As the holidays approach, it’s the perfect time to drink a toast to 2019 and count down to 2020. What better way to do both than by matching up some new and exciting libations with some of the year’s most exceptional timepieces? Here are seven spirited pairings to entice both your palate and your wrist. (Click the arrows to see the watch we picked for each bottle.)
Tod & Vixen’s Dry Gin 1651 and the Bremont Supermarine S300
Vale Fox Distillery was founded in New York’s Hudson Valley but employs the expertise of a British master distiller and an all-star team of Brits formerly of the Scotch whiskey industry. Its debut spirit, Tod & Vixen’s Dry Gin 1651 ($39,99), is described by its creators as a “lively mix of British sophistication and American mischief,” with a blend of macerated botanicals including juniper and angelica root, and non-chill filtering, for a vibrant, bracing flavor that works on the rocks or in a dry martini. So how about a very British watch to accompany it? The Bremont Supermarine S300 ($4,095) debuted this year with a painted white dial, a dark blue ceramic bezel and a blue-and-gray NATO strap. The colorway for this sporty yet dressy dive watch is perfect for winter and might even call to mind a chilled gin cocktail.
Alfred Giraud French Malt Whisky “Heritage” and the Breguet Marine Chronograph 5527
France’s Giraud family brought five generations as coopers and cellar masters in the cognac industry to the table when it created Alfred Giraud Malt Whisky, an independent and distinctly French distiller that sources high-quality malted French barley, distills in traditional copper pot stills, and ages its whiskies in French Limousin oak sourced from a family owned forestry operation. Its Heritage by Alfred Giraud expression ($155) is a blend of three non-peated malts and matured in three types of casks, one of which has has been previously used to age extra-old cognac, for a golden hued, spicy spirit with notes of toast, vanilla, and nutmeg. For its watch partner, we choose a maison with some serious French heritage of its own: Breguet, founded by the watchmaking icon who supplied timepieces to Napoleon Bonaparte and Marie Antoinette. And since the whisky is “aged and blended in optimal oceanic climate,” we’re going with the Breguet Marine Chronograph 5527 ($18,500) the manufacture’s most maritime-inspired sport-luxury piece, specifically the recently introduced version in a 42-mm titanium case and golden Roman numeral hour appliqués, powered by one of Breguet’s many in-house calibers.
La Piu Belle 2012 and the H. Moser & Cie. Pioneer Perpetual Calendar
For those who prefer a full-bodied red wine to a whisky or spirit, we recommend La Piu Belle 2012 ($99,99),a silky and fruit-forward blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah made in Chile by vintners Alexander and Carrie Vik. This exclusive bottling combines all the varietals grown at their VIK vineyard in the fertile Millahue Valley, about two hours from the Chilean capital of Santiago, and offers a rich, velvety mouthfeel with notes of mocha, berries, and plum. Few watches made us salivate for a ruby-red claret more this year than the H. Moser & Cie. Pioneer Perpetual Calendar, ($39,900), with its new burgundy dial and streamlined design for its calendar indications. Its 42-mm stainless steel case contains a manually wound in-house movement, the Moser HMC 808, with a week-long power reserve.
Rabbit Hole “Heigold” Kentucky Straight Bourbon and the Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date
Rabbit Hole Heigold Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey ($69.99) is the latest super-premium sipper launched by the Kentucky-based urban distillery. Its new mashbill blends corn, malted barley, and a high-quality malted rye from Germany. The name Heigold is derived from a 19th-century German immigrant stonemason whose Louisville mansion, Heigold House, is a treasure trove of Americana. Aged for just under four years, non-chill filtered and bottled at a robust 95 proof, it is highlighted by peppery, spicy notes and richly textured flavors of caramel and butterscotch. For this fiery, German-accented spirit, we chose a fiery-dialed, German-made luxury timepiece, the Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date ($8,000), which debuted a new burnt orange dial that transitions from a light yellow in its center to dark orange, almost black, on its sides. Behind that kiln-fired dial’s multiple layers of lacquer, inside the 42-mm case, beats the in-house Caliber 39-47.
The Glendronach Master Vintage 1993 and the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition
Hand selected by Master Blender Rachel Barrie, the Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks used to mature the new Glendronach Master Vintage 1993 ($350) were laid down in the Glendronach’s distillery in the Scottish Highlands more than a quarter-century ago. The complex, richly sherried single malt whisky that emerged offers a nutty and toasty aroma, cocoa, toffee and burnt orange flavor notes, and a velvety finish. What makes the new Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition ($9,200 on bracelet, $8,100 on strap) its perfect partner? The Seamaster Diver collection debuted in 1993, the same year that this exclusive Scotch whisky went into the casks, and it is also the official watch of the next James Bond film, No Time To Die. As ardent fans of Agent 007 are aware, Bond has a Scottish father (as well as a Swiss mother). Inside the 42-mm titanium case, mounted on a Milanese bracelet or military-style NATO strap, is Omega’s Master Chronometer Caliber 8806.
Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 year Old Single Malt and the Oris Aquis Date, plus CAO Orellana Cigar
Ardbeg’s rare, 19-year-old Traigh Bhan (pronounced “Tri-Van,” $299), available annually in small batches, is inspired by the so-called “Singing Sands” of Islay, the Scottish island where this smoky single malt whisky is made. Released annually in small batches, each year’s whisky has subtle differences in taste profiles, all of which offer smoothness and vanilla hints on the nose followed by intense flavors of smoke, salt, spiced chocolate, and brine on the palate and the lingering, wood-smoke finish characteristic of the heavily peated malt whiskies of Islay. The watch we matched up with it is one whose design brings to mind both smokiness and sea water: the Oris Aquis Date ($1,950) with its seductive, gradient sea foam green dial and handsome gray divers’ bezel. We’re also recommending a good premium cigar to round out this experience, the CAO Orellana ($219.80 per 20-count box), a limited edition release from the brand’s Amazon series with a sungrown Brazilian wrapper topping off a multi-nation filler blend to deliver a rich, peppery, full-bodied smoke.
Tanteo Blanco Tequila and IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert”
Distilled from 100% blue agave in the small Mexican town of Juanacatlan, Jalisco — in the heartland of mezcal and tequila — Tanteo Blanco ($39.99) is a smooth-sipping premium tequila with hints of spice and sweetness that also mixes sublimely in a margarita or paloma. The agave is grown and harvested with the aid of cooperative of farmers in Mexico’s La Cienega region, cooked in brick ovens and double distilled using traditional, small-batch methods to produce Tanteo’s vibrant, distinctive character. Its crystal clarity and sharply sweet aroma may even bring to mind the arid, desert-like regions in which agave is grown, so we paired it up with a watch that also evokes those climates, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert” ($7,550) whose 44.5-mm case is made of a special sand-colored ceramic in tribute to a U.S. Navy flight school in the American Southwest, along with a khaki-toned dial that echoes the color of the uniforms worn by the pilots who train there.