Ballantine’s Whiskey Gets Dressed For the Festive Season 2019

The house that was one of the first to assemble its whiskeys edits two limited editions of its blends. 

If George Ballantine was one of the first to assemble and age his whiskeys, he was also the entrepreneur that was at the origin of creating the most balanced of blends. Since 1827, the house that survives him takes it on to defend these complex and delicious whiskeys. For the occasion of the end of year festivities is also a way to discover new variations around a very appreciated whisky. 

Ballantine’s has thus created a Ballantine’s: Barrel Smooth Blend – deeply round with a fine acidity. Other novelty – a red version of the iconic Ballentine’s Finest as an echo to the nuances of tasting that compose it. And the Ballantine’s 12 also takes on new colours… a cubic coating that celebrates the process of ageing – a crucial step in making the perfect blend, initiated by George Ballantine himself!

Chateau d’Yquem: In a Glass, the Grandeur of A French Wine

The story of a great French wine that has become the most prestigious in the world – Château d’Yquem, or excellence since four centuries. To be placed on tables this festive season. 

We must head to Sauternais, a beautiful small region hidden in the vallée de la Garonne. There must be a strict micro-climate, but well administrated in order to discover the Chateau d’Yquem and its grape. The domaine, four centuries old is 170 hectares large. There, the vines are treated like a princess; it is subject to no chemicals and its vines are inspected and then picked by hand in full respect of ancestral tradition. Inherited across 12 generations! We find two legendary French grape varieties: the Sémillon and the Sauvignon. Submitted to a very regular climate and associated to exceptional soils – Yquem is a liquor-like wine, at once warm and light.

To breath in its gold-colored robe is to fill oneself with floods of intense ripe fruits (mirabelle plum, apricot) and dried fruits (fig, quince). The famous nectar also presents exotic notes of mango and spice that forms subtle and tickling perfumes, as Pierre Lurton – chef de cave d’Yquem – likes to say. On the palate its amplitude is incomparable, this wine deploys opulence. And then there is a complex refinement that meddles an infinite smoothness, a strong yet delicate velvet and an exquisite softness that carries it all… 

Château d’Yquem is the first premier cru superieur of all the Sauternes ranked crus by Napoleon III in 1855. Its submission to nature, which is to say to a capricious nature that rules over its hills, creates its preciousness, its excellence and exclusive character. About one year in ten, the domaine – unsatisfied by the results of its vineyard, renounces to put its harvest in bottle. It is making the choice to forever bring to the name of d’Yquem a demanding sense of quality rarely observed elsewhere. This highly prestigious wine is an incarnation of French luxury: a savoir-vivre entirely. What fills the glass when one pours this magical sap, this harmonious liquid, this drink that is soft to the eyes, is probably a sense of grandeur. 

A mythical wine that provokes in all instant emotions. To name a few palates that have vibrated to these notes, that of Louis XIV, Napoléon III or even Thomas Jefferson, who after a visit to France in 1787, wrote that it was the best French white wine. Before ordering some for his general, “I have persuaded our President, the General Washington, to try a sample. He demands thirty dozens, Sir and I ask two dozens for myself”. Visibly, the sample has since conquered as the Château d’Yquem counts among the most prestigious and iconic wines in history! Something to make the end of year festivities even more exceptional! 

Romanée Conti – Object of All Desires

It is the most prestigious of names in the world – however, the Romanée-conti icon is the fruit of a vineyard that is small in size but mighty in history. 

The iconic Romanée-conti cuvée lies on  the oldest and most famous estate of Bourgogne. Perched above the village of Vosne-Romanée, at the heart of beautiful limestone grounds, the estate extends over 25 hectare – on the other hand, the vineyard dedicated to the production of Romanée-conti is only 1,81 hectares. This great red wine owes its reputation to its story as well as its centennial culture, founded on the principles of biodynamic farming. 

“There are no predestined great vineyards, only the stubbornness of civilisations” says Aubert de Villaine, co-owner and co-director of the domaine. The story then: Since the time of Louis XIV the wine of Romanée was prescribed by the King’s doctor, Guy Crescent Fagon against his persistent stomach aches. However, it is Prince de Conti that would make it gain its reputation. His aesthete eye and affirmed palate saw in it more than a wine of ivresse – it was to him a true work of art.  

