Kavalan’s Five New Single Malts

Kavalan’s Five New Single Malts

The Taiwanese distiller Kavalan introduced its first single malt to market fewer than 10 years ago, but that was enough time to establish itself as one of the world’s leading producers of fine whisky. Emerging as an unlikely player on the market for exquisite spirits, the climate of Taiwan has even managed to accelerate the whiskey’s maturation. This has given Kavalan a real shot at competing with renowned whiskey manufacturers in Scotland, America and Japan.

In April, wealthy buyers will be able to sneak a taste of Kavalan’s latest line of sherry and port cask-aged whiskies. The collection includes such exclusive offerings like the Kavalan Amontillado Sherry Cask Single Malt Whisky – matured with a cap of flor, imbuing it with a fresh baked bread flavor that is evident in the whisky. Whiskey aficionados who enjoy their beverage with a zesty citrus flavour will enjoy the Kavalan Manzanilla Sherry Cask Single Malt Whisky with its medley of dried fruit. Kavalan Moscatel Sherry Cask Single Malt Whisky is a sublime treat to the palate thanks to its long, luxuriant and creamy texture, where dates, dark chocolate cake and raspberry jam, honey and toasted nuts come together in a symphony of flavours. The first three varieties of the collection have an asking price of $599 per bottle while the Kavalan PX Sherry Cask Single Malt Whisky will retail for $699. Aged in PX casks, it boasts a subtle lemongrass and toffee nuance for an invigorating sensation on the palate. Finally, there is the Kavalan Port Cask Single Malt Whisky – matured in Portuguese barriques that once held high-alcohol fortified wine. The dense fruit-forward whisky costs $299 per bottle and presents a robust combination of brown sugar and plums, with a hint of smoke.

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Baselworld’s Jewelry Highlights

Baselworld is the most anticipated annual exhibition dedicated to watches and jewelry. Held in the Swiss city of Basel, it is the moment international Maisons use to debut their new collections and steal the spotlight with creative and exuberant designs. The 2017 edition of the exhibition includes daring new pieces from Eberhard & Co., Chopard and Faidee.

In keeping with spring, Chopard introduced its Green Carpet collection featuring high jewelry with responsibly mined Gemfield’s emeralds. Its For You watch collection embodies the definition of discreet luxury, offering fine and ready-to-wear pieces. Inspired by the delicate beauty of the cherry blossom, the two timepieces of the collection present delicate pear-shaped diamonds or emeralds around a brilliant-cut pistil.

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Fourth-generation jeweler Faidee known as a source for some of the world’s rarest Burmese rubies, unveiled the Grand Phoenix necklace comprised of 24 unheated Burmese Pigeon’s Blood rubies—the most coveted variety of rubies. Weighing nearly 80 carats, it is valued at about $35 million, and has more than 100 carats of D color grade diamonds. (faidee.com)

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Two new models celebrate Eberhard & Co’s 130th anniversary with the Chrono 4 (patented – registered design). This is the first and only chronograph in the history of watchmaking with four aligned counters, a veritable icon of the brand today.

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Both watches feature a new 42 mm diameter case that is framed by a bezel with circular satin finish; the crown, personalised with the number “130”. Three dial variants are available.

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Lake Como’s $10,000-Per-Night Villa Sola Cabiati

Lake Como has long provided a top spot for relaxation and privacy with the gorgeous villas and gardens that front the lake. And travellers have always spent hefty sums to enjoy its legendary beauty and its natural scenery.

Now, a centuries-old architectural wonder – Villa Sola Cabiati that was once the summer home of Milan’s Duke Gabrio Serbelloni, is now among the most breathtaking properties.

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With its frescoed walls, lush gardens, and museum-quality furnishings – it is now open to the public as the five-star Grand Hotel Tremezzo. Only a few select lucky guests will gain access to the historic villa as it’s not even bookable on the hotel’s website. “It’s about providing something exclusive to our guests, in a style that’s very different from the hotel—and creating truly tailor-made experiences there,” Tremezzo’s CEO and owner, Valentina De Santis says.

