The Finest Wines, Spirits, Jewelry & Watches

Overview

More than 100 of the most tasteful ways to celebrate the holiday season.  6 custom-made cocktails from the world's best bartenders.  Plus Bentley's new, big, bold drop-top and very light jets take flight.

From This Issue

Robb Design Portfolio: Golden Glow

Europeans of the 16th and 17th centuries prized amber as much for its oddity as for its beauty: Although it was found on the shores of the Baltic Sea, which remains the world’s main source of the semiprecious material, it would catch fire if flames were applied to it. “Things that came out of the […]

FrontRunners: Screen Star

December will mark the arrival of the Panasonic TH103PZ600U (www.panasonic.com), the world’s largest plasma television. The unit will feature a 103-inch-diagonal screen, about as large as a queen-size mattress. Because the 400-pound, $70,000 system has some 2 million pixels, about twice the number used by smaller screens, the size does not compromise clarity. . . […]

FrontRunners: Perfect Case

In 1945, Arts & Architecture magazine initiated the Case Study House program, which commissioned designs of 36 houses from Charles and Ray Eames, Richard Neutra, Craig Ellwood, and other innovative modern architects. The Pierre Koenig Case Study House #21, a steel-and-glass home constructed in the mid-1950s in the Hollywood Hills, remains one of the more […]

FrontRunners: Easy Listening

A neighborhood could become a friendlier place with the $6,000 James Loudspeaker Landscape Speaker system (www.jamesloudspeaker.com). Place a pair of conventional speakers outside your home, and you probably will need to crank up the volume to hear the sound everywhere you wish, making it uncomfortably loud near the speakers, and inviting phone calls from irritated […]

Home: Range of Motion

“I call it lovers’ spaceship,” says designer Sacha Lakic, referring to one of his latest creations, a streamlined, if not spacecraft-like, three-seat sofa. The Meridienne, as the sofa officially is dubbed, and various chairs, tables, and vertical storage units compose the 42-year-old Frenchman’s Speed Up collection, which the Paris furniture company Roche-Bobois debuted at its […]

Spinning the Color Wheel

For new yorker Samuel Botero, designing an interior is like directing a motion picture. “You analyze a space as you would analyze a story, looking for its center, its soul,” Botero explains. The clients, he says, are the characters, the most important element in the production, and his role involves understanding, sometimes divining, their tastes […]

FrontRunners: Special Cay

For decades, fishermen have been drawn to the waters off Chub Cay (www.chubcay.com), the southernmost of the Bahamas’ Berry Islands, to do battle with billfish. Until a few years ago, the island held little more than an 86-slip marina and an old clubhouse. In 2004, however, boat-show organizer Kaye Pearson and some colleagues purchased the […]

Travel: Bird of Paradise

In the early 1800s, in an attempt to unite the few residents who remained on Rapa Nui after nearly 200 years of tribal wars, the chiefs of the Pacific island inaugurated an annual sporting event known as the birdman race. They selected the finest young athletes from their clans for the competition, in which contestants […]

FrontRunners: Mission Possible

If you wish to propose to your girlfriend on a Himalayan peak, a new organization called Private Luxury Group (www.private-luxury-group.com) will have you both airlifted, along with a 10-carat diamond, to the spot. Similarly, should you desire a last-minute escape to a private villa in Provence, with a limited-edition Rolls-Royce for transport, this also can […]

FrontRunners: Roman Holiday

In ancient Rome, bathing was a communal affair and often the central event in the daily life of the upper class. The recently opened Caesars Palace Las Vegas Qua Baths & Spa (www.caesarspalace.com) immerses patrons in an atmosphere designed to approximate that of the Romans’ thermae. (The Latin word qua translates roughly as here, and […]

FrontRunners: Suite Spot

Visitors to Amsterdam can experience the Old World—the centuries-old canals, the Royal Palace, the van Gogh Museum—but retire to entirely up-to-date accommodations at the Hotel Okura (www.okura.nl). The 315-room hotel recently debuted the Suite, a 5,390-square-foot, butler-tended space with silk-covered walls and marble floors that spans the 17th and 18th floors. It is the largest […]

Taj’s Palatial Properties

  TAJ LAKE PALACE, UDAIPURSet in the center of Lake Pichola in the desert state of Rajasthan, the Taj Lake Palace is like no other hotel in the world. Marigold-laden vessels take guests to and from the hotel, which consists of 83 guest rooms and suites. Activities include sailing in the Gangaur, a replica of […]

