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Here's something for the cosmopolitan globetrotter, specially crafted by one of the coolest designers around.

     Print Edition: December 12, 2010

Vodka goes globe-trotting
Here's something for the cosmopolitan globetrotter, specially crafted by one of the coolest designers around

If you're the type whose Louis Vuittons are always packed and ready for that midnight flight into th horizon, Absolut has got just the drink for you. Absolut Watkins celebrates exotic flavours from the world over, so expect a wonder-vodka steeped in the taste of freshly ground coffee along with notes of almond, chilli and caramel. The latest in the Absolut Art series, this limited edition bottle will be launched in retail markets and global duty-free stores in January 2011. The bottle has been created by Swedish fashion illustrator and artist Liselotte Watkins, who has designed for fashion brands such as Miu Miu, Anna Sui and Barney's, and done illustrations for The New Yorker and Vogue, among others. Watkins calls the bottle her tribute to cosmopolitan glamour. "With my bottle decor and the campaign imagery, I wanted to convey something of my own vision regarding the archetype of cosmopolitan glamour. The flavour is a traveller's exclusive," she says. Fittingly, the limited edition was launched at an extravagant party at the recent World Exhibition in Cannes of the TFWA, which is the world's biggest duty free and travel retail association. Gorgeous sets and extras were employed by Absolut to imbue the launch with a sense of the timeless glamour that marks luxury travel.

A hundred-year-old bottling shows up
It doesn't get more exclusive than this. Imagine 10 bottles filled to the brim with an exquisitely-aged, shimmering bronze cognac taken from a single wooden casket. More importantly, a cognac that was distilled prior to World War I and has been stored in a cellar for more than a century. The new offering comes from Pierre Ferrand, one of the few houses that specialise in old cognacs from the Grande Champagne region that are not blended with lesser varieties. Bottled in a numbered crystal carafe, only 10 units of L'Hommage de Pierre Ferrand are up for sale for $3,000 (Rs1,33,730) apiece. Each comes in a wooden casket with a certificate of authenticity.

Red hot Cognac
Rémy Martin is all dressed for the holiday season. In business since 1724, this venerable French brand has played a role in many a party in its long and feted career. And now, its VSOP expression has appeared in a red Hot Holiday bottle (above). Happily, the cognac itself is unchanged. With notes of vanilla, violet, apricot, peach and licorice, it remains silky and warm on the palate with a well-balanced taste and long finish. Guaranteed to raise temperatures this winter!

Label of love
If you have Gucci in your DNA, then luxury can't be far behind. Georgio Gucci, a grandson of the man who started the illustrious fashion house back in 1905, has launched a line of limited edition cognacs as an extension of his fashion label, Georgio G. Sourced from eauxde-vie from France's Grande Champagne region and aged in oak casks, the line has three expressions: Giorgio G XO which is 35 YO, Giorgio G Grand Cru 50 YO (above), and Giorgio G Grande Champagne Premier Cru that's over 50 YO.

A sundae worth the moon
The well-known restaurant Serendipity, located in the heart of New York City, has come up with a 'Grand Opulence sundae' that certainly lives up to its name. Prepared with five generous scoops of the richest Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream and topped with some of the world's most expensive gourmet chocolates and exotic fruits, including the rare Amedei Porcelana and Chuao chocolate and chocolate-coated fruits from Paris, this one is as divine as it gets. If that isn't enough, the treat is adorned with a 23-carat edible gold leaf, and served in a crystal goblet accessorised by an 18-caratgold spoon! No surprising then that this decadent dessert costs a modest $25,000 (Rs 11,14,420)!

Two brand-new wines
India's burgeoning wine scene has never been so vibrant. While the original heavyweights like Sula and Grover are going from strength to strength, the newcomers are fast catching up too. Nirvana, the first winery in North India, recently introduced two new wines under the Luca brand, a Muscat white and a Merlot red. Like all respectable reds, the Merlot has an intense aroma of fresh fruits and can be paired with red and white meats. The Muscat has aromas of fruit extracts and honey and pairs well with white meat. Available in 750 ml and 375 ml bottles, they are priced at Rs400 and Rs210 respectively. Watch out for a lychee and a mango wine in the near future.

Bring back the bubbly
It's official now; champagne's back on ice. It has been a bad few years for the bubbly, with global sales dropping drastically. Clearly, the economic crisis of two years ago was a real downer. However this year has been different, with global wine exports in the first half of 2010 increasing by a phenomenal 40 per cent, which is why the international governing body for champagnes, CIVIC, has increased the yield by 800 kg/hectare. Time to pop open that bottle.

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