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Christmas Gift Guide 2021

From the world’s finest fragrances to local hand-crafted accessories, this is our kind of Christmas list

Aberlour

Mistletoe and wine ain’t gonna cut it, we’re afraid. Nor, frankly, are roasting chestnuts. And you can forget your figgy puddings.

This is Square Mile’s annual Christmas Gift Guide – the ultimate luxury santa list.

The list is heavily skewed towards the ‘man who has everything’ trope. And yes, this does mean there’s a fair bit of booze. After all, ’tis the season to get trollied.

Happy Christmas one and all.

CREED

Aventus For Her (30ml) £160; Aventus (50ml) £195; Aventus Cologne (50ml) £175.

CREED Aventus For Her (30ml) £160; Aventus (50ml) £195; Aventus Cologne (50ml) £175.

Launched in 2010 to mark The House of Creed’s 250th anniversary, Aventus has become one of the iconic fragrances.

Inspired by the life and loves of Napoleon Bonaparte, a renowned aficionado of fine fragrance, Aventus combines head notes of lemon, pink pepper and Italian bergamot with a floral heart of juicy pineapple, sweet jasmine and Indonesian patchouli. Rounding it off are woody base notes of oakmoss, cedarwood and The House of Creed’s signature ingredient, ambergris.

The Aventus story has evolved since: first with Aventus For Her, a floral and fruity eau de parfum inspired by history’s most powerful women. And next with Aventus Cologne, a more urban interpretation than its forerunner, imbued with a woody, fresh character, with notes of mandarin and ginger complemented by sandalwood and musk.

Whichever you choose, Aventus is all about delivering the sweet smell of success.

For more information, see creedfragrances.co.uk

Courvoisier

XO, £110

Courvoisier XO

Courvoisier is the most awarded Cognac house in the world; one sip of its XO and you’ll understand why.

A selection of beautifully matured eaux de vie, aged from 11 to 25 years, Courvoisier XO is as rich as it is complex. Eaux de vie from Grande and Petite Champagne give it grace and flavour, and a few from Borderies help with structure and depth.

Expect apricots, toasted brown sugar, and worn leather (in a good way). Master Blender Patrice Pinet describes it with more finesse than we ever could: “An exotic vanilla and crème brûlée bouquet, candied orange aromas and iris flower notes”.

Sounds a damn sight better than Christmas pud.

Clearly the good judges of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition agree, as XO has picked up gold twice in the last decade.

£110, Available from OcadoMaster of Malt and The Whisky Exchange.

TURNBULL & ASSER

Single-breasted velvet jacket, £1,395; cream silk embroidered shirt, £950

TURNBULL & ASSER Single-breasted velvet jacket, £1,395; cream silk embroidered shirt, £950

The demand for more flamboyant evening-wear was already on the rise – and then one Mr Daniel Craig wore a pink velvet tuxedo to a certain film premiere – and that was that.

Turnbull & Asser’s latest eveningwear capsule couldn’t be more on trend. A cap doff to the late 1970s Mayfair club scene, the fabrics incorporated are typically luxurious, and the silhouettes are fluid and elegant.

Hand-embroidered details throughout pay respect to intricate age-old crafts – and the collection sees a renaissance of the Turnbull archive.

After so many months of restraint and constraint, this is just the kind of flair we need – a fresh wardrobe built for going out not staying in.

For more information, see turnbullandasser.co.uk

GRAND SEIKO

Hi-Beat ‘Shubun’ Autumn Moonlight SBGH273, £5,780

GRAND SEIKO Hi-Beat ‘Shubun’ Autumn Moonlight SBGH273, £5,780

Grand Seiko’s new 24 Seasons collection comprises four timepieces inspired by the 24 ‘Sekki’ or seasons in Japan.

Since ancient times these subtle changes in the weather and nature have been incorporated into Japanese daily life, inspiring the Grand Seiko appreciation of the Nature of Time within many of its designs.

Our favourite from the new collection is the Shubun. The dark blue dial of this model celebrates the autumnal equinox and represents the autumn clouds as they float through the sky.

