Posh Gift Idea: The Six Rarest Scottish Whiskies

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Doesn’t it seem there are always three, four, five people on your list who have…everything?

Unfortunately, you can’t wrap up wisdom, intellect or salvation and put it under the tree. But the next best thing? A rare, exquisite Scottish whisky – which, after a few sips, may actually bring on various stages of epiphany. Here is our insider guide to the very best.

Nollaig chridheil agus bliadhna mhath ur!

 


Highland Park 40 Year Old

Striking masculine design of both box and bottle, the latter adorned with a silver amulet, to decidedly elegant effect. Smokey, fruity and rich, with prominent tasting notes of sherry, chocolate and anise and a distinctly oaky finish.
Estimated price: $2,750

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Leidag 42 Year Old Dúsgadh

Tobacco, leather, coal on the nose—so it’s particularly, uniquely stimulating to the senses. Indeed, you’ll get cinnamon, honey and ginger on the palette, with a long, dry finish. Different.
Estmated price: $3,800

Scottish Whisky Ledaig


The Macallan M 1824 Series

You know that when a distiller describes the nose with words like “velvet sateen,” you’re about to experience something ethereally life-altering. A palette of rich wood spices, cedar and violets leads to a long, rapturous finish. The crystal decanter is a work of art—much like what it holds.
Estimated price: $3,900

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The Last Drop 50 Year Old

It won’t win any prizes for bottle design. But the long maturation in sherry casks produces an incredibly refined smoothness. Just 1,347 bottles were made; and it’s meant for an exceptionally proficient palette, with its unusual pomegranate and cilantro nose, and tasting notes of malt, molasses and, of course, sherry.
Estimated price: $4,000

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The Balvenie 40 Year Old Single Malt

Smokey but sweet, it has hints of honey and spice. Aged in both bourbon and sherry casks. Complex and creamy, with tasting notes of vanilla oak, cinnamon and nutmeg. There are supposedly only 150 bottles in the world, so figure at least $1,500 of the pricetag is pure bragging rights.
Estimated price: $4,500

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The Glenfarclas 60 Year Old (Cask 1672)

Considered a pinnacle, and priced quite accordingly. Notes of espresso, treacle and complex spices. Aged in a single sherry cask. For aesthetes, an absolutely stunning bottle design.
Estimated price: $17,000

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Post Holiday Travel: Drinking Scotch in Edinburgh

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

For total immersion in the culture of Scottish whisky, this exclusive international club sources the finest and the rarest, which can be sipped in its elegant Members’ Rooms – as well as in one of its partner bars from Glasgow to London. Or just pop in to The Dining Room at 28 Queen Street, its highly regarded restaurant (open to non-members), where you can pair the best Scotch with lobster canneloni and twice baked Stilton soufflé.

The Balmoral Hotel

The veritable flagship of the incomparable Rocco Forte hotels group, The Balmoral has hosted everyone from The Stones to Sean Connery to J.K. Rowling. The best rooms have glorious views over Princes Street Gardens to the castle. But you’ll want to spend most of your time settled into a plush sofa in Scotch, the hotel’s classy, dedicated whisky bar with more than 500 on offer.

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Leonard Cohen Tribute: Tiger Tooth’s Fetishy Version of ‘Everybody Knows’

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With Leonard Cohen’s passing last week, we decided to go back into the BlackBook vaults – and here we revisit Tiger Tooth’s provocative 2016 version of his classic, “Everybody Knows,” which we premiered in June.

The Brooklyn trio (Johnny Siera, William Broussard and Sofia Szamosi), whose videos make no secret of their vinyl-Furries-dominatrix inclinations, forwarded a dark, haunted take on the song. Cohen, of course, has always had his own way with a sexual peculiarity or two; so the fetishistic video is hardly a surprise. Szamosi, who acts as Tiger Tooth’s in-house video director, said of her inspiration, “It’s about letting your freak flag fly. My work is often inspired by the weird or freaky parts of ourselves that normally remain hidden.”

 

What could be more fitting?


Clean Bandit Violinist Neil Amin-Smith Steps Down

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Clean Bandit, the English electronic group responsible for such bangers as “Rather Be” and “Tears,” said goodbye to their violinist and keyboardist Neil Amin-Smith, who, in a surprise move, announced he was leaving the band Wednesday morning via Instagram.

In his goodbye post, Amin-Smith thanked a score of individuals, including members of the Clean Bandit team and Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander, with whom Amin-Smith was in a relationship with last year.

“I have decided to leave Clean Bandit,” he wrote in his farewell post. “It was a decision that took me a very long time to reach but it is the right one. So many people have made these last four years quite unbelievable and I am so thankful for it all.”

We’ll miss you, Neil.

Laverne Cox’s Brother M Lamar Explores Race Issues in New Composition

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Photo by M Lamar

As racially charged police brutality runs rampant in America, black voices are louder than ever. In M Lamar’s new composition – for male soprano, piano, and projections – he draws inspiration from the case of Darren Wilson, the white cop who killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager.

“He looked up at me and had the most intense, aggressive face… It looks like a demon,” Wilson said in his grand jury testimony.

Wilson describes himself as a “Negrogothic Devil worshipping free black man in the blues tradition.” Lamar’s The Demon Rising conjures white fantasies of blackness as a superhuman and supernatural, menacing force. It also expresses the black subject’s psychic and mythic evolution.

