When it comes to holiday gifting, there are times where you just feel the need to swing for the fences.
Perhaps you’ve got a big client that you’re very much “looking forward to continuing business with in the coming year.” Perhaps you’ve got a significant other who has resigned you to a doghouse you’d like to emerge from sooner rather than later. Perhaps you’ve just had a helluva year (or several) and money just isn’t an object.
Any way you slice it, you’re in need of a true showstopper of a gift. Not only something of truly superlative quality, but something with a story: a gift that will cause its recipient to swoon and blush every time someone invariably inquires, “Damn, where did you get that?”
And thus we bring you the Rare Finds Gift Guide, a handy compendium of holiday swag for just about any type of person on your list (or, perhaps, if you’re just in the market for yourself; no judgment).
This installment concerns Crown Royal XR Extra Rare, some of the rarest liquid to ever come from the storied Canadian brand.
A man who appreciates the scarce and superlative deserves a drink that fits the bill — something not only of the highest quality, but also with that bit of satisfaction that comes with knowing that it exists in a finite quantity.
Enter Crown Royal XR Extra Rare, the second edition to the storied Canadian brand’s Extra Rare series and crafted from one of the final barrels of whisky saved from the now ghost LaSalle distillery.
Located on the island of Montreal, LaSalle was opened in 1924. LaSalle closed for distilling in 1993, but the whiskies produced there have attained a reputation for being exceptionally rich and full-bodied.
LaSalle holds a historic place in the whisky world and is incredibly special to me, because it’s where I first learned about creating memorable blends. To be able to incorporate these Extra Rare LaSalle whiskies into the new Crown Royal XR is an honor.Crown Royal Master Blender Andrew MacKay
“Every distillery has its own personality and characteristics,” says Stephen Wilson, the Director of Whisky Engagement for Crown Royal. “A majority of the remaining whiskies from our LaSalle distillery were traditional rye whiskies. Crown Royal has always produced an exceptional rye as a component for our blends, and our blenders were able to craft a unique whisky using these remaining liquids as the heart and soul.”
We’ve now come to the end of the renowned liquid produced at LaSalle — using these precious final reserve batches, Crown Royal Master Blender Andrew MacKay (who, incidentally, began his career as an apprentice at LaSalle) has created an exquisite, full-bodied blend featuring notes of honeyed pear and dried apricot, finishing with touches of cocoa and brown sugar. A damn fine dram if we’ve ever tasted one.
And when LaSalle’s extremely limited stocks run out — which Crown Royal estimates will happen within the next year — this release is finished. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
The booze enthusiast who always seems to have some sort of interesting anecdote regarding the glass he/she is handing you — in addition to the story around XR and LaSalle, another fun tidbit is that the history of Crown Royal itself begins when King George VI (yes, he of The King’s Speech) and Queen Elizabeth visited Canada in 1939 and a special whisky was commissioned in their honor. That whisky was Crown Royal — great cocktail party fodder.
Well, now that you ask: It also bears noting that this is the only Crown Royal release featuring a royal blue update to the brand’s iconic velvet bag (to “echo the regal nature” of the whisky) — for a special touch, said bag can be personally embroidered for the recipient at crownroyal.com/whisky-gifts.
Roughly $140 a bottle. While the quality and scarcity of XR result in a price tag over twice that of the average Crown Royal release, we’d say that’s still plenty giftable (and certainly well worth it) for any whisky aficionado on your list.
To mark the model’s 55th anniversary, TAG Heuer’s flagship Carrera line is being driven by the brand’s premium, Swiss-made in-house column wheel chronograph movement, the Heuer 02, for the first time.
Using reclaimed agricultural tools, rare woods and ethically-sourced animal horn/bone from his native Brazil, Brooklyn knifesmith Max Poglia is crafting handsome, one-of-a-kind knives that are equal parts art and function.
With a journey that begins on the steppes of Mongolia and ends in an NYC design studio, SAVED proffers ultra-soft cashmere throws, pillows, blankets, hats, and scarves — all featuring the sort of punchy, voguish designs one might expect to catch in the background of a Wes Anderson film.
Helmed by two Canadian brothers in the heart of Alberta, AdrianMartinus focuses on gorgeous furniture and home goods painstakingly crafted from a very interesting type of reclaimed wood: old skateboards.
In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, legendary shaper Mikey Franco and his team are building snowboards in a way no one else in America does: by hand, specifically tailored to each and every client from the ground up.
Hailing from the tiny island of Kagoshima in Japan’s smallest prefecture, Olive Wagyu is the rarest beef on planet earth. Only a handful of Japanese cattle farmers produce it, and in extremely limited quantities — only 2,000 of these mythic cows exist in the world at any given time.
The first generation Ford Bronco is one of the most beloved SUVs of all time, unchanged from 1966 to 1977. Illinois outfit Gateway Bronco reigns supreme in the restomod game, hunting down these classics and meticulously restoring/refurbishing them to new levels of glory.
There is no piece of equipment more essential to mountaineering than the humble backpack. And no one makes them quite like Dan McHale, a veteran climber who’s been making bespoke ultralight packs out of a workshop in Seattle for more than 40 years.
Plying her trade from a by-appointment-only studio in the heart of Nashville, Savannah Yarborough is one of the most sought after designers of bespoke leather jackets in the country — her clients include Jack White, Jason Isbell, and, with a bit of luck, you.
Bottle imagery courtesy of Crown Royal