Wednesday, April 30, 2014

South Australian Winery Penfolds Has Released The Most Expensive Wine In The World


On June 29 in Moscow, Penfolds told the world the best seal for wine is glass. They didn’t say it in so many words. But that’s the message dramatically delivered in twelve $168,000 glass ampoules of Penfolds Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon 2004. Yes, just 12 for the whole world.  And the problem for Penfolds will be allocating them, not selling them.
The price tag, quality of product, originality of the idea and launch at Moscow’s Pushkin Restaurant (with a run of legendary old Penfolds reds lavished on the guests) ignited huge global publicity.


Behind the cleverly executed campaign, lies years of thinking by winemaker Peter Gago about the best way to seal wine intended for decades or even centuries of cellaring.
By the 2004 vintage Penfolds had adopted screw caps for all its reds except Grange. And in a 2007 interview, Gago told me why not, “‘With Grange we’re talking about people cellaring it for thirty to fifty years. We’ve had trials for ten years, but we’ve got our fingers crossed that these wines will still be good in four or five decades. It’s the integrity of the seal, not ageing that’s of concern”.


He explained that while we knew screw cap seals kept white wines perfectly for thirty years, the chemistry of red wine is different and we simply don’t know for certain whether the seal will last.
He recalled working with well-known sparkling-wine maker, Ed Carr, at the company’s sparkling cellars. They observed how crown seals on sparkling red wines often deteriorated where those for sparkling whites didn’t.
Gago believed a glass-to-glass seal presented the best solution as there’d be nothing to corrode – no perishable material like cork, the tin or polymer coated material in screw caps or the silicon o-ring of the glass Vino-Lok.
Indeed, Penfolds had already engaged an engineer to develop a prototype – a glass disc held in place with a spring-loaded clamp.
Two years later Gago told me they’d developed a second prototype, “a pseudo screw cap” holding a glass disc in place, and had tested both on the 2006 vintage Grange.  He said he’d like to take it to the next level, but that would require money – an unlikely outcome at the time as parent company Foster’s struggled with its wine division.
During both the 2007 and 2009 interviews, Gago discussed the concept of a “time capsule” – a wine sealed in a continuum of glass, capable of cellaring for centuries. That’s the dream that became a reality in the recently released ampoule.
Gago calls the ampoule project and the earlier glass-to-glass trials “parallel pursuits” – separate but interrelated. He hopes that success of the radical new ampoule might spark enthusiasm for glass seals within in the company. All it needs now is money, and imagination.
It presents a golden opportunity for Penfolds new managing director, Gary Burnand, to make his mark on the company and, indeed, on the entire wine world. The ampoule gave us the first ever perfectly-sealed wine. By supporting Gago’s glass-to-glass concept he could usher in the most radical technological change since the invention of the glass bottle.

Kalimna vineyard, Block 42


In the nineteenth century, this northern Barossa site provided firewood for D.J. Fowler and company. In the 1880s, precise date unknown, George Fowler planted and named the Kalimna vineyard. Penfolds bought it in 1945 and its fruit subsequently starred in many of the company’s greatest reds – including blended wines like Grange and several notable cabernets sourced only from Block 42. These include Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon 1948, Grange Cabernet Sauvignon 1953 and the first Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon (1964).
Winemaker Peter Gago rates Grange cabernet 1953 slightly ahead of Grange Hermitage 1953, in his view the best Grange ever made.
Gago says the low-yielding Block 42 produces extraordinary wine in some vintages. In the most recent outstanding vintages, 1996 and 2004, Penfolds released cabernet under the Kalimna Block 42 name. The wines tend to fetch $500–$600. The ampoules contain the 2004 vintage. Penfolds believes the venerable old vines on Block 42 to be the oldest continuously producing cabernet sauvignon in the world.