“He gave his name to the wine for the simple reason that it was served only at his personal table” tells Aubert de Villaine. Yes, appreciated for a long time by Louis-François de Bourbon, previously called the Prince de Conti, he acquired it for ten times the price of a very sought after cru, the Clos de Bèze. From then, the production of Romanée-conti would be extremely limited. The grand cru is just like a great work of art. It is a victim of falsification. 

A wine stamped DRC excites experts, oenologists and counterfeiters. Its quasi-ineffable refinement is made to accompany the greatest moments of life. Great dinners, too. Shared amongst family or guests, the Romanée-conti slides into wine cards of great restaurants but under one condition: that the bottle is destroyed after consumption. So that it cannot be falsified. How much is a Romanée-conti bottle worth? The production, searching for an absolute ideal, make the few bottles in circulation reach astronomical heights. In June 2018, 76,300 euros for a 1999 jeroboam. Never has a bottle been sold for such a high price. But art responds to no commercial logic. Something with which to accompany  moments of exceptional ravishment, is it not?

Hennessy, Cognac Makes Itself Festive for Christmas

The house which will celebrate its 255 years of existence in 2020 will introduce, once again, exceptional bottles for the end of year celebrations!

We can read the story of the Hennessy maison in its emblem – the family crest of its founder Richard Hennessy, now become a symbol of its savour faire. The legendary hatchet leave sits sign on the most desirable cognacs of the world. This savoir-faire goes way back, almost 255 years to be precise. Irish officer at the service of King Louis XV, Richard Hennessy discovered Charent and the city of Cognac all the while learning about trade. In 1765 he founded his own house which quickly conquered the palace of the French King’s court. A business yes but nonetheless a family one, Hennessy transmits itself from generation to generation. A rule that applies just as much to the founders as to the master blenders. 

Some hundred years later, in 1870, Maurice Hennessy begun another international reference for cognacs. With the XO designation (for eXtra Old), he put out into the world the finest cognacs in the galaxy. Initially reserved to family and friends, Hennessy X.O. is now accessible to all! And it is evidently this same Hennessy X.O. & Ice that the maison chose to put into the spotlight for the end of 2019. 

The maison revisited a frosted case that transforms into an ice bucket, a way to accompany the new ways of enjoying the drink – around ice! This is thanks to the Comité de Dégustation  of the Hennessy maison, who each morning at the same time in the heart of Cognac gets together in order to follow the gustative evolution and potential of cognacs. This time, it proposes three ways of experimenting with Hennessy X.O. With three ice cubes, one large ice cube or even five or six ice cubes, the goal stays the same: reveal it’s rich and complex aromas!

Another novelty intimately related to the history of the brand – In 1947, Gerald de Geoffrey de Chabrignac, Richard’s nephew, drew the now iconic Hennessy carafe. Its shape, inspired by an inverted grapevine with embossed vines running along the glass is a homage to the vines of Charente. The novelty continues when in 1979, the master blender Maurice Fillioux created “Hennessy Paradis”, a cognac assembling hundreds of exceptional brandies, the house begun a new chapter in its history. 

This is now captured in the new crystal carafe, a jewel of the collection – the Hennessy Paradis Imperial. Conceived by contemporary artist and designer Arik Levy, the new crystal carat brings about a delicate and audacious balance. It contains the Hennessy cognacs that have reached their points of elegance, the decisive and ephemeral moment where a brandy is deemed ready to enter the composition of a Hennessy Paradis Imperial assemblage. 

And since Hennessy holds luxury to be of primary value, it is at the heart of a specially created trunk by Louis Vuitton that the icon will nestle. The Hennessy Paradis Imperial trunk by Louis Vuitton celebrates thus the excellence of savoir-faire, the two maisons offering both a unique vision of the world. A vision largely inspired by refinement of taste and a joint affinity for the world of travel. A gustative journey that awaits you for the end of year festivities!