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Tremezzo’s guests can enjoy Villa Sola Cabiati in three ways. Book guided tours of the villa’s two museum floors, both of which were previously closed, enjoy a range of more immersive activities on the 10-acre baroque estate, including yoga and romantic dinners in the Tuscan garden.

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The ultimate visit, however, includes the opportunity to stay the night, with parties of up to 12 making use of the villa’s historic furnishings and artwork. Priced from about $10,000 per night, the villa can only be rented in its entirety for complete privacy and comfort.

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Chelsea Hotel Manager Stanley Bard’s Art Collection Goes to Auction

Stanley Bard, the longtime part-owner and manager of Manhattan’s legendary Chelsea Hotel, has made a name for being a connoisseur of fine art. Throughout his career he has helped many struggling artists—among them Leonard Cohen, Andy Warhol, and Jasper Johns—to live and work in his hotel for little compensation. As a result, he managed to amass one of the most striking collections that capture the creative spirit of the 21st century.

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Tom Wesselmann’s “Study for Blue Nude”

Following his recent passing, the exclusive collection, which features works from Tom Wesselman, Karel Appel, and Christo will hit the auction block in May. Many of the pieces speak not only to the history of the now-closed Chelsea Hotel, but to a bygone era of one of New York’s most culturally-rich periods. Most pieces are a testament to Bard’s influence on the artists as with Tom Wesselmann’s Face #1, for instance, featuring the note “For Stanley—With Affection—Tom Wesselmann” on its back. The piece is expected to fetch up to $800,000. Handled by Freeman’s, the auction will handle works from some of the greatest artists of this century.

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Tom Wesselmann’s “Face #1” 

Slots for the auction will become available at the beginning of May and buyers better hurry up if they want to snap iconic pieces like Philip Taaffe “Untitled”, Larry Rivers “Art and the Artist Portrait and Painting of Arshile Gorky and Christo’s “The Mastaba of Abu Dhabi” – valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Larry Rivers “Art and the Artist Portrait and Painting of Arshile Gorky”

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The most desirable Gems from Spring’s Upcoming Jewelry Auctions

Spring season has officially begun with extraordinary pieces exhibited by auction houses from New York and London and there are quite a few gorgeous gems that are worth your time and money.

First on the radar is renowned dealer Sotheby’s and its Fine Jewels exhibition in London that will take place on March 22nd. More than 280 distinctive and memorable jewels will be auctioned, including a spectacular brooch, expected to fetch between $29,000 and $39,000. Designed by innovative French designer Pierre Sterlé, it is styled to resemble a bird with a cabochon aquamarine body surrounded by circular-cut sapphires and brilliant-cut diamonds. Other memorable pieces include vibrant rings and bracelets from Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Buccellati, and other reputable Maisons.

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In April the Magnificent Jewels auction is heading to New York, where the standout piece will be a spectacular 34-carat emerald ring by Harry Winston called the Stotesbury Emerald (expected to sell for $800,000 to $1.2 million). The unique object d’art once belonged to American socialite and jewelry enthusiast, Eva Stotesbury.

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Another entrancing art deco–inspired piece is a clip centered around a rare, unheated Burmese ruby (valued at $300,000 to $400,000) that will be the headlining piece of the London auction house’s spring sale. Diamond lovers can bid on the classic rivière collar necklace ($200,000 to $300,000). As part of a private collection, it consists of 63 round brilliant-cut diamonds totalling nearly 44 carats.

A highly anticipated offering from Christie’s at the Magnificent Jewels action in New York is a pair of contrasting pink-and-blue sapphire earrings ($40,000 to $60,000) by the world-renowned and elusive French jewelry designer Joel Arthur Rosenthal (JAR). The daringly mismatched duo reflects the current trend of bold statement earrings. Bvlgari will also be represented with a massive 48-carat sapphire and diamond ring ($500,000 to $700,000).

