by Jim Rokos October 04, 2023
The sense of smell is the most important sense in the perception of a wine. Le Nez du Vin contains a collection of 54 aromas set into a red case, accompanied by a book.
They allow you to train your olfactory memory. Each odour may be found in a bottle of wine, and by training the nose to recognise these notes individually, a more refined appreciation is developed because one learns to pick out and identify a range of scents in the wine.
It is fun to bring along to a close friend’s small dinner gathering to blind smell each of the little bottles in turn and to try and guess what each represents.
The box includes fruity notes (e.g. lemon, strawberry, apricot), floral notes (hawthorn, violet, rose etc.) vegetal and spicy notes (truffle, liquorice, cut hay…), animal notes (leather, musk and butter) and roasted notes (like toast, caramel and chocolate).
Smaller formats are available - red wine, white wine and intriguingly, Wine Faults, which includes rotten apple, vinegar, glue, soap, sulphur, rotten egg, onion, cauliflower, horse, mouldy-earthy and most importantly, corked wine.
Aromas are guaranteed for 5 years.
A gift for the wine connoisseur.
Éditions Jean Lenoir
Recycled Sterling Silver. Handmade in Berlin, Germany. (Also available in 18kt Gold Vermeil.)
These collections do not require piercings. Some of the pieces – particularly the earrings – must have presented a difficult problem for the designers to solve. How to attach these pieces securely to the body without the aid of a hole in the body, nor a separate part on each piece of jewellery? However, their solutions elegantly enable the wearer to fit them safely. Whilst the RENEE Distal Ring is simple enough to fit onto a finger, some of the earrings also present a joyful puzzle for the wearer to solve when they try them on for the first time.
This ring’s extended tip covers your own nail, and it will earn its keep by saving you visits to the nail salon . . .
A gift for that special occasion.
RÄTHEL & WOLF
Give Tom the location of a landscape that is special to you and he will carve the contours into a bespoke box made from English oak. A silver pin is embedded into the wood to mark the specific location of significance.
Your specific piece of topography is reproduced in miniature using digital map data. Locations of choice may be houses, hiking routes or any location that is special to you. Each box may be engraved inside the lid with a personal message, property name or simply the coordinates of the location. Finishes can be natural wood (request matt), gilded silver or 24 carat gold.
Tom Aylwin Contour Boxes
Glazed porcelain. Hand thrown in Wimbledon, London, England.
The Miniature series come in three sizes, large, medium and small which range from around 22 to 57mm. The pricing is interesting in that it would appear to cause more difficulty for the maker to throw the smaller pieces, yet the pricing increases as the sizes get larger. The appeal of these is that they are tiny, so the small format is suggested.
With handmade goose-feather wings.
The German industrial designer was nicknamed the ‘poet of light’. Lucellino is a play on words - a combination of the Italian words “uccellino” (little bird) and “luce” (light). It is a design icon. A touch sensitive version is a recent addition to the range.
Ingo Maurer Shop
Cast Iron resin, steel and motor. Manufactured by Laikingland in the UK. Each piece is individually numbered.
This cast of the sculptor’s own hand endlessly drums its cast iron resin fingers on the table (until the two AA Batteries (not included) run out).
Fine Bone China. Made in Stoke-on-Trent, England.
The familiar characters may wear sunglasses or play an electric guitar, giving the growing range a modern take on Wonderland.
Borosilicate. Handmade in USA.
The Klein bottle is a mathematical object. They say that for topological reasons its existence is impossible in our three dimensional world, but astronomer, famous computer hacker hunter and ‘Chief Bottle Washer’ of Acme Klein Bottle, Cliff Stoll has designed a very good model that is available to buy through his website. A Klein bottle is topologically interesting because it has only one side, no edges and if you were to cut it along its line of symmetry, you would turn it into two Möbius Strips. The bottle comes with lots of humorously explained mathematical trivia.
The buying experience is both personal and eccentric. Cliff will email you several selfies where he is stood in his garden in Oakland, California, holding the actual bottle that he is going to send you. Instead of fragile tape, the box arrives with a hand drawing by Cliff, of a sad looking broken Klein bottle which hopefully gains the sympathies of an otherwise would be clumsy courier. In any case, Acme guarantees safe arrival of the bottle.
The perfect gift for a mathematician or computer scientist.