Journeys: The Royal Treatment

    The waves of Lake Pichola lap against the side of the Gangaur, a replica of the 18th-century barge that carried Udaipur’s royal Singh family between their City Palace on the eastern shore and Lake Palace in the middle of Pichola. The Gangaur glows in the afternoon sun, its dazzling red sails, heavily threaded […]

Contributors: For Cigars and Jets, Lighter Can Be Better

Stagnation is the bane of cigar makers, just as it is for fashion designers and winemakers, says Robb Report cigars (and home entertainment) editor Brent Butterworth, who collaborated with contributing writer Richard Carleton Hacker to review some of the best new tobacco blends for “Cigars: From Morning to Midnight”, part of our 2006 Holiday Host […]

FrontRunners: Corkscrews & Champagne

Without doubt, the warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) is ugly. Its tusks, which typically reach about 7 inches, do nothing to enhance its appearance, but they can be quite useful when the animal is facing a combatant. In settings more refined than the creature’s native African savanna, the tusks provide a prized material for knife handles, egg […]

FrontRunners: The Good Word

Andrew Carmellini, who has enjoyed stellar stints at Café Boulud and Le Cirque 2000 and garnered a James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef award, now is operating his own Manhattan restaurant, A Voce (www.avocerestaurant.com). The design of the restaurant, whose Italian name translates as “word of mouth,” does not conjure up images of Italy. But […]

Art: Jade Parade

When Alan and Simone Hartman view an antique Chinese jade carving, they consider what the stone looked like in its original state and how the artist chose to transform it. “[The carver] might analyze it for several weeks or months before deciding how to shape it,” says 76-year-old Alan. The jade collection that Alan began […]

Dining: Chanterelle Ace

Something in the distance, something his charges’ untrained eyes fail to detect, prompts Chuck Bancroft to make a beeline to an oak tree. Clad in jeans and a plaid jacket, Bancroft walks in long strides toward the tree, swinging his basket with each step. When he arrives, he drops to his knees, pulls out a […]

Collectibles: Piece Maker

Steve Richardson, a designer of wooden jigsaw puzzles, says he has a sadomasochistic relationship with his customers, who pay hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars to indulge in the tortures that he devises. Richardson engineers each piece for maximum frustration; false corners, false edges, irregular edges, and artful gaps (called dropouts) are common, as are fanciful […]

FrontRunners: A Cut Above

Most cigar connoisseurs use a guillotine cutter for their smokes, but some prefer a V-cutter (which leaves a slash across the cigar’s tip) or a punch cutter (which produces a shallow, concentric cut). For those who host cigar- smoking guests with various preferences, Altadis USA (www.altadisusa.com) offers the Cigar Savor tabletop cigar cutter, a single […]

Back Page: Fish Stories

Caviar is an acquired taste that Robb Report has long savored. We published our first story on the delicacy in January 1983 (“Caviar: Tastes of Elegance”) and have covered it many times since: in September 1992 (“Unscrambling the Myth and Mystery of Caviar”), June 1999 (“A Movable Feast”), January 2000 (“The Sushi Sequel”), and August […]

Leisure: A Matter of Taste

Didier Durand became an outlaw on August 22. Chicago law deemed it illegal as of that date for restaurants to serve foie gras, yet the chef and owner of Cyrano’s Bistrot & Wine Bar, a 10-year-old French restaurant in the city’s River North section, continued to offer the delicacy to his patrons. Chicago Alderman Joe […]

Sport: Mountain High, River Wide

Skiing Le Massif, situated about an hour’s drive northeast of Quebec City, can be a disorienting experience. Because the main lodge and the parking lot are at the top of the mountain, you begin your first run before your first lift ride, and you do so with a view of what appears to be open […]

FrontRunners: Royal Tee

Golf trails have become as commonplace as wine trails, but no other U.S. golfing route has the pedigree of the Kings’ Golf Trail on the Big Island of Hawaii. The path’s six spectacular layouts—the Mauna Kea and Hapuna Beach Prince at the Mauna Kea Resort (www.princeresortshawaii.com), the Francis H. I‘i Brown North and South Courses […]