For more information, see seikoboutique.co.uk

MONTBLANC

Explorer (100ml) £69

MONTBLANC Explorer (100ml) £69

Montblanc Explorer more than lives up to its name. Three fragrance experts – Jordi Fernandez, Antoine Maisondieu and Olivier Pescheux – travelled the globe to create a fragrance designed for those who hate to stand still.

Bergamot from Italy, vetiver from Haiti and patchouli from Indonesia are just some of the ingredients employed to help create Explorer’s evocative scent.

The bergamot top note bursts with energetic optimism – it’s floral, bright and fresh. You’ll be booking a trip to Amalfi before you can say ‘ciao, bella’.

The heart note of this journey takes us to the most remote part of Haiti: in the extreme south-west of the island, in the region of Les Cayes, where the most refined vetiver is organically and ethically produced.

A final stopover takes us to Indonesia, east of Borneo, in the heart of the rainforest, more specifically on the island of Sulawesi to discover a new type of patchouli of unparalleled quality. This patchouli has been developed exclusively for Montblanc fragrances. As sharp as it is modern, Montblanc Explorer makes a gift as elegant as the fragrance within.

For more information, see johnlewis.com

LUCA FALONI

Light grey Brera pique polo shirt, £125; midnight blue cashmere zip hoodie, £325, and cashmere joggers, £295.

LUCA FALONI Light grey Brera pique polo shirt, £125; midnight blue cashmere zip hoodie, £325, and cashmere joggers, £295.

Luca Faloni is a timeless brand that focuses on the staple pieces for a man’s wardrobe without the additional worry of whether it is seasonally on trend or not.

Think: premium knitwear, shirting, trousers and accessories that work for a multitude of occasions and are always available.

Made by craftspeople with generations of experience in Northern Italy – the home of Faloni himself – the brand actually started life trading in London with stores in Marylebone and Piccadilly, before opening in Stockholm and New York.

The model here wears some of our favourites – a light grey Brera pique polo shirt underneath a cashmere zip hoodie and cashmere joggers – priced £125, £325 and £295 respectively.

For more information see, lucafaloni.com

RÉMY MARTIN

Tercet, £99

RÉMY MARTIN Tercet, £99

Tercet is the result of unique expertise, initiated by Baptiste Loiseau, the current Rémy Martin Cellar Master. When he first joined the Maison in 2007, he identified certain eaux-de-vie that were very pure with expressive fruit aromas marked by a halo of exotic and elegant notes. They varied slightly from what normally characterised Rémy Martin cognacs.

Convinced that they could be used to develop a different cognac, he put them aside and watched over them in secret.

Keen to see this unique experiment through, he sought out the expertise of Francis Nadeau, a wine producer, and Jean-Marie Bernard, a master distiller, to create an exciting new cognac. After ten years of working on it, Tercet is finally here. Cheers!

Available exclusively from Fortnum & Mason.

MESSIKA

Move Titanium bangles from £1,470; rings from £510.

MESSIKA Move Titanium bangles from £1,470; rings from £510.

In the age of Styles and Beckham, necklaces and bracelets have become statements of masculinity – not to mention sharp style statements to boot.

Take Move Titanium, the first collection of jewellery for men from Messika. Founder Valérie Messika has crafted a range of pieces that exude strength and confidence – just like their wearer.

Choose from a range of pendants, bangles, rings and cufflinks that embody the Messika aesthetic to create diamond jewellery for men that can be worn day or night. As you may have guessed, the collection is crafted in titanium, a material that is both lightweight and robust – suitable for any occasion.

For more information see, messika.com

CHAMPAGNE TELMONT

Reserve Brut, £49.99

CHAMPAGNE TELMONT Reserve Brut, £49.99

Champagne house Telmont has a mantra as fresh as its wine: ‘the bottle and nothing but the bottle’. What this means is that it is excluding the use or production of outer packaging and gift boxes. (A sheet of recyclable silk paper is available on request.) This approach is much kinder to the environment – and to your wallet, as the associated costs are not passed on.

It’s very much about sustainability in the round – with 72% of its land either organic or in conversion, with the goal to have 100% certified by 2021.

