Is Pink the New Blue?

It used to be considered that pink was for a girl and blue for a boy but back in the 19th century pink was considered to be a manly “strong” color with rose gold jewellery being a strong seller amongst the male population.

After a period in the wilderness pink for the boys is back with a vengeance. Now Apple-no slowcoach in the marketing stakes-is jumping on the pink bandwagon with the launch of its new iPhone 6s in rose gold. Word from the street is that the pre-orders and early sales since the recent launch indicate that the rose gold version is completely sold out. The bulk of these sales seems to be from men-not women.

In the broader fashion world there is a growing trend for men’s clothing to be offered in pink and it’s various hues. Valentino, Bottega Veneta and Gucci are leading the charge for pink in their 2016 season menswear offerings.

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Will we see the ex-Governator Arnie wearing pink anytime soon?

A man wearing pink needs to explain himself.

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Turnbull & Asser Slim-fit Marcella Dress Shirt

Choosing the right dress shirt is never easy especially when you might wish to alternate between wearing a tie and going tieless. Well now Turnbull & Asser the venerable and storied bespoke shirtmaker from Jermyn Street in London’s tony St. James’ district has got your back covered-quite literally!

Their new Marcella dress shirt sports all of the heritage that we’ve come to expect from T &A: the single-needle stitching throughout, for both its fine finish and its strength. There is the gusset, which reinforces the side seams. The buttons, which are cut from the deepest part of mother-of-pearl shell, and affixed with a wax thread and cross-lock stitch, so one won’t unravel into your hand as you’re dressing late for a meeting (in fact, Turnbull & Asser is so confident its buttons are securely fixed it doesn’t supply spares).

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Many of the two-ply, 120-thread-count cloths, woven in Italy, are exclusive. The collar – something of a signature – is made with a floating, rather than fused, bias-cut inter-lining, to ensure it doesn’t bubble and stays down, the edge gently curved to ensure it sits well on the collar bone. And, to return to numbers, while shirt buffs like to talk of a two-part or split yoke, a Turnbull & Asser yoke is made of four parts, to give a flexibility across the upper back.

As well as being superbly constructed the new Marcella shirt is slim fit with a Regent collar that’s less formal than a cutaway and three button sleeves that can just as easily be worn with a tie or open neck for a more casual dressed down appearance.

$395 turnbullandasser.com

Trinidad Vigia

The Vigia is a new vitola from the Trinidad brand, reportedly Fidel Castro’s favourite and which was created for him personally by Habanos.

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Difficult to find the Vigia is not yet in wide distribution. Recent box codes such as AEM Jun 14 suggest that it’s being made at El Laguito in Miramar, a suburb of Havana. It is also the birthplace of the storied Cohiba brand of cigars which were first rolled there.

Sporting a broad 54 ring gauge and with a length of just over 4 inches the Vigia is classified as a Petit Robusto but there’s nothing petite about this cigar when in the hand.

With it’s colorado wrapper, typical of its stablemates, the construction is very fine with no obvious flaws. The band is a little inexpertly applied but the overall impression is good. The cigar is finished with the trademark Trinidad pigtail and comes in a SBN varnished box of 12 pieces.

The Vigia is the first new Trinidad to be introduced for a number of years and could in time become a worthy successor to the Robusto T all be it that it’s a tad shorter in length.

Cut but unlit it has a decent draw and shows great promise. First impressions upon lighting are of typical Trinidad flavours with some spiciness developing into a creamy coffee earthiness. There is a sweet tea like taste on the retrohale which is rather beguiling. Builds up to pepper and hickory wood in the second third. Dark chocolate and white pepper in the final third. Very enjoyable now but could do with a twelve month spell in storage. If you are thinking of broaching a stick now I suggest you dry box it for 72 hours before smoking.

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Highly recommended. 90/91 points capable of rising to 94 points in two years time or so. European prices appear to be in the €12.50-€13 range in Germany/Holland but only €10.30 in Spain-a veritable bargain for such a prestigious brand. Don’t bother asking about the UK and Australia or you’ll be in danger of succumbing to apoplexy!

The 10 best cognacs under $100

Finding a great cognac for under $100 is a particular challenge but it’s still just possible. The first cognac in this series of reviews is Chateau de Fontpinot from the illustrious house of Frapin. Fontpinot is distinguished by being allowed to allowed to call itself a Chateau as all of the grapes, distillation and bottling are carried out within the castle.

In all there are 300 hectares of vineyards dedicated to producing grapes for Fontpinot. A multiple award winner Fontpinot stands head and shoulders above its near competitors from the major cognac houses. There have been many reviews of this outstanding cognac not least from Wine Enthusiast who had this to say in 2004:

“Made from estate-grown, chateau-bottled Grande Champagne grapes and eaux-de-vie that are between 15 and 20 years old. Aroma of damp earth, succulent fresh fruit, flowers and spice. Palate entry is off-dry, caramel-like and properly oak; at midpalate, the flavor deepens, offering lip-smacking tastes of light toffee, almond butter and vanilla extract. Finishes candied and rich. Score: 90-95”.

Nothing has changed in the intervening years as Frapin shows astonishing consistency year in, year out.

At Bespoke Dandy we recently conducted a blind tasting against three other contenders where Fontpinot scored consistently in the mid 90’s, a 3 to 4 point lead over its rivals.

Although there is no direct age statement it is generally believed that Fontpinot contains spirits that are at least 25 years of age. Indeed there are traces of port like “Rancio” so characteristic of old cognac.

In our next review we will be tasting and assessing Fontpinot’s near rival: Delamain XO.

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The Signet Ring Is Back

Signet rings are making a comeback according to a recent post on Bloomberg Pursuits. According to Bloomberg staffer Nic Screws the new Guy Ritchie movie-The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has inspired younger men to emulate the denizens of New York’s crusty clubs and college fraternities by donning the pinkie finger rings.

The best rings tend to be made from 14kt gold as it’s tougher than 18kt and brighter than it’s 9kt sibling. As to color that’s a matter of personal preference although personally I’m partial to white gold for it’s low key appearance. None the less rose gold could look cool especially if you have a watch in the same hue.

Traditionally, men had their school, club or college crest engraved on their ring. On the other hand if you aspire to the join the aristocracy why not use your family’s coat of arms? A number of purveyors of signet rings allow you search among thousands of crests and coats of arms online.

The best rings come from England and in particular from Ruffs, Dexter and Rebus-all traditional makers and superlative in the art of engraving. You can opt for deep decorative engraving or if you want to seal documents in wax then go for reverse engraving so that when your ring is impressed into the hot wax a positive image will appear.