ACME Klein Bottle
Both Italian sculptors would sometimes include a veil on their subject's face. Being of solid marble, the sculptor cannot carve a transparent veil that shows the face behind, so the wearer's face is interspersed with the veil detail, which artfully gives the illusion that the veil is transparent. The marble's translucency aids the effect. I normally follow the Bauhaus manifesto of truth to materials, but the marble's masquerade is so beautiful here that I willingly make an exception. Castings of copies are often available across the internet. (Each listing is fleeting which is why I have not included a link.) One can also request the auction houses to advise if an original (or at least a more ‘authentic’ copy) becomes available.
9 carat solid gold. Handcrafted at her studio in London’s Jewellery Quarter, Hatton Garden.
You will die. This is unlikely to be news, however, the reason that it might feel somewhat unwelcome to be reminded of (apart from being something rarely raised in a gift guide) might be because although we already know this, it can merely be on a conceptual level, rather than as an idea that we work with day to day. The cause of the difficulty in truly knowing of our end might be evolutionary. Throughout the ages, our ancestors have put in a great deal of effort into not dying, and a deep awareness that everyone has failed (so far) perhaps demotivates our efforts to survive and is counterproductive to the continuation of our species. It seems that everyone gets on much better by burying this knowledge. However, contrary to the millions of years of evolution that it took to develop this level of denial, the philosophers of classical antiquity thought it would be a good idea to unearth our awareness of this, and so introduced the trope ‘Memento mori’ (Latin for 'remember that you die'), which went on to become a theme in paintings in the form of a skull, hourglass, an extinguished (or burning) candle, or a single flower. The thinking behind their bright idea may have been that the knowing of one’s mortality helps us to appreciate our time more, perhaps in the same way that an artist increases value by creating scarcity, by making a work a limited edition.
If this sounds helpful, an ‘In Death Love Survives’ Fede Skull Ring could be the gift that you are seeking.
To avoid offence to others who may be less keen on facing their mortality, or perhaps to accommodate moments of denial in the wearer; when worn on a finger, we see a pair of clasped hands which when the ring is removed, may be pulled apart to reveal the skull.
14k, 18k Yellow, Rose, White gold and gold are also available - ask Momo (it is good to address her ‘Momo of the Horror’).
Ideally, for diplomatic reasons, for a recipient who is younger than the giver. Or being part of Momo’s In Death Love Survives collection, a gift for a romantic partner.
If the receiver may not yet be ready to face death, Momo also makes a ‘Nearly Dead’ rabbit who has become entangled by beautiful flower bushes in the forest. Silver necklace, made to order.
Black Suede Jewelled Buckle Loafers featuring grosgrain ribbon and trim, finished with a square crystal buckle.
Calf suede, cow and kid leather. Made in Italy.
For your dog. A canine’s ability to freely go outside when nature calls should not be hampered by your apathy for tying shoelaces.
Manolo Blahnik International Limited
. . . we would also advise the use of a shoehorn -
Walnut, maple or cherry.
From Mikiya Kobayashi's Kime range in collaboration with Dreamy Person, Kime is the Japanese word for texture or wood grain.
The shoehorn is carved from a solid piece of wood by craftsmen from Asahikawa (on the island of Hokkaido), which is the leading centre for the production of wood furniture in Japan. Wood comes from native trees which are abundant in the surrounding Taisetsu mountain range. This shoehorn is long enough to be used when standing upright. Gift wrapping is included by request. You may have your dog’s name (or anything else) engraved at ¥1100 yen.
Mouthblown from borosilicate tube in batches of 20.
This decanter tells a drinking story. It may sit in three positions. As the wine is consumed, the decanter may be repositioned at a more daring angle, as though it is getting drunk on behalf of the drinkers. This play encourages oxygen into the liquid which opens up the wine’s flavours. I suggest the 0.75 litre size because the body fits easily into one hand. As a more sculptural piece, the magnum has more presence. Personalisation by engraving is possible. One of my own designs.
Can be worn smart or casual in the city. The milliner very kindly mended my own cap after my dog had chewed a hole in the brim. Like the hats worn in Peaky Blinders. (Razor not included.)
Lock & Co.
Soft knitted cashmere.
For her, a trip to London (she can change it for something else if a Bakerboy Cap is not the thing). Established in 1676, Lock and Co. Hatters is the oldest shop in London, the oldest hat shop in the world, and one of the oldest family-owned businesses still running. It is an easy Oddjob hat’s throw from Saint James’ Palace. Women’s hats are on the first floor. It is a joy to see them.
Borosilicate glass (the same type of heat-withstanding glass as Pyrex).
This wine glass includes a bulb above the goblet which holds a reservoir of wine so that as the wine is consumed from the glass’s bowl, it is replaced by the wine stored above. This glass is part of the permanent collection of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. A fascinating and puzzling object.