The wine itself has notes of crème brulee, lemon verbena and almond tart. And although that may sound more like dessert, we can highly recommend for Christmas breakfast.

For more information, see selfridges.com

ETTINGER

Capra double watch roll, £290

ETTINGER Capra double watch roll, £290

Launched in 2018, Ettinger’s Capra collection was inspired by the 1930s when the founder, Gerry Ettinger, crafted many of the accessories from refined goat leather. This leather is soft, supple and lightweight, yet very durable and naturally water-resistant, which makes it the ideal choice for products used while travelling.

The collection combines the best of Ettinger’s heritage and tradition with modern designs, creating harmony between

the old and new.

On the inside, the products in the collection are lined with a silver-grey Ettinger-monogrammed jacquard lining. Where softness is required to protect the accessories kept within – as is the case here – luxuriously soft pig suede is used.

All options have the Ettinger logo and Royal Warrant embossed in silver as a natural complement to the autumnal tones.

One of the more recent additions to the collection is the Capra watch roll, with room for two of your favourite timepieces. A perfect present for those with time on their hands.

For more information, see ettinger.com

THE BALVENIE

Twenty-five, £600

THE BALVENIE Twenty-five

The Balvenie’s Rare Marriages range is a tribute to Malt Master David C Stewart and his dedication to building exceptional flavours through the marriage of rare casks.

The latest addition to the collection is The Balvenie 25-year-old expression, which offers a heady mix of autumn fruits, runny honey, crystallised ginger and raw cane sugar notes, underlined with a rich oakiness that creates complexity and structure.

On the palette, this special single malt provides an initial burst of bold vanilla oak flavours which in turn reveal layers of toasted marshmallow and cinnamon-infused apple tart, complete with an exceptionally long-lasting sweetness.

It’s a serious gift for a serious whisky fan.

For more information see, thebalvenie.com

CHEANEY

Stinson, £365

CHEANEY Stinson

Boots don’t come more serious than these: Cheaney’s Stinson C military-style Balmorals. Drawing inspiration from one of Cheaney’s most classic archival designs, the Lancaster, they’ve been updated for this season with a durable double commando rubber sole.

Also of note is their leather – not calf, but kudu: a large species of antelope native to the woodlands of eastern and southern Africa. Owing to their grazing patterns among thorny brush, their hides will often display scars and scratches that make each skin unique.

For more information, see cheaney.co.uk

Seven Layer

MTP Overwatch Field Shirt, £350

Seven Layer MTP Overwatch Field Shirt

Part of Seven Layer’s 2021 MTP Layer evolution, the Overwatch Field Shirt is a three-layer waterproof outer garment inspired by the British Military combat shirt, manufactured from Italian fabrics and produced by the world-renowned MajoTech.

The Field Shirt carries a deceivingly lightweight fully seam-taped waterproof nylon shell fabric which combines beautifully with the British Camouflage print.

For more information, see sevenlayer.com

Blackwell Rum x Charbonnel et Walker

Blackwell Rum Truffles, £16 for nine

Blackwell Rum x Charbonnel et Walker Blackwell Rum Truffles

OK, a box of chocolates might not be the most original present. But how about a limited-edition box of Charbonnel et Walker truffles made in collaboration with rock and roll Hall of Famer, hotelier and rum producer, Chris Blackwell?

This rum-chocolate partnership was inspired by the island of Jamaica where both Blackwell (who owns GoldenEye) and Charbonnel et Walker Chairman, Galvin Weston, have strong roots and a family heritage.

Blackwell Rum Truffles have been made with The Black Gold Blackwell Rum (which currently has a limited-edition tie-in with the 007 franchise), which has a traditional dark rum character with a light butter-gold body, soft notes of vanilla, caramel, toasted marshmallow, and a natural spice finish.

The rum is encased in dark couverture chocolate composed of 70% cocoa solids, its rich flavour complementing the warm, spiced palate of the spirit.