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Christie’s New Multipurpose Masterpiece in Beverly Hills

A new Lox Angeles complex in Southern California will give discerning collectors a new point of purchase from reputable auction house Christie’s when it opens in April. Located over two stories, the 5,400-square-foot facility is planned on North Camden Drive in Beverly Hills and will provide the same cross-section of services the auction house is known for.

From exclusive art to unique collectibles – the convenient location for clients will fit well in the upscale community.  Wealthy buyers will be able to stop by for a selection of luxury offerings of watches, jewelry, wine, and handbags. The site will cater to individual customers and those representing institutions (such as museums) thanks to a skilled in-house appraisal and investment team. Private offices for consultations, a vault-like room for presenting exquisite jewels and other one-of-a-kind pieces, and extensive exhibition space are planned in the design. The second floor also features a 1,400-square-foot entertainment venue with an outdoor patio. Interactive live-streams from Christie’s sales taking place elsewhere will tie the whole place together.

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Beverly Hills is the logical choice for Christie’s new haven for wealthy buyers as it complements its current California locations in Century City and San Francisco. The auction house, headquartered in London, has been a premier conduit for the finest artistry and craftsmanship since founded by James Christie in 1766.

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An exclusive Collection Honoring Johannes Kepler From Montblanc

Montblanc’s Maison Artisan Atelier in Hamburg, Germany, has flirted with high-end writing instrument designs latterly. Some of the newly-released pieces are priced in excess of $1 million and exhibit intricate motifs centered on serpents and notable figures like Marco Polo – flamboyant enough to capture the eye of wealthy connoisseurs.

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The artisan’s newest collection was designed to honour the mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer Johannes Kepler and his contribution of the three laws of planetary motion. The aptly named High Artistry Homage to Johannes Kepler Limited Edition collection consists of three limited edition designs and one unique piece. Prices, understandably, are astronomically high with the Stella Nova Limited Edition 1 announced at $1.5 million. The one-of-a-kind piece is adorned with 570 diamonds and 5,294 sapphires arranged to evoke the Milky Way in the night sky. An opulent 6.2-carat Montblanc-cut diamond rests on the pen’s cap and is surrounded by three diamond-set rings representing, once again, Kepler’s three laws. The pen is accompanied by a pair of cufflinks shaped like the scientist’s model of the solar system for a complete look.

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The exclusivity of the collection is highlighted throughout – its base model, the Johannes Kepler High Pede Serpentari Limited Edition 39 (priced at $48,130), is restricted to just 39 examples worldwide. The Johannes Kepler High Artistry Astronomia Nova Limited Edition 9 (priced at $140,000), is limited to nine pieces and presents a representation of Ophiuchus and Sagittarius on its barrel.

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 Another flamboyant offering is the Johannes Kepler High Artistry Somnium Limited Edition 5 ($513,000 to $556,000, depending on colour choice) in the form of a fully functional moon-phase indicator on the cap and a special rewinder housed within the pen’s wooden display box.

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The Ultimate Gift – The World’s Largest Flawless Heart-Shape Diamond

One lucky girl would get the ultimate gift that will make both Valentine’s Day and diamond history. That is, if her partner can afford to spend over $20 million on Graff’s heart-shaped, D-class, flawless diamond named in celebration of the Roman goddess of Love.

The Graff Venus is the largest D Flawless heart shape diamond in the world, and comes from a 357-carat rough stone found at the Letseng mine in Lesotho in 2015. It was sold by Gem Diamonds for $19.3 million to an undisclosed buyer in September that year, which means that its price as a symmetrical and perfectly polished stone will be, at least, twice as much. The exceptionally demanding Graff Venus is a magnificent type IIa 118.78ct diamond that goes beyond words, and will surely be the object of desire of many high-class women, celebrities and socialites.

