On such a dreary rainy LA day ~ a surprise package of cozy throw pillows and tea cups came from the kind folks at ClickforArt! Perfect to curl up with on the couch while sipping a cup of tea. Mmmm… curled up and posting, their new pillows and tea cups from Kozyndan are beautifully made ~ the pillows are printed on luscious super soft faux suede, and the tea cups somehow make a cup of tea even more uplifting (especially with the little bunny splash inside the bottom of the cup!) ~ both are even more impressive in person than in pictures ~ but here are a few close ups on the next page none the less!
Entries tagged with: drinks
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Amber Liqueur ~ one of the unexpected discoveries that prompted immediate and unanimous ~ “How did we never know about this before? How does this not exist in the US? What? You’ve stopped making it? But it’s so good!” reactions from all of us upon finding it at the Macallan Visitors Center. If you like single malt and maple syrup ~ and maybe even pecans. You will LOVE this. It is incredibly delicious, and i even had carried a few bottles back… they won’t ship! So yummy ~ a nice addition to mix in for baking/cooking ~ sweetening up cocktails with something a little different than pure maple syrup… and the bottle is so fun, like a glassy bean inspired shape topped with a woody cork… Imagine if Sally Draper had found this in Don’s kitchen for that french toast? Really it is a super maple syrup ~ more than a whisky ~ A nice description of its flavor: “The color is a dark deep amber and apparently no artificial coloring is at play. Amber smells like the best maple syrup you’ve ever had. You have to really get your nose in to detect the Macallan. The taste is sweet without being cloying at all; the maple flavor and nuttiness dominate, but it is incredibly well balanced. Do I detect a little citrus? The finish is where you’ll find the Macallan spice - it’s long and tasty.” found on the Scotch Blog from 2006…
Anyhow, take a peek at this on the next page ~ fun packaging, and totally tapped into my love of dark grade B vermont maple syrup as well as my love of the Macallan!
p.s. not to scotch you guys out ~ but really, so much fun and inspiration discovered while running around scotland!
Don’t laugh. But on unexpected product reviews of sorts ~ while running around The Macallan estate and distillery, one of the most coveted tools we ran into was this Swiss made Socorex Pistol Grip Syringe… for everything from pulling samples when mixing our own whisky to using it to squirt just the perfect 10ml of water to dilute our drinks… and it’s SO fun… and as you can see, i had a bit too much fun taking pics of it in the dark while we were watching the trippiest animated/stop motion Macallan video from the 90’s (watch the insanity of ”Journey to the Center of the Malt” here on facebook). But, back to the syringes, they are awesome! The spring pulls back for you to load it up perfectly. It would make for some really fun, precise water wars… but imagine how fun they would be as a conversation piece on your bar when it comes time to dilute your scotch every so perfectly? See the pics on the next page!
This morning, we attempted to create our ideal whisky from (amongst others) the samples we collected from 12 year old casks of The Macallan. Bob Dalgarno, The Macallan Whisky Maker, taught us so much about the art of whisky making, and the complicated challenge of smelling, tasting, and seeing how to make the perfect bottles of The Macallan, to that perfect smell/taste/color we’ve come to know and love. As he explained the difficulty of making something so consistent from so many varying casks of whisky, and even deciding which casks are decided to be set aside to age longer and such ~ the most creative aspect to emerge was his challenge to us to smell the differences between an array of samples to attune our palates… only to ask us to create in our minds… our ideal whisky. What does it smell like? What does it taste like? What does it make you think of?
And from that, The Macallan NOTCOT Edition was born… can it ever be recreated? Probably not. But i have one little bottle of it! I apparently like my scotch smooth with a deliciously dark maple flavor amidst the spicy woody spanish sherry oak… (Macallan 18 is my everyday favorite ~ but the upcoming Masters of Photography series, omg, deliciousness)… in my head i imagined a cozy comforting log cabin, and since it was early, on not too much sleep, and after a light breakfast… i was loving the maple aromas, i think i had pancakes on my mind…
Anyhow, it is unbelievably hard trying to decipher the aromas, figuring out which samples to mix, finding the right notes to layer for that drinkable delicious whisky with a nice long finish… but we tried. And bonus points to Evan from Cool Hunting who was definitely the whisky maker with the most potential in our group! His smelled divine! And delicious too! Don’t get me wrong, NOTCOT edition is yummy as well ~ my bottle of that is coming home with me! It was incredibly fun and fascinating to play with the awesome syringes to mix samples in our bottles, measure the percentage of alcohol, taste test, and more ~ while i’m no master whisky maker in the making, i definitely have a new appreciation for exactly how much work is going into even just mixing the right casks to make the bottles that show up on the shelf! But, that’s enough rambling for now ~ you really must see how incredible The Macallan lab/Bob’s office is! And the process we went through making our own Macallan whisky ~ all on the next page!