Getting Medieval

A traveler visiting Siena, Italy, for only the day of the Palio would see little more than a horse race. To be precise, he would see a long, slow, colorful parade of elaborately costumed men and boys followed by 10 jockey-ridden horses running three short, frantic, and dangerous laps around the Piazza del Campo, the […]

Jewelry: Rare Vintage

The tiny Stephen Russell boutique on New York’s Upper East Side is a destination for those seeking extremely rare period jewelry, though its treasures are anything but antiquated. “This doesn’t look like old-lady jewelry,” asserts co-owner Russell Zelenetz, as his partner Stephen Feuerman unveils a recently acquired 1912 Boucheron choker with diamonds that cascade down […]

Feature: Rock-Solid Advisers

Like an art expert advising on the acquisition of a masterpiece, a jewelry consultant will educate you about the quality, rarity, and value of a particular gemstone, or help you find an antique piece or contemporary design that suits the wearer’s taste or exemplifies that person’s sense of style. PARICIA HAMBRECHT Hambrecht relishes the hunt […]

Watches: Double Trouble

Pierre Koukjian, owner of the 3-year-old deLaCour watch company, claims he has been working these last few years toward one goal: building the BiTourbillon, an ultrawide behemoth with two side-by-side tourbillons. However, as a trained interior designer, painter, sculptor, and jeweler, Koukjian was better equipped to design the watch’s flamboyant exterior than to address its […]

FrontRunners: Hands Off

In 1912, Louis Cartier collaborated with clock maker Maurice Couet to fashion the first Mystery clock, one of Cartier’s most coveted objets d’art. The futuristic design creates the illusion that the clock’s hands are floating in space, unattached to any movement. This year the company unveiled its Cartier Santos Mystérieuse wristwatch (www.cartier.com), part of the […]

FrontRunners: Wrapped in an Enigma

Certainly, the Different Company (www.thedifferentcompany.com) has done justice to its name with its fragrance holders made of exotic leathers. The coverings in crocodile, ostrich, lizard, and other skins wrap snugly around the Paris firm’s rectangular, 250-milliliter bottles, which hold unisex scents that include Sel de Vetiver, Bois d’Iris, Osmanthus, and Jasmin de Nuit. Customization options […]

Wardrobe: Material Best

The only thing better than wearing a coat made from the finest material is wearing such a coat that has been custom-made for you. Ten years ago, I arrived in Paris during an unexpected cold snap, and so I went shopping for an overcoat. The expedition led me to Hugo Boss, where a salesman draped […]

Precision Guidance Systems

Looking at the Richard Lange watch, the most prominent new timepiece from German maker A. Lange & Söhne, you would never imagine that its movement’s regulating organ is the product of 12 years of development and one of the few in the industry that is made completely in-house. The watch does not flaunt elaborate subdials […]

Through the Looking Glass

In the art world, each new movement emerges as a revolution against the existing culture: Impressionism supplanted realism, streamlined Art Deco superseded romantic Art Nouveau. Similarly, in the realm of Swiss watchmaking, avant-garde designs—which not only break form aesthetically but also claim to heighten performance—are overriding more traditional shapes and technical elements. The establishment initially […]

Pearl Essence

Even when abetted by the most advanced pearl-farming methods, an oyster’s chances of producing a high-quality South Sea pearl are no better than about 200 to 1. The Paspaley pearl farms, located predominantly in the Indian Ocean off of northern Australia, are a leading source for these lustrous, large, round, creamy-colored, and flawlessly complexioned specimens, […]

Time: Pièce de Résistance

Exploring the factories of the most prominent Swiss watchmakers requires an invitation, but even if they do open their doors, you may never see what really makes them tick. Though I had visited Vacheron Constantin’s suburban Geneva manufacturing facility before, I eagerly accepted a recent invitation to accompany acclaimed chef Eric Ripert on a tour. […]

Style: Bang for the Buckle

John Winston, an artist who prefers to go by simply Winston, recently carved a 391-carat chunk of turquoise into the shape of an American bald eagle. The piece is an impressive example of his work, which involves carving depictions of wildlife or Native Americans from pieces of rough turquoise, mother-of-pearl, and other gemstones and minerals. […]

Wheels: Blue Skies Ahead

Among the millions of tales concerning the Emerald Isle is the one about the Aer Lingus captain, who, upon his airliner’s approach to Shannon Airport, advised the passengers, “We will shortly be landing in the Republic of Ireland. For the local time, please set your watches back two centuries.”   The tale is not exactly […]

