave experimenting we’ve done in a while… People claim i’m hard to shop for, but really you just have to keep in mind that i’m pretty easy to amuse? Besides, this little as seen on TV number even has CORE FUSION TECHNOLOGY!!! (Ok, so to me, it feels more like magical gravity weighing down on my poor explosive marshmallow) AND she brought adorable marshmallows that are products of israel covered with adorably anthropomorphized illustrated mallows that would make the sanrio crowd squeal. The cuteness does make it easier or harder to consume them (depending on how you react to the cuteness!) Impressive? Their mallow jumping and squishing the barcode. LOVE IT. But i digress… we microwaved up a few of these babies, watched them mushroom up, and then the MICROSMORES machine (read: plastic container with weighted platform on a stick that you don’t even get to PUSH) did its thing, making magical smores. Now if only there was some liquid smoke or fire involved in the process, you’d truly recreate the campfire smore experience…. ok even then, a bit is still missing, but that didn’t hold us back from sticking whatever else we could find in there!
I know i have SO many things i want to post and show you that i’m behind on this week (that life balance thing kicked in ~ you understand, right? this week life won a bit more than usual ~ but don’t work, workaholic me will be back, and might need some assistance, but more to come on that soon perhaps)… but figured we should start with the fun crazy stuff first… anyhow! Check out these awesome marshmallows and the MICROSMORES magic on the next page… good times!
Click for Art has branched into Cups & Saucers ~ and i’m totally smitten by the Nanami Cowdroy Suspended Animation black and white goldfish one as well as the Si Scott Lovebirds. Can you imagine cuter cups to serve espresso in? Staring at these just makes me dream up the most adorable little cafe ~ with an outdoor patio of course. And we haven’t even started to look at the packaging! Such a lovely gift idea ~ and they are each a limited edition of 250 - shipped with a sequentially numbered mini art print signed by the artist and a Certificate of Authenticity! See more pics of my favorite two on the next page…
NOTCOT Field Trip? Posted The Grilled Cheese Truck earlier this week on NOTCOT.org, and when we noticed it was going to be on this side of town for lunch, simply had to pop out to see what all the commotion was about. (Also, i have a soft spot for grilled cheese… and their logo reminds me of The Magic School Bus… i half expected to see Ms. Frizzle pop out to take us on a cheesy adventure)… With website, twitter, and facebook page (like many of these social media savvy specialty lunch trucks) the updates were constant as their precise location kept changing down to the minute, and we finally found them at the Los Angeles Fine Arts & Wine Storage Company parking lot, only half an hour into it and quite the line had already formed, inescapable scent of delicious greasy cheesiness omnipresent. Even CBS news was there tasting and shooting away… With a mix of your classic grilled cheeses, to your gourmet grilled cheese (add in mac+cheese, bacon, avocado, bbq pork and more) ~ and even dessert options (marshmallows, nutella, bananas) ~ as well as tomato soup shots and more ~ it was hard to choose! As with all of these specialty twitter happy lunch trucks, the lines are long, ordering seems to be the bottleneck, and it seems best to meet up with a bunch of friends to hang out with in line… also, go early! Because depending on zoning/landlord regulations, they can usually only stay put for a limited amount of time, so not everyone will get fed! So take a peek at more pics of both the truck and the food ~ this is the first time i’ve peeked INSIDE the truck! And since it took quite a while to get the food, and i promised to get Linhchi back to her house by 1:40, we shot the food pics in the car (sometimes at red lights)…
was reading up last night on this Lunch Truck Phenomenon that seems to be sweeping the nation lately ~ some fun resources to note: Find LA Food Trucks and California Taco Trucks (run by dan’s old boyscout friend, Cyrus Farivar!)
While fun and amusing ~ i think overall, if i’m going to spend an hour+ at lunch with friends, i’d rather do the sit down thing ~ but good times, and a fun chance to catch up with some old friends!
From an im conversation right now, we’ve decided that when the process of getting the food and hanging out with friends is a lot of the fun… where is our champagne and oysters truck?
Some packages just leave you speechless. You sit. You stare. You open it. You poke at it. You close it. You stare a bit more. This was one of those packages. Veuve Clicquot sent over one of their 1200 limited edition stingray skin Yellowboams (there are 3600 in the edition, 1200 each of ostrich, alligator, and stingray) ~ yes, a 3L (4 bottle equiv) bottle of Yellow Label Champagne… in a stunning handcrafted metallic lacquered wood box (with adorable little round hinges and magnetic closure) ~ with a stand for the monstrously large bottle… and the bottle itself has a yellow label made from ostrich, alligator, or galuchat, sealed with 22.4 ct gold and a 24 ct plated muzzle engraved with Mme. Clicquot’s signature. A little over the top, in a completely surreal, “how is this enormous bottle sitting on my counter right now, and how amazing is this paint job?” sort of way. Next question of course was, “How will we ever pour this? Or chill it? And who will have to come help drink it?”
So take a peek at more pictures on the next page ~ once you get past the extravagance, it’s really one of the sweetest most unexpected gifts to arrive, so, thank you, Veuve Clicquot. And don’t worry i will certainly document it when i open it… i’m terribly curious what is under that golden muzzle… and the adorable notebook that was included mentions that you can send in the leather label to have it turned into a card holder… intriguing…
This launched me into that hunt for the names of various bottle sizes, so for those curious: Magnum = 2 bottles, Jeroboam = 4 bottles, Rehoboam = 6 bottles, Methuselah = 8 bottles, Salmanazar = 12 bottles, Balthazar= 16 bottles, Nubchadnezzar = 20 bottles. And most are named after BC kings… and “A useful mnemonic for these big bottle sizes is: My Judy Really Makes Splendid Belching Noises” says Champagne Magic.
These Vacu Vin Party People Glass Markers were first as NOTCOT.org #20816 ~ and when i ran into them in Stockholm, they were even cuter in person! So i had to buy some to play with! They are so adorably tiny with their little suction cups and fun packaging! So next time, instead of sharpie markers to a solo cup, or wine tags, or stickers, here’s a new option! Let your guests pick which adorable little gummy looking character they want to channel… they all even have names! (see pics on the next page!)