What you get for $168,000




  • 750ml of Penfolds Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet 2004 in a glass ampoule, designed and hand-blown by glass artist Nick Mount.
  • A grey and ruby coloured glass plumb-bob, designed and hand-blown by Nick Mount. The plumb-bob suspends the ampoule in its Jarrah cabinet.
  • Jarrah cabinet designed and made by furniture craftsman, Hendrik Foster.
  • Precious metal details designed and made by Hendrik Forster.
  • A Penfolds winemaker will travel anywhere in the world to open the wine using one of two purpose made tungsten tipped devices to cut and snap the glass tip of the ampoule.



Penfolds produced 12 sets of ampoules for the world market. One remains in the company’s museum cellar at Magill, Adelaide. One is to appear at an event in Singapore next year, but exactly how isn’t clear. The remaining ten are up for grabs as I write. Penfolds also produced and is retaining in its Magill cellar an additional stand-alone ampoule of Kalimna Block 42 2004, without the plumb-bob, precious metal trappings or timber case.

Penfolds Managing Director, Gary Burnand, says retailers and private collectors around the world want the ampoules. Allocating them could take all the diplomacy in the world.









The Blackwings Pencil: The Most Luxurious In The World


Some of the most prestigious recipients of the Academy, Pulitzer, Emmy and Grammy awards have relied upon one writing instrument to create their works of art—the Blackwing pencil.  Known as the pencil of choice for award-winning creative individuals, the Blackwing inspired legends such as John Steinbeck, Leonard Bernstein, and Animation Director Chuck Jones who used the Blackwing exclusively to create such well-known characters as Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote, etc.


The origin of this pencil dates back to the 1930’s when it was first launched by Eberhard Faber.  It remained popular throughout the decades, but ceased production in the late 1990’s when the machine that created the distinctive square ferrule (the crimped metal part that holds the eraser) broke and could not be repaired.  When the pencil disappeared, fans began paying as much as $40 on eBay for a single Blackwing.


They asked Northern California-based Palomino founder and CEO Charles Berolzheimer, whose family’s roots in the pencil industry date back to the mid-19th century, to bring it back, which he did. Now, the Blackwing has been resurrected for a new generation of creative minds.
Not only did Palomino figure out how to manufacture a new ferrule, but they produced several versions of the Blackwing: the soft PalominoBlackwing (matte black finish), the firm Blackwing 602 (steel grey), and the brand new balanced and elegant Blackwing Pearl (white). The pencil’s square ferrule not only gives it a unique, high-end look, it allows you to replace its eraser after extensive use or customize your pencil by choosing your own eraser color (available in white, pink, black, green, orange and blue).


Renowned as one of the finest writing instruments in the world, Blackwing has long been famous for the quality of its graphite, iconic shape, replaceable eraser, and the famous folks whose works it has inspired. Now it’s inspiring a new generation to fall back in love with the pencil. And to accompany their pencils, Palomino has now launched an innovative range of sketchbooks, folios and luxury notebooks that offer the same great quality in a variety of products.



Blackwing products are available on Pencils.com. Blackwing pencils are available in a 12-Pack Box for $19.95. Or, for the holidays, The Palomino Blackwing Special Edition Gift Set includes 24 Blackwing pencils and a Blackwing Long Point Sharpener in a special edition wood case, hand-crafted in France ($129.95). Replacement erasers are $2.95 per 10-pack. Notebooks range in price from $16.95 – $99.




Bentley And Pankhurst London Team Up To Create Bespoke Barber Chairs For Grooming In Style


What would you say about receiving the feeling of sitting inside one of the most luxurious cars in the world while enjoying a fine grooming?? We bet that some of the local male community in the Middle East would be really thrilled on the idea of taking the feeling of sitting in their luxury super car even in the barber shop!



Bentley and luxury brand, Pankhurst have teamed up for the 6 bespoken barber chairs, which have the same level of marque and materials one would see on the interior of most Bentley models. Unveiled in London, this series of special chairs have been worked on by craftsman from Bentley at the Company’s headquarters, and from the looks of it, make the perfect style statement which will grab eyeballs of uber-wealthy buyers.