Bollinger: James Bond’s Champagne

With the launch of “La Grande Année 2008” and the celebration of 40 years of partnership with the James Bond movies, the end of the year will be an iconic one for Bollinger!

The refined and remarkable champagnes of the maison Bollinger have been brightening days, parties and celebrations since 1829! And when the exceptional harvest of 2008 is finally bottled, we can only imagine the impact of such a vintage. The 2008 harvest gave birth to a wine with infinite depth – a wine that with time has achieved the characteristic acidity of Bollinger. Bottled, this gives “La Grande Année 2008”. It took ten years to unravel the nobility of this unique vintage.

Aromas of citrus fruits, fleshed fruit, berries, spices, floral and mineral notes, longevity on the palate, structure and density make up the key gustative notes of these great Pinots Noirs d’Aÿ and Verzenay. The backbone of the Bollinger champagne. “The elaboration of each La Grande Année bottle requires patience and precision and is only possible thanks to the work of the men and women of the maison whose artisanal methods have been passed on from generation to generation” affirms cellar master Gilles Descôtes. 

Complex and harmonious, this exceptional champagne is the very image of a hero that makes it an icon – a certain James Bond. “It is with great pride that we celebrate the 40 years of partnership between Bollinger and James Bong, a homage to the friendship born in 1971 between my father, Christian Bizot, and the producer of James Bond, Cubby Broccoli” says Etienne Bizot, CEO of Bollinger. 

It is true that since the first appearance of the champagne in the film ‘Moonraker’ in 1979 that Bollinger has only continued to symbolise the chic audacity of Bond’s character. So, what better than to carve out two limited editions to celebrate the 40 year partnership? The first, a nod to the space themed universe of ‘Moonraker”, revisiting the spaceship created by the legendary set designer Ken Adam. In doing so, Bollinger invited designer Eric Berthès to create an object made of tin and plated with noble wood. It encloses thus a Saint Louis crystal bucket as well as a magnum of Bollinger 2007, the Bond Vintage par excellence! The pieces, worked and adjusted by hand, make each 407 numbered pieces a unique œuvre!

The second limited edition Champagne Bollinger and 07 anticipate the highly awaited release of the 25th opus of the ‘No Time To Die” series. The idea? To create a 2011 vintage dedicated to the universe of Bond. The bottle, entirely in black, carries the number 25 formed by the titles of the previous films. It is the first time that Bollinger created a vintage entirely from the 2011 harvest – a historical one coming exclusively from the Pinot Noir Grand crus from village d’Aÿ. Better yet, these champagnes as admirable as they are inspired are already available! Something with which to celebrate Christmas and the new year in a very Bond fashion, James Bond fashion!

Ruinart Champagnes and the Blancs de Blancs Icon Dress Up For Christmas

At the approach of the holiday season, Ruinart expressed it’s interest in art once again around two exceptional collaborations – the talent of Vik Muniz and that of Ron Arad accompany the most legendary of champagnes!

It is in 1729, at the highest of the Lumieres revolution that the Sillery vineyard, south-east of Reims, became that of the Ruinart maison. In 2018 it is the very same vineyard that the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz spent long hours finding inspiration. “My relationship to images is not quite related to the history of art but more to memory” describes the artist. Yes, for already in the 18th century the chefs de caves of the Ruinart house sourced in the materials, colours and spirit of time the original composition of their vintage. The Blanc de Blancs keeps these memories alive today. 

If Viz Muniz is the eighth artists to collaborate with Ruinart in the creation of an exceptional bottle, the history of Ruinart with artists goes back to 1896. Before Jaume Plans or Erwin Olaf, it is a certain Alphonse Mucha who was the first invited for a collaboration. Andre Ruinart, head of the maison, saw the artist’s posters bloom on the Morris columns. Imagined and even invented for Sarah Bernhardt, these posters where the first with her to begin the art of advertisements. Much conceives then an advertisement full of voluptuousness showing the cocottes of the Belle Epoque. Art Nouveau was throned in this way as Ruinart set in stone the most complete illustration of it’s savour faire. And what of it today? Ruinart and art glisten and sparkle, especially in the bubbles of the Blanc de Blancs!