For more information, see charbonnel.co.uk

BRUNO PAILLARD

NPU 2008, £225

BRUNO PAILLARD NPU 2008

As lines in the sand go, Nec Plus Ultra is a pretty bold one. It’s Latin for ‘there is nothing beyond’ – exactly what Bruno Paillard envisaged

for his top release.

Simply put, this is the best champagne made by Bruno Paillard – is right up there with the best made by anyone. With just over 18,000 bottles produced of 2008, it’s certainly one of the rarest. This is a tiny number compared to others in this super-premium market.

There have only been seven vintages of NPU, with this as number eight – Bruno Paillard only produces it in years that can live up to its billing.

It then enjoys more than a decade on the lees before disgorgement, and then a further lengthy rest of two years afterwards.

For more information see, champagnebrunopaillard.com

BUCCELLATI

Macri Classica cuff bracelets, from $26,000

BUCCELLATI Macri Classica cuff bracelets

More than 40 years ago, Gianmaria Buccellati created the ‘rigato’ technique – engraving the surface of precious metal stripe by stripe in order to create a silk-like texture with a semi-opaque effect.

It’s a technique achieved with the utmost accuracy by hand with burins – and the master goldsmiths at Buccellati still follow the same techniques of Renaissance times.

The Buccellati Macri Classica collection displays it perfectly – in bangles, earrings, pendant and rings.

For more information, see buccellati.com

MOUNT GAY

Master Blender Collection Andean Oak Cask, £156

MOUNT GAY Master Blender Collection Andean Oak Cask

Whisky and cognac may be more traditional gifts for this time of year [see overleaf] but we have a certain penchant for rum, especially Mount Gay. Much like James Bond – whose first drink in Casino Royale is not a martini but a Mount Gay with soda.

We suspect that 007 would be a huge fan of the brand’s latest launch, the Master Blender Collection Andean Oak Cask.

For this year’s small-batch release, Master Blender Trudiann Branker turned to Andean oak, a non-traditional wood choice, to explore another layer of aromatic complexity. The casks were used for 11 months to finish the ageing of a single batch of rums distilled twice in traditional copper pot still and aged 14 years in ex-Bourbon casks.

The result is a delicate, yet opulent blend with layers of spice, nutmeg, vanilla, ripe pear and toasted coconut on the palate.

Dominantly vanilla on the nose, it offers a spiciness on the palate that perfectly complements the fruity notes, say, Christmas pudding perfectly.

For more information, see harveynichols.com

CQP

Sabulo, £385

CQP Sabulo boots, £385

CQP makes some of the coolest shoes on the market, bringing statement Scandi chic to its sneakers.

The brand has led the charge in making sneakers smart – both its tennis and runners stylish enough to match with a suit.

Up until this point, the brand has stuck to sneakers. But this winter, it’s launched its first pair of boots.

Keeping to its core principle, the Sabulos are positioned for urban adventurers. Yes, they’re tough enough to hike up a hill – thanks to chunky rubber soles, which have been treated to make them water repellant. But as they’re crafted from a supple Italian suede – available in black and brown – we’d say they’re definitely more Shoreditch than Snowdon.

Several layers of cushioning including a leather shank board add to their longevity and comfort.

For more information see, c-qp.com

MR MARVIS

The Flannels, £119

MR MARVIS The Flannels, £119

Imagine being sat by a roaring fire in a Mayfair members’ club, the smell of smoke occasionally overpowered by the cognac in your hand.

This is the kind of scene tailormade for Mr Marvis’ most elegant offering yet, The Flannels.

Mr Marvis may be better known for its summer threads, but it’s now getting in on autumn and winter, too.

They’re made from soft woven GOTS-certified fabric, which has been slightly milled and raised, to give them a warm, layered look and feel.

The usual Mr Marvis utilitarian Velcro back pocket fasteners have been replaced with small magnets to protect the fabric.

They’ll be a welcome addition to any man’s wardrobe.

For more information, see mrmarvis.co.uk

Varsity Headwear

Black wool cap, £75

Varsity Headwear Black wool cap, £75

Varsity Headwear is an exciting new brand hailing from Oslo, Norway. The brainchild of two brothers who have a life-long passion for caps and finding the most premium fit and feel, Varsity is dedicated to crafting perfect pieces responsibly.

