BRENT BUTTERWORTH

Connoisseur’s Guide to Home Theater Systems

Most of today’s advanced home theater systems are designed and built by custom electronics installation firms. Such a firm can, if asked, provide a turnkey home theater with little involvement on the homeowner’s part. However, great home theaters are usually the result of close collaboration between the custom installation firm and the client. The budding […]

Home Entertainment: Central Intelligence

If it is not the valedictorian of the latest class of smart phones, then Apple’s iPhone is at least the most popular, and, accordingly, its capabilities are well publicized and well ?documented. Essentially, with its Internet and e-mail functions, the device enables you to remain connected to the world when you are away from your […]

2008 Holiday Host Guide: Leaf Changes

The fancies of high-fashion designers—as expressed in the creations that populate the runways of Paris, Milan, and New York—represent more than simply the latest in practical protection from the elements; they are social snapshots that capture the cultural mood of the moment. Simplicity might reign one season, complexity the next. Although cigar making ranks among […]

Leisure: Eternal Flame

Cigar-making has changed little in the past 150 years. It remains, for the most part, a conservative industry. But even the more staid brands seem as fast-moving as Silicon Valley startups when compared with Padrón Cigars. While most cigar manufacturers introduce at least a couple of fresh formulations each year, new Padrón blends arrive about […]

Smoke: Pride and Prejudice

When asked about the origins of the gorgeous, ebony-shaded maduro wrapper on his company’s latest cigar, the marketing director hesitantly answers, “San Andrés.” “Oh, it’s Mexican,” the reporter responds. “We prefer to call it San Andrés,” the marketing director insists. This exchange will surprise no one in the cigar industry. The San Andrés Valley in […]

Home Entertainment: House Music

Digital technology has transformed the home recording studio as completely as it has refashioned photography and communications. Only 15 years ago, most in-home studios relied on mixing boards as bulky as billiard tables and multitrack tape machines the size of Smart cars. Now, a single computer can perform all of these machines’ functions and many […]

Home Electronics: Listen Up

Headphones offer certain advantages over conventional speakers. They provide a private environment where the listener can play music at any desired volume, without disturbing others. They are unaffected by room acoustics and do not require powerful amplification. But they are not without drawbacks. For instance, enthusiasts consider the earbuds that Apple provides with its iPod […]

Smoke: Under the Volcano

One might be forgiven for reflexively recoiling from any brand of Hawaiian cigar. After all, the souvenir sticks found in the islands’ gift shops are made—somewhere other than Hawaii—from scrap tobacco of various origins that has been fouled with artificial coffee or macadamia-nut flavoring. But those cigars, save for being sold in Hawaii, have nothing […]

Best of the Best 2008: Cigars

Although zino cigars are typically made in Honduras, the Platinum Scepter Series is handcrafted by Davidoff master blender Hendrik Kelner in his Tabadom factory in the Dominican Republic. The new, limited Zino Platinum Scepter Series Master Edition 2007 (www.zinoplatinum.com, $13 each) has a flavor that is at once spicy and aromatic, the result of a […]

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