SO! As you probably know by now, The Macallan has me out in scotland, exploring and learning and playing with all things scotch. In fact, they’ve kept me so excitedly busy, it’s been hard to find enough time to process and post! Or even figure out where to start… so here’s how its going to go, i’ll share the most unique bits as i can! And one of the most exciting places to start is ~ SAMPLING!
With so many thousands of casks in so many warehouses with all these slight variations in wood, in atmosphere, in unexplained magical natural occurrences that may make even casks from the same batch differ in flavor, colors, and more, the only way to find and create the perfect single malt is through sampling, tasting, and keeping an eye on each cask as the whisky within matures over time (so anywhere from 5 years to decades?)… on amazingly awesome experiences, we got to go along with the Macallan boys (Thanks, Jim and Gary, and apologies for the times i accidentally squirted whisky on you!) and actually get our hands dirty and help do the sampling! From drilling holes, pumping out samples, filling vials, (maybe sneaking a taste here and there) and plugging the hole! See the process we experienced in the warehouse on the next page!
p.s. The picture above? Can you believe that is the Macallan 1964 that is filling the Lalique Cire Perdue - This 1946 cask became 64 years old in January 2010!
p.p.s. i can’t even begin to tell you how incredible these warehouses smell.
Veuve Clicquot always goes all out when it comes to playful designs from collaborations to gift packaging. The latest two are no exception, and the POS displays are just adorable! First there is Le Fridge ~ literally a mini Smeg like retro fridge like cooler box… even cuter of course are the actual mini fridge (what dorm room doesn’t need one?) and the little yellow super market carts and life size cardboard fridge! And on the other end of the spectrum, there is the Shopping Bag ~ with the cutest scaled down bellhop luggage carts, in their signature yellow of course. This tote has a cute print with a luggage tag and contrast stitching… with a magnetic clasp with the comet/logo on it, and glossy paper boxes that resemble retro suitcases! Both lines are so fun, and are available internationally for the holiday season (looks like both have been popping up in stores already!) ~ see more pics of the fun displays and close ups on the next page!
It’s harvest time of year! And the nice folks at Veuve Clicquot brought me out to Paris/Reims once again for harvest ~ and blame it on Tasteologie, with food on the mind, i just had to share with you some of the yummier side of laborious grape picking Veuve style! For the look at the whole Harvest process, check out these pics from last year. And this year we had cheeky, chic black Harvest Staff tee shirts ~ most amusing of course was watching how the fashionable crowd immediately took to our limited resources out on the vineyard to start cutting them up with grape cutting shears to personalize them… so browse on to the next page to see a peek at what the food is like throughout the day… a slight twist on what “real” harvesters eat throughout the season…
Half awake, ready to crash, browsing the internet ~ and i felt like i was dreaming when i stumbled upon these oh so lovely images over at Materialiste ~ Fashion illustrator, Kareem Iliya, shows off the “Dandy Ball” a la Perrier Jouët, in a gorgeous pink and green silhouetted look ~ with stunning champagne botles in every image, and their signature flowers glowing radiantly across the woman’s dress and the man’s boutonnière. As Materialiste describes so eloquently - “The ball is brought to life thanks to the esteemed fashion illustrator Kareem Iliya, who depicts, with her usual ephemeral style, a meeting between a couple of high society champagne-lovers.” Also a very dreamworthy image to fall asleep to… the muse relaxing in her bath, sipping an elegant glass of Perrier Jouët… see them all on the next page!
p.s. They are all so stunning ~ i wish they were available as prints!
Scotch and Photography go together so perfectly! Is it any surprise that the Macallan is incredibly inspirational to photographers? And has inspired Rankin to make a breathtaking series of 1000 polaroids of their estate? The Macallan Masters of Photography collaborations are incredible ~ after Rankin, the latest is with Albert Watson! But back to the topic at hand…
Upon moving, many things i meant to write about got hidden in boxes, and have been resurfacing bit by bit! Amongst them, this incredible book, A Photographic Essay of The Macallan Estate ~ which includes the 1000 polaroids taken by incredible photographer Rankin! These polaroids were part of the 1000 bottle series of Masters of Photography Rankin edition 30yr Macallan project, each bottle with a different polaroid image on the label, and boxed with the polaroid itself. Truly one of a kind! But sadly, when viewing the bottles a few at a time, you simply don’t get the whole picture that Rankin’s photographs as a whole tell of the place! He shot photos all around the Macallan Estate ~ of the buildings, of the stills, of the greenery, of the cows… and in many his nude muse/wife posed amongst them. I love that Rankin sees this project of 1000 polaroids more as a poem than a narrative as he created an amazing portrait of the Macallan world. It feels so meta to be sharing photos of a book of photos with you, but you really must see how amazing some of these images are! And i can’t wait to experience it all first hand! Take a peek at some of my favorites from the Rankin/Macallan experience on the next page!