Working with the very best mills and manufactures across Europe, Varsity develops its timeless collection to fit any type of weather, using fabrics including oilskin, cashmere and Schoeller tech among others across their ranges.

Our pick is the Black Wool tech cap pictured, a piece featuring a technical membrane to aid breathability and water resistance as well as a premium lining, cotton headband and nylon watch-style fastening to adjust size.

For more information, see varsityheadwear.com

STENSTROMS

Wool and yak brown scarf, £159

STENSTROMS Wool and yak brown scarf, £159

With more than 122 years’ heritage in shirt making, Swedish brand Stenstroms is an authority on the very best fits, fabrics and shapes for men across shirting, knitwear, jackets and accessories.

Designing and manufacturing an eclectic mix of classic collars and colour-ways with bolder, more flamboyant patterns, Stenstroms has something for everyone. And despite their high levels of craftsmanship won’t break the bank.

Our pick is this beautiful wool and yak brown scarf. Mainly because you get to say your scarf is made from yak.

For more information, see stenstroms.com

OCTOMORE

12 Series, from £125

OCTOMORE 12 Series, from £125

Octomore is not for whisky novices. Aged for five years, it’s super heavily peated and bottled at cask strength. Despite this power, it somehow manages a degree of delicate allure you wouldn’t expect.

It’s now entering its 12th series: 12.1 acts as the base of the experimental range; 12.2 offers an alternative maturation, its flavours balanced by an ex-Sauternes cask; and the 12.3 explores Islay-grown barley and the terroir of the distiller’s home combined with sherry cask maturation.

For more information see, thewhiskyexchange.com

Aclima

Leisure wool woven shirt, £169.95

Aclima Leisure wool woven shirt, £169.95

The name might be a new one for most of us, but Aclima is renowned globally for making some of the best in quality outerwear.

A family-owned business hailing from Norway, Aclima specialises in making stylishly comfortable and functional base-layer garments with merino wool as a consistent thread.

Since the very beginning Aclima has created outstanding products including the warm wool hooded sweater and the light wool zip shirt, however, our pick is the Aclima men’s leisure wool woven shirt in jet black, perfect for the more casual occasion.

Priced at £169.95, it's available via UK retailer Nordic Outdoor.

For more information see, nordicoutdoor.co.uk

Skechers

Apparel On the Road, £35

Skechers Apparel On the Road, £35

A great gift for 25 December – but one firmly aimed at 1 January. This On The Road zip shirt from Skechers Apparel range is a perfect transitional piece – helping you maintain your ideal body temperature whatever time of the year.

It’s also smart enough to fit into the new athleisure sweet spot – smart yet sporty. Just like you, right? OK, just like you in the New Year.

For more information, see skechers.co.uk

ABERLOUR

12 year old, £40.45

ABERLOUR 12 year old, £40.45

Aberlour is a boutique whisky range hand-crafted in Speyside. Somewhat of a cult whisky brand, it prides itself on offering whiskies double-cask matured in the finest hand-picked Oloroso sherry barrels and American Oak barrels.

Unlike Octomore [see opposite], this is an incredibly approachable whisky – its 12 year old is only £35, but delivers a wonderfully rich yet mellow flavour.

Once you’re hooked – and you will be – you can work your way up through 14, 16, and 18-year-old expressions.

At the top of the tree is Aberlour A’bunadh – definitely one to leave out for Santa.

For more information see, thewhiskyexchange.com

Crystal Head

Vodka Gift Set, £55

Crystal Head Vodka gift set

Housing your vodka in a skull-shaped bottle is one way of making sure it sticks in people's minds, but the smoothness of this premium spirit does the trick, too.

Founder and actor Dan Aykroyd filters the liquid through herkeimer diamonds, giving it extra smoothness and flavour – and none of the after burn.

The eye-catching bottle can be for all sorts of things once the voddy's gone, making this a gift that'll last well beyond Christmas. Gift box comes with four matching skull-shaped shot glasses.

For more information, see crystalheadvodka.com

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