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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Make It A Double: Scotch You Don't – But Should – Know

David Wondrich, Esquire magazine's resident "cocktail historian," writes often and knowledgeably about Scotch.

By reading Wondrich regularly, you'll learn not only what to look for in a fine Scotch, but also what's in a Rusty Nail and why you shouldn't drink one. But I digress.

Wondrich explores seven lesser known but impressive single-malt whiskeys in Esquire's November issue.

If you think there's more to life than Glenlivet, Glenfiddich and Johnny Walker, but don't know where to turn, Wondrich will introduce you to the likes of Old Pulteney, Ledaig, Auchentoshan, and four others worth seeking out.

Here's his full selection.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Enlightened Traveler: Hermes On A Budget In Paris

Saturday's Wall St. Journal reported on the November 10 sale of vintage Hermes at the prestigious French auction house Artcurial.

Great deals on vintage Hermes in Paris.
Top: Hydra bag $189. Bottom: Mephisto bag, $259.
Below left: watch, $689
The paper states that the appetite for Hermes, whether vintage or new, has not at all been affected by the global economic downturn. Indeed, the auction netted a record of nearly $1.2 million for 631 lots, mostly bags and scarves but also including some unusual pieces such as a pair of garden pruners and a circa 1930 ladies watch that records golf scores.

While items from Vuitton, St. Laurent and other luxury labels are gathered into group auctions, Hermes is the only house to have its own twice-yearly sale.

The famous Birkin and Kelly bags were the top sellers with prices to match. Some crocodile and alligator models in exotic colors went for $25,000 - $50,000.

Still, there were bargains to be had. Many scarves sold in the $200 - $300 range.

You could have purchased a Kelly bag in natural pigskin for $4,677 or one in black leather for $2,598. A large Kelly in blue leather went for $2,079.

One lucky buyer snagged a small Kelly backpack for just $693.

If you schedule your next Paris visit to coincide with one of Artcurial’s Hermes auctions, you can skip Printemps and the other grands magasins altogether and return home with an affordable and prized vintage Hermes.

Getting a bargain won’t be the best part. When others compliment you on your good taste, you’ll get to tell them that you picked it up for a song at an auction on the Ave. Montaigne.

The full WSJ report is here.
Artcurial’s website is here.