Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New uber-luxe golden clad decanter from Hennessy is a bit a show stopper.

Here's more information from Atelier 29

"A collector's item indeed! This crafted luminous decanter sheathed in gold by Hennessy would be an exclusive hand-gift for Christmas or New Year Celebration and even perfect Chinese New Year Present for those looking for something different!

An exquisite packaging design by Italian designer Ferruccio Laviani, Paradis Horus is an exceptional cognac developed from a masterly assemblage of hundreds of rare eaux-de-vie, perfectly aged for 25 to 130 years. It is has been described as the fruit of a noble alliance between man, the land and the heavens.

'A divine name for divine perfection. Its name is derived from the mythological god representing the sun. Emerging from the cellar's obscurity, its luminous eaux-de-vie irradiate. They embody the sun's power and warm light, forming a cognac beyond compare.

For this exquisite elixir, Hennessy has chosen the most magnificent cognac decanter ever envisioned. The Italian designer, Ferruccio Laviani, crafted a luminous decanter sheathed in gold to glorify this one-of-a-kind ambrosia. Reminiscent of ancient statues, the Paradis Horus decanter is as singular as the cognac it contains. It commands respect, topped with a majestic oversized cap, plated in 18 carat gold.'"

I'm very partial to mythological references and ancient legends. And a spot of gold bullion never hurt anyone. If anyone feels like sending me a decanter of super-smart cognac, feel free!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

For cooling your cognac.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Refreshingly light hearted. My favourite is the one where they throw their keys into the Christmas hat.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Your eyes are not deceiving you. These bottles of Ballantine's are indeed flashing. And not just flashing randomly, but pulsing to the beat of the music.

Why? Well, rather than me trying to work it out, here's what Marketing Magazine wrote about it:

"Designed by London-based packaging agency The Core, the Ballantine's Finest self-illuminating bottle, which can be powered by batteries or mains, is only available to the on-trade.

The bottle design is modelled on a graphic equaliser, the dark blue spray coated bottle appears to react to the tonal quality of audio passing through it, by lighting up intermittently to achieve back-of-bar standout.

The working bottle forms part of an on-trade campaign for Ballantine's Finest, entitled ‘Listen to Your Beat'. Rolling out across bars and nightclubs in the UK and other markets, the campaign is based on the idea that ‘by listening to your own beat and following your own instincts, you will make choices that leave an impression on others.'

Global marketing director for Ballantine's, Peter Moore, said "The ‘Listen to Your Beat' campaign will energise our on-trade accounts by engaging consumers in a creative and eye catching manner.""

I'm lost for words.

I'm a big fan of these labels. It's good to see designs that aren't just about looking nice but actually engage the mind.

I particulalry like "Puzzle Time" on the left. You can see that within the word search there are terms like "blackberry" and "toast" that presumably are part of the tasting notes that you discover as you drink it. There's something brilliantly playful about it that's a million miles away from the normal "dry, elegant and crisp" tasting notes that adorn the back of most bottles.

You can see from this blog post by Budget Vino that the label has worked a treat. It gives a reason for people to engage with the wine label and learn more about what makes it different from its rivals. I'm intrigued to see their other labels and whatever else they are up to.

(Via Bev Law blog)

Sensational video showcasing Brew Dog's successful attempt to make the world's strongest beer.

Tactical Nuclear Penguin from BrewDog on Vimeo.

There can't be many alchohol brands out there with a stronger brand behavior. For a taste of what they are up to have a look at their site. Or better still buy some equity in the brand!

Monday, December 07, 2009



Map of Fluid State

Angella and Hayley, masterminds of the Tasting Sessions and most recently architects of Towards a Fluid State, have moved the goal posts so far that most booze brands planning a tasting experience won’t be able to see them.

Over the course of the last year they have continuously raised the bar with their artistic mash-ups of art, booze, culture, flavours, music, theatre and entertainment. They are the drinks version of what Shunt is to traditional theatre. The whisky and cheese pairing at Bart’s was terrific. The white wine event was dazzling. And by all accounts their gin event was spectacular.

Having arrived in an alleyway in deepest darkest Dalston we were greeted by a scene out of a Soviet dystopia mixed with a touch of Mad Max. Russian versions of the Enigma machine checked us in before we entered the experience. In another life the venue doubles as a photographers studio for Vogue fashion shoots and used to be a mechanic’s garage.

Our first encounter (depicted by an octagon in the map above) featured a flight of sake from Akashi Tai paired with Japanese nibbles from Tsuru. The sake progressed from the expected through to an almost whiskyish brown spirit that paired exceptionally well with a ball of sesame crusted ice cream.