New from Aurelien Barbry for Normann Copenhagen ~ beautiful cork wine stoppers and wine pourers! Both designs are sculptural ~ there are 4 stopper designs, and most intriguing is the pourer, which hides the metal spout within the cork! see close ups of them all on the next page!
Ok. I gave in today at A+R to the Karim Rashid Water Bobble Water Bottle… First thing to note… its a water bottler that filters your water through the cap… so put tap water, drinking fountain water, etc in there, and suck it out filtered! Also for color commitmentphobes… when you replace the filter, you really replace the whole cap. So swap colors every 2 months (or more frequently even!) to keep things fresh and delicious. Also, nothing you need more after a night out than a bottle of water next to your bed, so it’s definitely a good night to test this squishy bottle out! And honestly, it’s making tap water taste pretty good! BUT, the bottle is far softer than i expected, and you can’t exactly chug water out of this bottle since you really have to squeeze/suck it out and let it re-inflate a bit before the next round. Also, as you squeeze it, if you squeeze/suck it as hard as you can, it does start to create more creases in the bottle itself that you can feel in addition to the main seam. Biggest design flaw is it’s lack of a valve to let air back into the bottle easily… Though that is slightly annoying, on first impressions, it is definitely prettier in person than i expected from the pictures circulating online! … and new smaller and larger sizes coming out any day now too! See more pics on the next page!
p.s. i kind of wish the cap/filter would just fit on random water bottles or plastic bottles i have around… then you can just add the cap/filters to nearly anything!
On more random experiments today ~ part of Jackson’s photoshoot for Marcia’s new Cocktail book going on at my house… i get to play with all kinds of prop ICE! In slushy form (from powder to slush, just add water) - fake cubes - fake less rounded rubbery cubes - magical condensation that doesn’t drip… and makes warm drinks in the hot sun look more appealing… Fascinating goodies from Special Effects Unlimited in Hollywood! Take a peek at the experiments on the next page…
Marcia (our Liqurious Editor!) is over at my house doing the photoshoot for her upcoming Cocktail book (more to come on that…) ~ and she brought me the most adorable present from her Tales of the Cocktail adventures in New Orleans! The teeny tiniest little 2” tall bottle of Angostura Bitters! It definitely reminds me of the little tabasco’s… so on adorable packaging scaled waaaaay down to a tiny glass bottle, check out more pics of it amongst the photoshoot bottles taking over my kitchen today!
p.s. Awesome email factoid that came in from Elywn - “Angostura uses an oversized label because when it was first started, the product was made in the Caribbean and the labels were printed in England. The labels arrived and were much bigger than the bottle….they had no alternative, so they stuck ‘em on - oversize and all….and the rest is history!!!” Ha!
On awesome packaging and samples… Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction just launched SNAP! The follow up spirit to ROOT! And they were kind enough to send over a sample ~ which of course came adorably packaged! Custom tissue paper, fun sticker, awesome bottle, and all! See lots of pics on the next page!
So far we’ve only tasted quick sips, so, perhaps more to come on playing around with them in cocktails and in delicious recipes like… Root infused Pecan Pie? But for now ~ pics of the gorgeous branding, packaging, and illustrations all on the next page!
Frankie’s Tiki Room is definitely one of my favorite spots in Las Vegas - i’ve shown you pics of the place, the amazing SHAG Vice Tester machine, and some of my favorite mugs. Well they have a NEW one that is stunning! (Keep in mind they always have 8 signature drinks with matching mugs… and the mugs change over time!) Email just came in with this one saying “THE NEW MALEKULA TIKI MUG HAS ARRIVED! This striking new tiki mug, sculpted by reclusive artist Jack Churchill.” Isn’t it beautiful? Luckily, if you’re far from vegas, you can order it online… but really, it’s more fun to go get a drink out of in in person! And if you’re curious what a Malekula IS… see the next page…
p.s. they are open 24/7!