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18 months of analysis, cutting and polishing were invested in the transformation of the rough 357-carat stone to get a record-breaking heart-shaped diamond of immaculate quality and proportions. The GIA certificate revealed the highest grading that any stone can achieve for the Graff Venus: D Colour, Flawless, and Type IIA with Excellent Polish, Excellent Symmetry, and No Fluorescence. This gives the exclusive stone a mesmerizing effect and unparalleled value.

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The world’s largest perfect heart-shape stone, The Graff Venus is arguably the most breath-taking in the contemporary series of record-breaking diamonds.

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Four Single Malts from Scotland

Whiskey experts have always wanted to bottle the essence of Scotland – the inspiration behind the launch from Golden Decanters. The new collection consists of cask-strength whiskies that epitomize the sublime combination of age and beauty. Each of the four major distilling regions of Scotland is represented in one of the single malt whiskeys. The Highlands – with a 19-year-old Ben Nevis, which is a vibrant blend of wood, spice, and fruit. The Lowlands – with a 22-year-old Auchentoshan, which is deep, rich, and surprisingly full-bodied. Islay is represented by a 26-year-old Bowmore, which is a deceptively sweet single malt with a dry, elegant smokiness midpalate. And Speyside’s offers a 34-year-old Glenlivet that highlights the brand’s delicate sweetness without any overly woody notes—a surprise considering its age.

Each of the four bottles is delicately etched by Glencairn Crystal with a scene of Scotland’s finest pursuits —golf, hunting, fishing, and Highland cattle. The design itself is replicated on the handcrafted American oak boxes in which the bottles are housed. 180 numbered sets were created, of which more than 40 have already been sold since the launch in October. The four whiskies are sold as a set, for about $9,161. Golden Decanters has already announced a second release, with more to come, including a possible U.S. exclusive.

A pleasant pastime for wealthy buyers would be the guided distillery tours that the company offers to its customers who make their way to Scotland. An even more immersive experience is available over the course of two weeks to take in all of Scotland’s castles, fine restaurants, and distilleries. The Golden Decanters whiskies are included in the excursion package, the price of which is available on request.

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The Most Expensive American Whiskey

In 2013 when Michter’s released its Celebration Sour Mash whiskey at $4,000 per bottle, it was an exquisite experience to obtain one of the 273 bottles available. Now, there is an even pricier whiskey that spirit connoisseurs can appreciate. The second batch of the palatable liquid is the 2016 Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash. Put together by Willie Pratt before he retired, the new blend retails at $5,000 for a bottle—a bit pricier than its predecessor. There are only 256 bottles released worldwide, making it a rare treat.

As Joseph Magliocco, Michter’s president, puts it – this is far more than another whiskey for the luxury market. “With Celebration,” he says, “we wanted to make an American whiskey that’s as good as anything being made anywhere else in the world. And I think we’ve succeeded.” For this reason an entirely new blend of six different Kentucky straight bourbons and ryes, aged from 10 to almost 33 years, was created. It was then bottled at cask strength, 58.4 percent alcohol by volume. The result has the texture of bourbon, with rich caramel, vanilla, and honey notes, but evolves like a rye, dry and spicy, with lots of oak on the long, dry finish. Michter’s trademark big, powerful flavor profile is also there, but the combination of the whiskeys in the blend make it resonate even deeper on the palate, with greater complexity.

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The packaging of the new blend is similar to the 2013 Celebration. An elegant red wood-and-leather box contains the bottle; the 18-karat gold on both the stopper and the label was applied in France. There is a drawer beneath the bottle with a wax-sealed envelope with a letter signed by Willie Pratt for a personal touch.

To find out more about the world’s most luxurious drinks check out some of our previous posts such as World’s most expensive beverages – part 1, World’s most expensive beverages – part 2 and The best whiskeys to drink this summer.