But the oral tasting itself is only a small part of the experience. Drag queens chilled out next to us as an amazing artists doodled Japanese Animae on a wall. It all set the scene for a mind bending introduction.

Animae cartoon

Japanese Art

Drag Queens

We turned a corner and all of a sudden we’d translocated from Tokyo to Jarnac. The Courvoisier experience featured a bar serving Exclusif cocktails ranging from the classics like the Sazerac and Sidecar through to the more experimental blackberry jelly shot flecked with gold leaf that is best consumed from a spoon.

Courvoisier Bar

Courvoisier Future 500 menu

Courvoisier Jelly Spoons

Courvoisier’s Le Nez experience was in full flow, showcasing the incredible aromas held within the cognac. It was a very special moment for me to see an idea I worked on come to life, and in such style. A flight of Napoleon, XO Fine Champagne and Initiale paired with caramel lollipop, lavender crème brulee and port and stilton truffle was phenomenal. I’m biased, but you’ll just have to believe me. It took me back to the food and cognac pairing we developed with Alexis from Roussillon.

CV Le Nez aromas

The experience also included a chance to watch Courvoisier’s 3D film which helps to explain what makes their cognac so special. The whole experience was artfully curated and looked spectacular.

CV 3D screen

We slipped out of Jarnac and landed up in the midst of a Lady Gaga video-shoot. Philip Li, who is renowned for his weird and wonderful ceramics performed an incredible piece of art which mainly involved him being wrapped in cling-film, clay and bin bags. For anyone who saw Lady Gaga on X Factor on Saturday, you’ll see the connection. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Performance art clingfilm

Performance art squat 2

Performance art from behind

Performance art standing

Philip Li’s performance along with a surreal Telly-Tubby-esque grass floor that moaned and suggestively glistened with jewels formed a bizarre backdrop for a tasting of biodynamic and natural wines paired with raw food from Saf.

Moaning grass slit

Joe McCanta, is one of the leading sommeliers and mixologists in town. And like Angella and Hayley is a member of the Courvoisier Future 500. His collection of wines were all wonderfully obscure. Our favourite combination was a pairing of Burgenland Pinot Noir with beetroot cannelloni – which I think I may have had when I visited Saf. The wine was light and supple and formed a perfect marriage with the beetroot.

We didn’t get stuck into the whisky and cheese tasting- for which I can only appolgise. But it looked very similar to the “Throw Away your Prohibitions” event I raved about at Bart’s. The waft of phenomenal cheese from La Fromagerie was sensational. Highland Park and The Macallan featured alongside Connemara, Singleton, Clynelish, Dalwhinnie and Lagavulin.

Instead I headed upstairs to a secret speakeasy bar that was serving Maker’s Mark cocktails to a crowd of adorers. The bartender, from Zuma, whipped up a cracking array of cocktails starting with a Blueberry Smash infused with mint for the ladies and a State Mule for the gents which was like a fizzy Old Fashioned. We missed the music but apparently Plaster of Paris and the Dulwich Ukulele Club put on quite a show.

We then found ourselves in the Rich or Ruin experience being wowed by Sipsmith’s Gin which was served as a warm punch a la crachit with a tickle of ginger beer. Sipsmith’s Gin opened very recently in Hammersmith, making them the first gin distillery with a copper still to open in London for 189 years. Their approach is a breath of fresh air. They have embraced the blogosphere (Dinner Diary and Cheese and Biscuits) and are very active on Twitter. If anyone is looking for a spirits brand that is using social media in a smart way, then have a long hard look at the chaps at Sipsmith's.


Sipsmith punch

We then dived into a molecular cocktail courtesy of Chase Gin. They make vodka using English potatoes and have now launched a gin made from apples! Bonkers. But brilliant. To make things even more special it turns out they were launching this new apple based gin at Towards a Fluid State, so we were some of the first to try it. Their cocktail featured Herefordshire cider, molecular balls of apple juice and gin. It was designed to be paired with a feast of roast pork expertly cooked by the good folks at Bacchus and accompanied by a the sounds of a baroque harp and violins.

Gin and cider cocktails

Pigs head


Hayman’s Gin showcased a collection of three gins ranging from their standard gin, their Gin Liquer that’s like an old fashioned Genever) to the uber-botanical Old Tom that was served through an ice sculpture of a Tom Cat, much to the delight of a very over the top Japanese TV presenter.

Tom Cat

Frozen cat

We left Towards a Fluid State thrilled and in awe of what Hayley and Angella had achieved and gagging for more. It was exhilarating to have been part of something so far ahead of what others are doing. Girls, what’s next?


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