“With the creation of an exclusive collection of three bottles by the Design Laboratory at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art & Design, Dom Pérignon pays tribute to Andy Warhol, creative genius and one of the most illustrious artists of the 20th century.” Love press releases that start like that. Especially when followed by fun anecdotal excerpts from Warhol’s Diary! “Went to the gallery where they were having a little exhibition of the glittery Shoes, and had to do interviews and pics for the German newspaper and then we had to go back to the hotel and be picked up by the “2,000” people - it’s a club of twenty guys who got together and they’re going to buy 2,000 bottles of Dom Pérignon which they will put in a sealed room until the year 2,000 and then open it up and drink it and so the running joke is who will be around and who won’t…” This is an entry from Andy Warhol’s diary on March 8th, 1981. I can’t help but wonder what ever happened to those 2000 bottles… but it is pretty awesome that “Inspired by Warhol’s unconventional representation of icons, and the playful use of codes and colour in his work, Dom Pérignon commissioned the Design Laboratory at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art & Design to reinterpret its timeless bottle. The result is a unique collection of three bottles, each with its distinct label in red, blue or yellow, paying homage to Warhol’s iconic colour games.”
The bottles look stunning, that splash of colour definitely changes the presence of walking into a dinner party or hotel room carrying this dressed up bottle of Vintage 2002 Dom! Perhaps we should lock a few cases of these in a room till 2020 and throw a future NOTCOT party? These bottles should be available starting October 15th across the US! And until then, take a peek at the two really fun videos on the next page as well as more pics or the bottle and packaging!
p.s. there’s a part of me ~ so tempted to open up one of these boxes to frame as a random piece of art!
Today’s obsession? Absolut Art of Sharing Pitchers ~ after running across them on The World’s Best Ever i’ve been googling and ebaying and finding out whatever i can about them… but no one seems to know if they available in the US? What is it made of? This new summery art collaboration with Stephen J Powers and Chiho Aoshima results in 4 summery pitchers. I assume they are just plastic? Perhaps silk screened on? Have any of you seen them in person? Felt the quality of them? Art Collectors says - “From what we can tell, they’ve been released in various sizes for different markets (1Liter in US, 700ml in Europe/New Zealand, 750ml in Mexico)” and “So far, only 3/4 designs have been released in the 1L and 750ml sizes, so your best bet is to go for the 700ml set, which so far have hit a limited number of specialty stores in the UK, France, Belgium, and Greece.” See more pics and the video on the next page!
p.s. “The Art of Sharing” makes me think of being a little kid… and learning about how important it is to share!
p.p.s. Updated ~ just found an exclusive french design by Dan Tobin Smith - pictures added on next page.
On interesting alcohol packaging related products… Hennessy just launched these limited edition Hennessy V.S. flask sleeves, a “first of its kind, protected by a silicon “skin” which can be found in a variety of vibrant, stylish colors including red, yellow, purple, and green.” When i first saw images of it, i wasn’t sure what to think, but once they sent one over it made a bit more sense, and the high quality silicon feels great in your hand. Nice touches with the Hennessy script forming in the inside texture ~ and the grape vine pattern of the label is echoed around the front of the sleeve. As soon as my dad saw it, he immediately thought the nice slip resistant grip was perfect for fishing trips, making you even more likely than before to resuse the Hennessy flask bottle in slippery situations. When you pull the top back, it pretty much looks like your flask is wearing a hoodie. Currently available in NY, NJ, RI, and CT, the will become available throughout the US through the summer. Take a peek at more images on the next page!
While in NY ~ popped out to DUMBO for the Absolut Brooklyn Launch Party with Spike Lee! Spectacular views on such an ominous night as the sun set through the on and off thunderstorms rolling through… They cleared out the Powerhouse Bookstore ~ and with the large altered seal on the windows, i must admit it reminded me of Starbucks at first. I suppose i’m just not quite used to their playing down the iconic bottle shape? They transformed the steps inside the space into a cute life sized stoop matching the one on the bottle! Perhaps the most visually intriguing are the water tower shirts the bar tenders wore with text and graphics creating the image! So for packaging design closeups, you can see my post here ~ To take a peek at the adventures with Absolut Brooklyn ~ see the next page!
Vitamin Living always designs some of the sleekest “Urban Creatures” for the modern home that are somehow filled with so much character! The latest from them are the Fang collection of bottle openers! There are 9 patterned versions of these vinyl creatures and one plain one (you can leave it as is, or customize it to your heart’s delight!) See the whole group of them on the next page!
Freshly sent over from Absolut, Absolut Brooklyn ~ a collaboration with Spike Lee, it has one of the most unique Absolut packaging changes… can you believe they Spike Lee’d the seal?!?! Adding glasses and baseball cap on Lars Olsson Smith! Additionally they have a line from Lemon Andersen’s spoken word poem “Somewhere in the world Brooklyn in da house and you know we won’t stop spreading love cause that’s our way.” on the bottle alongside the silk screened image of an illustrated Brooklyn Stoop, which is #165 as a nod to Spike Lee’s brownstone roots. As for the flavor ~ it is a Red Apple and Ginger flavor ~ “its flavor evokes the spice and vibrancy Brooklyn brings to the big apple”… it’s quite delicious, though a bit jolly rancherish… Take a peek at more details on the next page!