These chairs bring together 2 of the best known luxury brands, in the genre of car making and lifestyle. With 8 hides of leather trimmings used, these chairs have several redesigned parts in it’s structure, apart from the masterclass embroidery from Bentley and Pankhurst. These chairs were made by grafting in new wood into the structure of the chairs, and replacing the traditional ashtray. The headrest have been made with foam shaped perfectly by hand, and the color combination of stitching and leather tones have been brought about via the joint consultation of the teams from the 2 luxury brands.


Bentley is known for fitting in many handcrafted components in it’s vehicles, similarly, these 6 special edition chairs have followed the same route, the route to perfection!




The Limited Edition Cohiba “Behike” Cigar box!


The world’s most expensive cigar: limited edition Cohiba ‘Behike’ cigar. Priced at $18,846 for a box of 40, or $420 for each is here. These cigars have been prepared with a special blend of Cuban tobacco, which itself is a secret like most of the fine variety in this segment.


Apart from the rare breed of tobacco that has been used in this line, it has also been revealed that each of the cigars has actually been rolled by hand; hence craftsmanship does indeed come into the picture more than once. The container of these fine cigars is also something unique, as they are mini-humidifiers, which keep alive the delicate elements of the flavor of the rare tobacco blend. With each stick 192mm in length, one can obviously hope for a long and rather optimum level of cigar smoking experience.


The fine limited edition box is made of out ebony wood and skate skins and bones.


The total number of cigars of this particular edition shall be limited to only 4,000, meaning that stocks might not last too long. So connoisseurs are definitely advised to rush in their orders.



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Maserati Lounge Chair By Zanotta


Though Maserati has been keeping it’s brand loyalists busy with luxurious 4-wheeled creations like the 2014 Ghibli sports sedan, and the 2013 Quattroporte, at the International Furniture Fair 2013, they will vowing everyone with designer furniture. They have showcased the brand via the limited edition Maserati Lounge Chair by Zanotta, which comes with the designing finesse from the duo of Ludovica and Roberto Palomba.


Their aim in mind was to recreate the exclusivity, comfort, sophistication, and luxury factor of Quattroporte model with this limited-edition lounge chair, which will be on display in Milan till the 14th of this April. How much they actually sell for, will perhaps be revealed only after the event in Milan.
The Maserati Lounge Chair bears a very strong relationship with the original auto brand it was targeted at.



The chrome-nickel plated stainless-steel base which also comes with a black polished finishing, supports the high-resistance polyurethane filling and DacronDu Pont padding.


The quilted texture above is credited to the use of Extra99 Zanotta leather, which can be availed dark gray shade with light borders, or options such as mud-colored leather with light gray border, and light gray leather with mud-colored border. The origins of the construction technique, named ‘Capitonne’, is placed around the year 1800, the tradition of which has been followed for this furniture as well.



On the whole, one can conclude that much of the Quattroporte has been built into this furniture DNA, along with adherence to the standards set by Zanotta. To cut the long story short, it’s about bringing the 2 luxury brands on the same platform, but with creative standards of a high level. From the gatherings of the designing duo of Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, they have created a piece of furniture which interprets the Maserati car model into this collectible chair.





Bulgarian Interior Designer Creates F1-Themed Lounge Chair – Perfect Seat for the Formula 1 Fan


Ever get tired of sitting in those abhorrently uncomfortable sofas that are sold at local flea markets? Not only are they prickly and bumpy, but chances, if you do have one of those kinds of sofas, then they probably aren’t as pleasant-looking either.


If you answered ‘yes’ to our little pop question, then this F1-themed lounge chair designed by Bulgarian interior designer Alexander Christoff just might be the answer to your comfort and aesthetic needs.


Made from ergonomically molded fiberglass with chrome legs with an upholstered adjustable head rest to boot, this chair is fit for just about any comfort-seeking, design-conscious, chair lover in the world. But there is a catch, as is always the case when something this cool is advertised.


As of the moment, the chairs aren’t available anywhere yet. But if the public response to them are as positive as we expect them to be, then you might just be able to find one of these being sold somewhere over the Internet in the near future.



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