The end of year celebrations have brought Ruinart to create two exceptional pieces – one of these is an exclusive bottle imagined by Via Muniz. The second consists of three tin champagne buckets by Ron Arad. As a homage to the art of assembly so unique to Champagne, the famous designer and architect imagined these buckets around a single joining link of leather. Forming in this way a large basin, the three nestle in a trunk made of oak coming from sustainably managed forests. Made in the purest of French traditions! Inside, the magnums Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2014, Dome Ruinart Rosé 1998 and Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 1993. 

As for Vik Muniz, he reiterates his first inspiration stemming from the vine cuttings. This time expresses himself on a limited edition box set of which there are only 30 – this time hiding a Blanc de Blancs Jeroboam. Created using parts of darkened wood and charcoal, the figure extends its lines on the four faces of this imposing wooden box set. Going further in his concern for memory, Vik Muniz sought out to give this exceptional object a second life – becoming in itself a unique piece of furniture. Ruinart thus offers two artworks that are just as inspired as they are original and ready to be discovered!

(Re)Discovering Glenmorangie’s The Original

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Its powerful aroma is known by lovers of single malt whiskies. Glenmorangie’s The Original envelops the nose in a vanilla aroma before softening it with the scent of citrus and ripe peaches. This bouquet opens up even further when you add a touch of water – floral notes of geranium  uncover apricot, bergamot, mandarin, eucalyptus, and ginger. On the palate, vanilla embodies the whisky’s fruity, floral, and complex character. Crunchy notes of almond, coconut, and sweet spices sign off on its elegance. Then comes the finale: the whisky’s complete aroma distilled with touches of orange and peach.

The centennial creation of this whisky in the highest stills of Scotland is what guarantees the beverage’s distinction. That’s why the Glenmorangie distillery decided to celebrate its iconic whisky for the holidays. Glenmorangie The Original is being offered in an elegant and essential box set: a box set with bursts of orange that contains a bottle of The Original 70cl and two tumblers. It’s the ideal gift to (re)discover this whisky with a remarkably round, sweet, and completely fascinating character.

 

Château Mouton Rothschild 2015 by Gerhard Richter

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Château Mouton Rothschild is one of the most reputable domains in the Médoc region of France, named the “first grand cru” according to the official classification of Bordeaux wines. And a prestigious wine necessitates a prestigious label. In 1924, Baron Philippe de Rothschild wanted to mark the domain’s first bottling by calling on famed poster artist Jean Carlu to create the label. The idea wasn’t bad, but it wouldn’t be seen to fruition. It wasn’t until 20 years later in 1945 that Baron Philippe came back to his idea. This time, he crowned the vintage’s label with a V for victory, a V designed by young painter Philippe Julian. The tradition was born.

Every year, a renowned artist brings their touch to this unequivocally prestigious wine. Jean Hugo and Jean Cocteau, friends of the Baron, were among the first to be solicited. Later on, names like César, Braque, Dali, Miró, Chagall, Picasso, Warhol, Soulages, Bacon, Tapies, and more recently Jeff Koons would get involved. They all brought a personal work as the bottle’s signature. This year, Gerhard Richter is teaming up with the 2015 vintage. The result: an inspired and hypnotizing work of art. The painter has indeed long been known for a singular, complex, and accessible body of work.

A dialectic between painting and photography puts his art in a category that fluctuates between figurative art and abstraction. Celebrated for his photo-paintings with blurry backgrounds as well as his still-life paintings and portraits, the artist is today a master who sells his paintings for several million Euros. For the Mouton de Rothschild wine, Gerhard Richter created a label called “Flux”, illustrating a process that’s both random and carried out with certain virtuosity. It’s a mise en peinture of Mouton Rothschild 2015’s process of creation. The Château details the process thus: “The artist fixed colors in movement in a photo, captured at the ideal moment for their composition. In the same way, a harmonious assemblage gives a great wine, a true living material, its balance and fullness. He spread out enameled paint on a piece of plexiglass that he pressed a piece of glass onto, bringing out a number of surprising compositions. When the process was completed, he definitively attached the two pieces to one another.” That’s where this iconic label was born, with fluctuating and harmonious colors in equal measure.

Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers Abbey, the Heart and Soul of Dom Pérignon

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It’s an exceptional location. Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers Abbey has seen both powerful and meek, kings and priests, come through its door. In the beginning there was a dream. It was Saint Nivard, the fifth bishop of Reims and nephew of King Dagobert who had this dream. One day in the first century A.D., he was returning to Reims by way of Épernay – fatigued from his travels, he stopped in the land of Hautvillers where he nodded off against a tree. In his sleep, he saw a dove drawing circles around a beech tree. When he opened his eyes, he was surprised and frightened to see that the bird was still there, flying above the tree he had been sleeping under. There was no doubt about it: this was a divine invitation for the bishop to build a new abbey. And so he founded the d’Hautvillers Abbey and placed it under the auspices of Saint Benoit. The year was approximately 650. The abbey would prosper despite history’s vicissitudes. Destroyed by the Normands in 882, restored then burned by the English in 1449, rebuilt then razed by the Huguenots in 1564. “(…) Thanks to the gifts of Catherine de Médicis, it would reach a new height at the end of the 17th century before being torn down in 1793.”

Much later, when Pierre Pérignon took over the abbey in 1668, the monk took on the mission of creating “the best wine in the world”. He wanted to modernize the abbey, expanding its wine-making domain to bring adequate revenues to the community and help develop it. On his tombstone it can be read: “Here lies Dom Pérignon, cellarer in this monastery for forty-seven years. His administration of familial affairs afforded him the greatest of eulogies, recommendable by his virtues and full of paternal love for the poor.” This visionary spirit and his extraordinary audacity led him to reinvent everything, from the plantation to the vines, to the mixture and the creation process in between. It’s even said that he was the one who discovered champagne. Thanks to him, Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers became the greatest wine-producing domain in the Champagne region.

Dom Pierre Pérignon knew well that the d’Hautvillers domain was able to transcend and elicit an inspired and inspiring experience. He understood that the reign of Louis XIV was distinguishable by its excellence and inventiveness. The Sun King brought together the most remarkable artisans and the most famous artists at his court – and he wanted to be part of it. Numerous were the men of power in the Church like Leon X, François 1st, or Charles Quint who appreciated the “tranquil wines of the Marne river”. Indeed, Dom Pérignon’s wine is special because it’s a millésime vintage, only created during certain exceptional harvest years. And this tradition continues today. Upon one’s arrival at Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers, the monastery’s singular presence fascinates and awes. Here, something incredible was born. Something that forever changed the history of art de vivre – this is the sacred character of Saint=Pierre d’Hautvillers Abbey, standing watch for over a thousand years over Dom Pérignon champagne

The Belvedere Holiday Box Set by NeSpoon

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Like every year, Belvedere Vodka is introducing an exclusive box set decorated by a renowned artist. This time, Polish urban artist NeSpoon was entrusted with the creation of their icon. This artist has the same Polish origins and values as Belvedere – whether it comes to beautifying the urban landscape in unexpected or abandoned locations or adding her touch to a bottle of Belvedere, NeSpoon always taps into the same authenticity.

That’s how she imagined a box set that’s in harmony with Belvedere Vodka’s DNA. The bottle’s lighting is subtle and ground-breaking – beneath a refined and artsy glass globe, the vodka boasts an elegant collector’s coat. Its fine frosted silhouette, presented beneath a glass globe adorned with lace motifs and a birchwood base, is an homage to Poland’s forests. NeSpoon took this unexpected signature – lace in all its forms – from her country’s traditional folklore and the work of its artisans. This remarkable style characterizes the most exclusive series of the holiday season. This box set is available now exclusively at the Publicis Drugstore.

Even better, to those who want to imbue themselves even more in the Belvedere universe… The vodka is occupying the Table du Huit this season, a hidden terrace in Paris’ 8th arrondissement. With a chalet allure and bold style, the Belvedere Chalet d’Hiver is a unique place with a custom menu of seasonal cocktails created by mixologist Daniel Rodriguez. This winter is set for sweet and ravishing delights!