FrontRunners: Sea Bird

Chub Cay is one suitable destination for the Seawind 300C amphibian plane (www.seawind.biz). Seawind, which currently is flight-testing the plane, reports that the aircraft operates on the water just as easily as it does on land and reaches a maximum speed of 200 mph in the air, 40 mph faster on average than other amphibian […]

Aviation: Private Party

Over Kansas, on the way from New York to Los Angeles, the hip-hop mogul realized that the jet had run out of vodka. He ventured that a stop in Las Vegas was in order, and the other luminaries on the flight agreed. We touched down, and immediately two twentysomethings dashed across the runway toward the […]

Boating: In All Her Glory

The crew members of Cambria responded most graciously when Lulworth prevailed over their yacht to take second place in the Big Boats category during this summer’s Argentario Sailing Week off Italy’s Port Santo Stefano. The Cambria sailors clapped their hands, saluting their adversary’s performance and the effort that had gone into resurrecting Lulworth, a yacht […]

Light Speed

Finally—after years of design and R&D, missed deadlines, and revised timetables—very light jets (VLJs) soon will reach customers. More than a half-dozen companies are building these zippy aircraft, which feature efficient and reliable turbine engines, modern avionics, and prices that are roughly half those of the smallest jets currently available. They will fly from New […]

2006 Holiday Host Guide: Vintage Gifts

The holidays have always served as milestones by which we mark the passing years. Our memories of successive Thanksgivings, Hanukkahs, and Christmases—the gatherings, the candlelight, the thoughtful (and thoughtless) gifts, not to mention the bouts of indigestion and, if we have celebrated properly, the hangovers—trace a priceless mental path from our present to our childhood […]

2006 Holiday Host Guide: Bash Points: Where’s the Party?

Because of the ephemeral nature of novelty and the vagaries of fashionability, it seems there is no place so ghoulish or grand, none so ordinary or monumental that it cannot enjoy at least a passing vogue as a party venue. Here are some of our favorite places to party.   Canvassing the Desert Few party […]

2006 Holiday Host Guide: Bash Points

Becca Cason Thrash is hosting a party tonight at her Houston mansion, and everyone who is anyone is here. Becca and her husband, John, are famous for having the most fashionable guests at their home, and it is the perfect place for a party. It includes a kitchen that is spacious enough for a small […]

2006 Holiday Host Guide: Crystal Persuasion

A group of 27 glasses, arranged in three rows of nine, sits before each of 15 panelists in a hotel dining room in the Austrian Alps. Broad-bellied snifters, slender flutes, dainty tulips with flared lips, and stemless glasses with straight bowls, all containing precisely one ounce of 23-year-old rum, collectively emit a sweet, alcoholic aroma […]

2006 Holiday Host Guide: Spirited Celebrations

The problem (among countless many) with the holidays is that they are too brief: By the time one has sufficiently recovered from the trauma brought on by the logistical challenges inherent in the massive responsibilities that beset one between the fourth Thursday of November and the first day of the New Year, the season has […]

2006 Holiday Host Guide: Original Blend

The crowd at Polo Lounge is sparse on a Monday at 10 am; only three customers are seated at the Beverly Hills establishment’s bar, where Matt Martinez—freshly scrubbed and smartly dressed in a dark suit, crisp white shirt, and gold necktie—meticulously arranges a cocktail shaker, a stainless steel strainer, and a wooden muddle on a […]

Precision Guidance Systems: Heart Murmurs

Despite the apparent complexity of the mechanisms, the principle behind the balance wheel and escapement, which are visible on most watches with a transparent sapphire back, is fairly simple. Like the pendulum in a grandfather clock, which keeps time by swinging back and forth, the balance wheel—the large, usually yellow metal wheel positioned toward the […]

Light Speed: Fares and Shares

As very light jets enter production, first in line for many of them are air-taxi (also called air-limo) operators hoping to offer new ways to make business travel easier. As soon as it begins receiving the first of the 309 Eclipse 500s that it has on order, DayJet of Delray Beach, Fla., will start offering […]

From The Editors: The Science of Mixology

What was not to love about a job in which your patrons’ requests could include sex, screws, and orgasms; and upon receipt of these, customers would offer generous gratuities if you had dispensed enough charm while fulfilling their desires? It was the 1980s, and this gig promised to be exciting and lucrative. And contrary to […]