M Lamar’s The Demon Rising takes place November 5, 8PM at The Kitchen in New York. Tickets are available online.

Lady Gaga Goes Full-Rodeo in New Single ‘A-Yo’

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Lady Gaga continues to dazzle middle America with her Bud Light Dive Bar Tour, which yielded another song off of Joanne today: the cheeky, country-pop single “A-Yo.”

The song comes equipped with the bluesiest, most cowboy-ish lyrics Gaga’s ever written: She opens with “I can’t wait to smoke them all/Whole pack like Marlboro” and goes on to use car references like, “I can’t wait to rev you up/Faster than you can say ‘Ferrari.'” Quite the departure from the “I wanna take a ride on your disco stick” of Gaga’s past.

Mother Monster co-wrote the song with Mark Ronson, BloodPop, and “Girl Crush” scribe Hillary Lindsey.

Take a listen below (you may want to find a cowboy hat and a mug of beer first):

Smithsonian Museum Launches $300K Fundraiser for Dorothy’s Slippers

Actress Judy Garland portrays Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz." (AP Photo)
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The Smithsonian Museum has launched a $300,000 Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the proper restoration of Dorothy’s ruby slippers, according to The Washington Post.

The pair of shoes in possession by the museum, one of at least 5 or 6 pairs used in the movie, are faded and visibly damaged:

“Even to the naked eye the damage is quite obvious: the color has faded and the slippers appear dull and washed-out,” the museum explains in their Kickstarter. “The coating on the sequins that give the shoes their hallmark ruby color is flaking off its gelatin base. Some threads that hold sequins in place have broken.”

But not all of that money will go towards actual repairs. The funds will also aid research in how best to display the shoes for longevity’s sake – i.e. temperature, lighting, and upkeep. The slippers will be a part of Smithsonian’s 2018 exhibition “On With the Show.”

But why so much money?

“Federal appropriations provide the foundation of the Smithsonian’s operating budget and support core functions, such as building operations and maintenance, and safeguarding the collections,” the Kickstarter continues. “Projects like the Ruby Slippers aren’t covered by our federal appropriations.”

Smaller scale donations earn you tote bags and other merchandise from costumer designer William Ivey Long, while offerings over $1K can get you a lunch and private tour with museum curators.

Steal This Look: The Queer Brooklyn Pug

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Illustration by Hilton Dresden

We’re back with another edition of “Steal This Look,” and this time, we’re pulling out all the stops with our gender queer, Brooklyn hipster pug on their way to work, coffee in hand. Wondering how to replicate this iconic dress and oversized-demin look? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Only issue here might be that you aren’t a pug. Unless you are – don’t want to assume anything!

The knee-length collared dress.

Here’s what’s important when looking for the right dress to make this look: it should be collared, with a high neckline that buttons up in an ideal world. Also, let’s not let our hems get too short – we’re wearing this to work. This one from Ted Baker works nicely:

The Oversized Denim:

Things to keep in mind while shopping for an oversized denim: contrast collars, dropped shoulder seams, and a good medium-tone wash. Remember to decorate with broaches. This trucker jacket from Levi’s is a great option:

The Bolo Tie:

Get yourself a good bolo tie. Honestly it’s a shocker you haven’t by now. They sell them on Amazon:

Bowling Shoes:

Top the look off with some bowling shoes – if you can snatch some from a bowling alley that’s wronged you (so you don’t have to feel bad about stealing), that’s ideal.

And there you have it, folks. This fashion upgrade brought to you by pugs everywhere.

McDonald’s Pulls Ronald In Light Of Murderous Clown Trend

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Photo: Flickr via sfxeric

Horror movie writers don’t seem to have to do any work anymore, do they?

After multiple reports have come in of clowns attempting to lure children into the woods of South Carolina, as well as unconfirmed reports of sightings in other states and a stabbing that may have been clown-related, McDonald’s is temporarily pulling their clown mascot, Ronald, from any public appearances.

In a public statement, the franchise said they wished to be “thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald’s participation in community events” thanks to the “current climate around clown sightings in communities.”

While much of the clown craze is likely the product of media hysteria and heresy, the facts stand that in addition to the possible stabbing, several arrests have been made, both of people making false reports and people dressing as creepy clowns and scaring their fellow civilians.

No word on how long Ronald will be on hiatus from his busy press schedule.

Comedy Central Orders 8 Episodes of Musical Mashup Series

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Comedy Central has ordered eight episodes of The Comedy Jam, an unscripted series where comedians talk about songs that have held importance for them and then offer their own renditions of said tunes.

The series previously existed as an hourlong special on Viacom, and featured guests as varied as Jay Pharaoh, Pete Davidson, and Adam Devine, who talked and sang about losing his virginity to Blink-182.

The show is based off of a live event in Los Angeles created by Josh Adam Meyers, who will be producing the show with Ugly Brother Studios.

Comedy Central president Kent Alterman said of the series, “We have been working under the false impression that what comedians want most is to have television and digital platforms to further their comedy careers. It turns out they really just want to be rock stars.”

Take a look at Pete Davidson giving his all to “Gangsta’s Paradise” below.

The Comedy Jam is in talks to air early next year.