THE SENIORS SUMMER SHOPPING LIST
I've been told I'm a difficult man to buy for. As if to prove this belief wrong here are my picks for Christmas gifts for the Senior and seniors-alike. Containing everything for the champagne-imbibing, cigar-smoking, scarf-wearing, dog-walking, caviar-enjoying, dice-rolling, Negroni-quaffing, hip-flask-carrying, train-journeying, gentlemen’s-barber-shop-scented bibliophile (and audiophile) in your life.
Ian Fleming was one of the first writers to truly understand and utilise the power of brand identity in conveying information to a reader.
Legend has it that Fleming himself was a customer of British family perfumer Floris and wore their popular Floris 89 aftershave. Given Fleming's reputation for seeking the very best in any field I can think of no better recommendation.
BOLLINGER PN VZ15
If you’ve read Bursting Bubbles or Peter Liem’s tome then you will be familiar with the rise of grower champagne. With a natural focus on small producers - and in turn the small single vineyard bottlings that go with it - the grower movement looks set to recast the champagne region in a more Burgundian model. With this in mind Egly-Ouriet becomes champagne's answer to Arnaud Rousseau.
Comparative to Burgundy, and considering the labour intensity that goes into getting those bubbles into the bottle, the best grower Champagne (which anything from Egly-Ouriet certainly is) is undoubtedly undervalued. Egly-Ouriet possess Grand Cru vineyards in some of the best areas for Pinot Noir. This includes a single parcel of vines planted in 1946 which is perhaps their flagship release and rivals almost anything in champagne. Interestingly too, for anyone with an interest in the various characters that each of the three champagne grape varieties impart, they also offer a rare bottling of 100% Pinot Meunier.
IL PELICANO BOOK
2019 saw the 25th Anniversary of the restaurant St. John. As part of those celebrations St. John launched the Fergroni, a pre-mixed Negroni, in Fergus Henderson’s honour. Sadly too 2019 saw the death of perhaps the person who had done more than any to promote the Negroni - the bartender and cocktail expert Gaz Regan. So buy a bottle of Fergroni and both celebrate the lives of both icons of creativity. Give it a stir with your finger upon pouring.
I'm a big cologne wearer
Available from Purdey online and in store - starting at £55
ISLE OF HARRIS GIN AND GLASSWARE
I haven’t been able to enjoy backgammon since reading that Mark Birley ordered his notable tapestry faced version from Hermes so as not to be disturbed by the sound of dice against even the finest timber. Rose Uniacke, perhaps my favourite designer, and herself a fan of board and card games, has recently released a version in velvet which, similarly to Birley’s version, overcomes acoustic disturbance with aplomb.
Available from Rose's website and Pimlico Road store - £480
As my wife will express (to my detriment) I'm a great collector of second-hand books. This is the confluence of three of my passions – reading, design and collecting.
Like many I expect, my passion started with Fleming. Whilst I'm still unsure about the iconic Richard Chopping covers, from an aesthetic perspective, there is no denying their authentic brilliance. I'm a fan of Jonathan Cape's Hemingway printing in colourful jackets too.
I'm currently eyeing Anthony Powell's "A Dance to the Music of Time" with the Mark Boxer illustrations and, as photographed, Peter Benchley's "Jaws" which I spotted whilst in Heywood Hill.
Jaw's by Peter Benchley - Available, in typically fine condition from Heywood Hill - £185
BLOOMBERG TERMINAL KEYBOARD
I think that perhaps the only people who don’t like caviar are those who balk at the cost. Here I’m reminded of the response in the series Frasier to the claim that $100 an ounce was rather a lot to pay – “To you, yes. To the fish who gave up her life so you could spread her unborn children on a cracker, it's not so much.”
Regardless of cost who doesn’t want to enjoy something that provides the sensation of “being kissed by a lusty mermaid”
ORLEBAR BROWN X IWC
This time of year we're often reminded “don’t buy things, buy experiences".
Whilst I’d argue that all of the above are just that — whether that's the experience of enjoying a fine cigar, or the moment of enjoyment that comes from sharing Champagne amongst friends — if well-mannered pastimes mean something to you, and you want to take the recommendation literally, then an experience on a Belmond British Pullman is perhaps the perfect ticket.
It’s easy to misinterpret history as a march of progress but this isn’t always the case. As civilisation rushes to its uncertain destination, doors can close behind us just as easy as others are opened. Take the wrong route and we risk losing civility itself along the way. Belmond stand as a proud bastion against this and provide enclaves steeped in tradition where we might find the best of ourselves anew. Ensconced in comfort aboard a Belmond British Pullman never has the quotation "it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey" been more relevant.
This year I heard what may have been the best pair of loudspeakers I’ve ever experienced – the Wisdom LS4.
Unfortunately however, neither their size or cost is conducive to my current lifestyle. Fortunately the experience hasn’t dampened my love for other brands too and Wilsom Audio remain one of the speaker manufacturers that I continue to long to add to my collection. The Wilson aesthetic is completely against my normal taste and yet I there’s something I find incredibly appealing about it. It has a retro-futuristic feel which allows me to imagine that if I do ever build my family's equivalent of Thunderbirds' Tracy Island that these would fit right in.
Wilson Audio TuneTot - £11,000 per pair
A MARTINI AT DUKES
If there is one overriding thing that
The dog photographed however is mine and he's not for sale
Thank you to everyone who has supported the Senior in it's inaugural year.